Of all the comfort foods I enjoyed as a kid in Morell, PEI, (and there were many) biscuits and molasses headed the list. Before concluding that I was weird (for what kid in his right mind would choose biscuits and molasses over chocolate cake) you need to understand that I enjoyed the ritual as much as the taste. There’s no ritual to eating chocolate cake.
I strongly believed that there was a right way and a wrong way to eat biscuits and molasses. And, like a lot of other kids my age in Atlantic Canada, I had the ritual down to an art.
To a biscuits and molasses connoisseur, watching Upper Canadians eat biscuits is truly depressing.
They will, usually as a polite gesture to the hostess, nibble a tiny bit of a tea biscuit. When urgently prodded to do so by an overly aggressive hostess, they might go so far as to try plastering some butter on half a hot biscuit, perhaps adding a daub of jam, only to have it almost invariable drip down their chins. And you can tell from their expressions that they’re thinking about happier times, such as when Gary Bettman was still working for the NBA.
To fully enjoy biscuits they should be eaten with molasses; but it doesn’t end there, you have to adhere to the ritual.
The requirements are some chilled molasses, fresh biscuits, and a pot of hot tea or a jug of ice-cold milk. Warm milk or cold tea simply will not do; and coffee, for some reason, just doesn’t go well with biscuits and molasses. The key to the ritual is that you don’t put the molasses on the biscuits; you put the biscuits on the molasses.
First, pour some molasses on a small plate or saucer. Then divide the biscuit into three pieces -- top, middle, and bottom. Starting with the middle piece, break it in half and dip it in the molasses, then quickly (so you don’t drip the molasses) pop it into your mouth and wash it down with your chosen beverage. Do the same with the rest of the biscuit, but be sure to finish the middle first, then the bottom, and finally the top. I have no idea why this order adds to the enjoyment, but it does.
That’s biscuit eating as it should be.
On second thought, maybe I was weird. But, boy they were good, especially after walking home from school on a cold winter’s day.