Thursday, 1 April 2010

Gowks, Cuckoos, Biscuits and Middle Eastern Politics

Incidentally, an April Fool used to be called an April Gowk and gowk meant cuckoo. Because cuckoos inveigle their way into the nests of other birds they gave us the word cuckold. This is the wrong way round as it is the cuckoo that takes advantage of the other bird's family, but cuckoos have always been considered mad as in Aristophanes play The Birds in which he invented Cloud Cuckoo Land or Nephelokokkygia as he called it. That was in 414 BC, but in 1918 AD Americans started to use the word cuckoo to mean mad. That got shortened to kooky, which has nothing to do with cookie which is the American term for a biscuit which is so called because it is cooked twice ( bi-cuit ). The difference between a biscuit and a cake is that a biscuit goes soft when it's stale whereas a cake goes hard. This was an important argument in the court case surrounding Jaffa Cakes and their tax status. Jaffa Cakes are made with seedles Jaffa Oranges which are named after Jaffa in Israel from which they are exported. Jaffa is now part of the conurbation of Tel Aviv which is currently, indeed perpetually, at loggerheads with the Iranian Republic whose national day is April the First which is April Fool's Day which used to be called April Gowk and gowk meant...


  1. And that is why you can't put biscuits and cakes into a tin together, because the biscuits very quickly become cake-like, which isn't half as nice.

    Your posts are just brilliant. I didn't know about bi-cuit. I didn't know about cuckold. And now I do. Thanks!

  2. However, someone who is a bit cuckoo could be described as a fruitcake?

    I can only echo Fran's sentiments.

  3. Step outside, Posh Boy.

    (If only they had the Ed Balls.)