Ces biscottes sont périmées.

Ces biscottes sont périmées.

say bee-skut saw pay-ree-MAY. Click below to hear this.*

This zweiback is stale.

Melba toast, rusk, zweiback, biscotti, biscottes: did you know they are all pretty much the same thing? You shape and bake a loaf of bread, slice it up, and rebake the slices. Basically, it’s commercially-produced toast. And the name in German (zweiback), in Italian (biscotti), and French (biscottes) all mean the same thing: twice-cooked.

In fact, the French word biscotte comes from the Italian (the singular is biscotto, the plural biscotti). But there’s also a native French word, biscuit, that means precisely the same thing: twice-cooked

But in American English, a biscuit is something altogether different; it resembles a dinner roll more than anything else. A non-yeast-raised bread, in a cute little round flat shape. And in French and in British English, a biscuit is what Americans call a cookie. In no case does a biscuit (French) or a biscuit (English) deserve the name twice-cooked, because it’s not.

In any case, don’t eat them. They are stale. You can tell because they are périmées, which really means past their expiration date or just plain expired. When you consider that hospitals use expired as a polite way to say dead, I suspect you will lose your appetite for those nibbles after all.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:



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