How does it mean both cookie and biscuit? Is there another word for cookie? I really don't remember from when I took french in high school...
Thus opens the old "cookie" vs. "biscuit" controversy. In the UK (and obviously in France), a "biscuit" (FR) is what Americans call a "cookie". You might have it with a cup of tea or on this side of the pond, with a glass of milk. In the U.S., a biscuit is a mystery for many Europeans. The American form of "biscuit" is not a crispy or sweet snack or in-hand dessert like a cookie. It is an item made from flour, shortening, baking powder, salt, and milk. It may be served in many different ways, depending on the occasion. But first, take a look here to see exactly what a "biscuit" is in the U.S. http://finecooking.info/best-homemade-biscuits-recipe/
- It may be served as a substitute for bread alongside a family supper, often with butter (or sometimes honey).
- It may be part of a breakfast, served with jam or marmalade
- It may be part of a country-style breakfast, served with sausage gravy poured over it. (Don't knock it if you haven't tried it).
- It may be made a part of an informal supper, easy to prepare, split in half and covered with creamed tuna and peas. This should not be shocking to our Brit friends who eat baked beans on toast.
The point is not to think EN "biscuit" means only the sweet and/or crunchy treat served with a cup of tea. The word has two completely different meanings for two completely different things. And no, it is not a scone.
I don't think the American biscuit exists in Australia. The image looks like a scone, yet you say it's not a scone.
The older generation call the flat crunchy item (either sweet or savoury) "a biscuit" and the younger generation calls the sweet variety "a cookie" due to American television and companies in Australia. Think McDonalds "cookies", Oreo "cookies", etc. These companies would never consider changing the name of their products for the Australian market.
I think you're right about that, CJ. The American "biscuit", especially popular in the Southeast part of the country, is ubiquitous in the States as a versatile and delicious food. It's too bad that people turn up their noses at something because it sounds different. Which makes me wonder why they are studying a foreign language. There are so many opportunities to learn new things. Cheers!
We also say "petit gâteau" or "gâteau sec" for biscuits that do not have a specific name.
There is no perfect translation for "un biscuit" in American English nor for "cookie" in French.
Wafer = une gaufre (hot); une gaufrette (small/dry)
Cracker (UK) = un cracker (non-sweet biscuit), to be eaten with aperitif wines or soft drinks, ie not with cheese.