Brisket spread or Biscoff Spread: When the child creates a new food item by misunderstanding language

My daughter is almost seven. I wouldn’t call her an omnivore, but, in broad terms, she likes eating, she’s curious about trying new food, and there aren’t many things she won’t eat. We’ve never had to really fight with her about food. Which is good, because I don’t know what I would have done if we’d had one of those kids who was all “texture sensitive” or had allergies or whathaveyou. Well, I imagine we’d have managed to deal with it, the way everyone does, but it would have been really really annoying.

All young children mispronounce words with funny results when they’re little: how many children have asked for “pasketti and meatballs,” for example? My child used to ask for “cucumbums” instead of cucumbers. The older she gets, the less this kind of thing happens, but recently we had a humdinger of a food/language issue that caused major confusion in our household.

It began a few months ago when I bought a jar of Biscoff spread. I’d never had the stuff before, but friends of mine were crowing about it on Facebook and I felt very out of it for having no idea what they were talking about. Evidently in Trader Joe’s they have their own version of it called Speculoos, which I find distinctly off-putting because it makes me think of a speculum, which is something I don’t want to eat, but thanks for asking. Anyhow, when I was at P&M, a favored grocery store on Orange Street, I saw a jar of Biscoff spread and thought, “You know, I”ll buy it. I probably wouldn’t like it, but others in the household will.” I thought my husband, in particular, would like it. It turned out I was wrong: he had no interest in it. So the jar sat in the drawer, dabbed at but unappreciated, for several months. Then one day I offered to make my daughter a treat with it: I had some graham crackers and said, “What if I put some of this stuff on it? It looks like peanut butter but it tastes like cookies.” “What’s it made out of?” she asked warily. “Well, it’s cookies, actually,” I said. “They mash up all these cookies and turn it into cooky spread.” She nodded eagerly, and when I gave her the graham cracker with cooky spread, she gobbled it down.

Then she got into the habit of, when asking for a treat, asking me for something with cooky spread on it. Piece of bread; apple; whatever. With cooky spread. This didn’t happen every day, but maybe once a week, she’d remember the jar, and ask. And I would always give her some, because, well, someone has to eat this stuff up.

Eventually I told her that the real name for the stuff in the jar is Biscoff spread. She absorbed this information and then moved on with her life.

A few days ago, the three of us were sitting around debating what we might cook for Passover and it was suggested that we might do a brisket this year. (I should call the butcher at P&M to see if he can get me one.) This prompted my daughter to announce that she felt hungry and could use a snack. My husband asked her what she’d like, and she said, “Brisket spread.”

“Brisket spread?” he repeated. I laughed.

“She means Biscoff spread,” I explained. He didn’t know what it was. I said, “It’s that cooky spread you don’t like.” “Oh,” he said. “Okay.”

But now I’m thinking about brisket spread, and thinking, If you had a little bit of leftover brisket, not enough to make a meal out of, but just a few slices of meat, maybe it’d be good to remember Peg Bracken, and make a brisket spread. I must remember to do this. Into food processor, I’d put the meat, a little bit of mayonnaise, and some dry mustard, and then I’d whizz it until it formed a nice gloppy paste. Then I’d fold in, by hand, some pickle relish. I have a feeling that would be a really good thing to eat on a sandwich. Brisket spread. And for dessert, shortbread with Biscoff glaze? There’s potential here.


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