By gjmurphy on Sep 20, 2004
Sometimes a word describing a technique can take on localized forms, which effectively describe local variations in the technique. Take biscuit. The word comes to us from Latin via French, and means, literally, "twice baked". Baked goods were passed a second time through the oven to ensure their longevity. At the English table, it refers generally to savories; at the French, to sweets. Italy has given us a sweet variant, often with anise, that we have imported along with the Italian name for the technique: biscotto. And from Germany, that ultimate in crackers for teething babies, zwieback. These are baked once as bread, and then toasted.