Poetry & Cake & Exceedingly Plain Biscuits

Importantly, Frank is thinking about poets and biscuits this week…

No one who has been exposed to British advertising for the past god knows how many years will be unaware that Mr Kipling makes exceedingly good cakes. The cakemaker shares his name, of course, with the poet of Empire, Rudyard Kipling.

Incidentally, it is a mystery to me why “Rudyard” never caught on as a popular Christian name for boys. I have certainly never met anyone called Rudyard, and I doubt if most Dabbler readers have either. And yet, with that imperial connection, you would think it would have gone through a period of fashionability, perhaps in the first half of the last century. Would we think slightly differently of The Beatles had they been John, Paul, George, and Rudyard, I wonder?

Another thing I wonder is which other poets might lend themselves to the naming of cakes and other sweetmeats. Father Hopkins? Miss Plath? Mister Paulin?

I suppose the latter would be best suited to some kind of plain biscuit, an Irish version of Rich Tea, the biscuit always last to be picked from a selection box, but eminently suitable for, say, a mordant picnic experience on a windswept unseasonal afternoon, with drizzle threatening and melancholy cows looking on from behind a dilapidated fence, and off there, in the distance, his shotgun over his shoulder, intent on killing crows, Old Farmer Paulin himself, muttering and cursing the unbearable filth and misery of existence.

Frank Key has embarked on the no doubt foolhardy project of writing a brief daily essay over at Hooting Yard. Since the new year dawned he has addressed topics including perpilocution, the moustache of Archduke Stephen, Palatine of Hungary, and potatoes. While you are reading them, you may feel compelled to contribute to the Fighting Fund For Distressed Out Of Print Pamphleteers, via the PayPal button on the Hooting Yard website.


Share This Post

About Author Profile: Frank Key

Frank Key is a London-based writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his Hooting Yard blog, short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which has been broadcast weekly on Resonance FM since April 2004. By Aerostat to Hooting Yard - A Frank Key Reader, an ideal introduction to his fiction, is published for Kindle by Dabbler Editions. Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives was published in October 2015 by Constable and is available to buy online and in all good bookshops.

6 thoughts on “Poetry & Cake & Exceedingly Plain Biscuits

  1. russellworks@gmail.com'
    ian russell
    January 6, 2012 at 08:56

    Mmmm, cake…

    There’s the Larkin, of course. A fusion cake comprising part Yorkshire Parkin and Wiltshire Lardy. Sadly fallen out of favour since the Great North-South Divide.

    • andrewnixon@blueyonder.co.uk'
      January 6, 2012 at 13:50

      Incidentally, in what year exactly did the great North-South divide properly come into effect? I’ve often wondered.

  2. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    January 6, 2012 at 10:55

    Ah, Rich Tea, the best dunking biscuit in the known universe, more assignations have blossomed over a dual dunk than ever did in the rumble seat of a Triumph Roadster. My neighbour is a Rudyard, ruddyhard work holding a conversation with him.

    Younger bloggers please note, Triumph Roadster, think Bergerac.

    Even younger bloggers please note, Bergerac, TV cop show set on an island and full of crap actors, the show that is, not the island, that’s full of crap tax dodgers.

  3. law@mhbref.com'
    jonathan law
    January 6, 2012 at 11:27

    Kipling was given his unusual Christian name in honour of Lake Rudyard, a Staffordshire reservoir once known (I am told) as “the Mecca of Northern match angling”. On these banks his parents met and courted and here too the future poet is rumoured to have been conceived.

    Clearly this name-your-child-after-a-favourite-reservoir business is an excellent custom and one that should be adopted by all who trust that their offspring will go on to literary immortality. What would you not give for an alternative history of 20th-century verse populated by inter alia Tottiford Swineshaw Eliot, Sunnyside Hardy, Wistlandpound Hisehope Audenshaw, Brent ‘Welsh Harp’ Thomas (not on any account to be confused with his dourer namesake Rooden Siblyback Thomas), Kielder Hughes and his doomed spouse ‘Jumbles’ Plath, Perry Barr Betjeman, Balderhead Larkin, the Liverpool poets Waskerley McGough and Brianne Patten, the self-styled ‘Zen calvinist’ Thriepmuir McCaig, Loch Thom Gunn, Norman Hill Hill, Staunton Harold Pinter, Rumworth Armitage, Catcleugh Chelker Ryburn Heaney, Sir Lamaload Motion, Ladybower Duffy, Beaver Dyke Muldoon and Anglezarke Zephaniah?

    • Frank Key
      January 6, 2012 at 13:30


  4. wormstir@gmail.com'
    January 6, 2012 at 11:57

    Im more of a Tunnocks caramel wafer man meself

Comments are closed.