Yeah, yeah I know the old joke about Aussies: What’s the difference between an Australia and a tub of yoghurt? After three days the yoghurt develops culture. Hah hardy hah.In the case of Tim Tam biscuits however, us Aussies seemed to have embraced them in a far more exuberant way than you Great British folk have. In your neck of the woods, they’re known as Penguin bars: individually wrapped and likely to be mostly found in kids’ play lunches or at the back of the pantry cupboard. After all, what adult could be bothered unwrapping the blasted things?
No, here in the free, fertile and fun land of Oz the work is all done for you. No unpleasant names connected to protected Antarctic wildlife, just a nonsensical one with no guilt involved. You can bite into one without worrying about the threat of extinction to Mumbles from ‘Happy Feet’. No wrapping to hinder your needs either, so once you hear that almost-erotic crackle of the plastic liner tray being yanked out, you know they’re ready for you. Tim Tams…..
Somehow good old Arnotts biscuits (now owned by a US company but for all intents and purposes are as Australian as vegemite – also now in US hands), have got the formula just right. High quality, greaseless milk chocolate covering two perfectly crunchy biscuits with a lighter chocolate mousse-style cream filling in the middle. One bite and you’ll be as hooked as the rest of us. Clive James sucks out the middle and drinks his cuppa tea through them. Germaine Greer inserts them between her ears and Elle McPherson has her body to thank for them (and the freakish gift of good genes and the body of a preying mantis). Interestingly, all three of them now live in London – perhaps it is so they can seek some refuge from the siren song of the Tim Tam. After all, if Clive got any larger his eyes would permanently be hidden under flesh folds, Germaine wouldn’t be able to spout off her regular rounds of demented verbal diarrhoea and Elle might be tempted to try her hand at acting again and release another work-out video.
Your own kind, the Poms who are ‘out here’ love them. Non-famous Aussies ‘over there’ (or ‘up there’ if you insist on being hemisphere-centric) get them posted over by their parents because the poncy little Penguins just don’t measure up. When I lived in the UK for a couple of years, it always reminded me of teenage sex when that Aussie Post soft-pak arrived by the door. It was attractive, complete with brightly-designed Aussie stamps on it – the anticipation was there, the ogling, the stroking, the grappling, the unwrapping, the final revealing moments…… only to discover that they’d been sat on and melted in transit and the brown pillows of ecstasy had been welded together to resemble a solid brick turd. Oh well….
Over here, folks, they’re everywhere and always at their best (kind of like Hugh Jackman but easier, cheaper and much more available). At least one of the three local supermarkets within walking distance of my workplace has them on special at any given time – usually for less than two bucks a packet which I think is about a sixpence for you folks, based on historical currency comparisons.
Not every Australian has been arsed enough to see their nation’s capital city, but I can honestly declare that every single one of us can recognise the sound of a Tim Tam packet being opened from ten kilometres away. One moment you’ll be standing alone on the Nullarbor Plain with just the five hundred blow flies on your back for company, only to be surrounded by a crowd of Tim Tam Tag-alongs all eagerly eyeing off your stash and offering to put the kettle on as soon as you even think of opening up one end.
Push those greedy guzzlers aside and inhale of the Tim Tams all by yourself. As L’Oreal is always fond of telling us, do it: Because You’re Worth It.
TimTamAnd not only because you’re worth it. There’s another reason for scoffing the lot which has stumped the best brains down under for many a year: the bloody biscuit maker has seen fit to put eleven of God’s Own Culinary Creations into each packet. Eleven is a prime number, which, for the mathematically-retarded amongst us means that it is not divisible by any other number. This more importantly means that if you dare share them with your loved one whilst slumped watching telly on the couch or in a trio or group of four over morning coffee, there will always be a lone Tim Tam waiting.
Waiting to be noticed. Waiting for the sly side-wards looks and waiting for the most desperate person to actually come out and say, “You don’t really want the last one, do you?” before pandemonium, violence, tears and recriminations break out. Marriages, friendships and families have broken up over it and I’m hoping to convince the sociology Professor I work for to start researching the ‘Tim Tam Chaos Theory of Social Breakdown in Contemporary Australia.’
She said she’d think about it, but only if I bought a packet in each and every morning to help her write the funding grant application.