This team takes the biscuit

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ICED GEMS: One of the few that are still around.

FANS of the Royals have had good reason to celebrate recently

I HAVE had good reason to celebrate recently. My football team, Reading FC, have not only reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup, but managed two consecutive wins in the league, a bewildering experience for the fans this season.

“Why are they called the Royals?” a friend asked me. “I remember them as The Biscuit Men.”

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So I explained that it was because Berkshire is known as The Royal County, and the once world renowned Huntley & Palmers biscuit manufacturer was based in the town.

But it took me back.

I come from a biscuit family, who all originate from the biscuit town.  

My mother worked for years at the Huntley & Palmers factory in Reading, then the largest biscuit manufacturer in the world, and my father helped make the tins at Huntley Bourne & Stevens. 

Both worked long hours and I can remember them coming home from work completely cream crackered. 

That was a joke by the way.  

At their height, H&P were producing a staggering 400 varieties of biscuit, and I remember with great affection such goodies as Suncake, a round shortbread biscuit, which I would scoff hamster like by nibbling around the outside working inwards, making a mess in the process.  

Banana Creams which looked like the present day Custard Cream, but with a flavoured cream and a banana shape cut out so that the filling was on display. 

Obviously a visual reminder for people whose taste buds were shot. 

Then there were Chocolate Wafers that were a natural tan colour, not like their insipid pink successors.  

And Iced Gem, little round bite sized biscuits topped with a swirl of hard icing, and one of the few that are still around.

With generous price concessions given to employees, there was never a shortage of biscuits in our house, and I can remember being taken down to the factory shop in the 50s for our weekly supply.

Cream Crackered… Biscuit?

Oh forget it. Come on the Royals!  

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