The Architect's Essence, The Diary of Sunrise

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Many of the patients myself and the other Orderlies care for at Mount Bedlam suffer from anxiety and depression and we have discovered that the consumption of ruinous quantities of biscuits greatly helps to alleviate these ailments. We have done extensive research in the field of biscuit therapy and we have discovered that the uplifting effect of biscuit consumption is greatly enhanced when they are served with a hot beverage, possibly hot coco, warm holk milk or tea (camelia, cinnamon whirlpool or cobb and monmouth teas are ideal candidates.)

This form of therapy is quite simple and I encourage readers to try it out at home if they are ever feeling low or anxious. I recommend that you purchase an outlandish quantity of the most delectable biscuit you can find, possibly chocolate cookies, iced spice ring or (in my opinion,) the king of all biscuits, the humble ginger nut, all of which can be purchased or pilfered from all good bakeries and confectioners.

Biscuits are quite a delicate commodity and in the past Horizon has returned to Mount Bedlam with a consignment of biscuits only to find them smashed to smithereens, inadvertently pulverised by more robust grocery bag companions such as hammers, potatoes and malicious barrels of treacle therefore I recommend that when purchasing your selected biscuits you either transport them in a custom-made biscuit caddy or you insulate them with a more impervious foodstuff which will absorb any potentially disastrous impacts. Bags of marshmallows, popcorn and sacks of sugar hummer nests are particularly good candidates. Alternatively, if you are purchasing your biscuits alongside heavier groceries which could potentially reduce them to crumbs before you’ve had chance to partake in them then you could provide an alternative form of biscuit insulation. (I have found that socks and teddy bears are particularly effective when tasked with the job of biscuit protection.)

Once you and your chosen biscuits have made it safely home in one piece then comes the task of unpackaging them. I would like to warn all readers that many bakers have now taken to wrapping their biscuits in paper bags, a move which, in my eyes is erroneous and potentially deadly. However, if you do decide to risk bringing paper-wrapped biscuits into your homes then I urge you to immediately decant them into a biscuit tin or other suitable biscuit receptacle and incinerate, bury or, with the help of a little powdered liquescence, liquify the offending packaging.

For this next stage you will require a ruler, a selection of beverage vessels and an assortment of teaspoons (vital instruments of hot beverage preparation.)

First, I recommend that you hold your chosen biscuit between thumb and middle finger whilst gently tapping it with your index digit. This will remove any unwanted crumbs and test the biscuits structural integrity. If the biscuit has sustained any hairline cracks or fractures during transport then it will likely break at this stage. If your biscuit does break then please do not be disheartened, it is better that it breaks now rather than later on when you are attempting to dunk it. A submerged portion of soggy biscuit can completely negate this therapy and ruin a perfectly good hot beverage, filling it with floating crumbs and depositing a vile biscuity slurry at the bottom of your chosen mug or cup. (If you are of a species which does not possess fingers then this task can be completed be gently striking your biscuit with a toffee hammer or other pointlessly miniaturised percussion tool.)

Once you have selected your biscuits (5-6 structurally sound biscuits should be enough for beginners,) then it is time to select the drinking vessel which will contain the accompanying hot beverage. Please bear in mind that biscuits come in all shapes and sizes from small rectangular malt biscuits which roughly measure 1 ½ x 2 ½ inches right up to jumbo chocolate chip cookies which can measure a cheek-stretching 5 inches in diameter. (Thank you to my fellow Orderly Sawdust for providing accurate biscuit dimensions.) I recommend that you use your ruler to measure and record the dimensions of your chosen biscuits before continuing. You will need to select a suitable cup or mug which can comfortably accommodate the diameter of the biscuit you intend to dunk and I recommend that when dunking you retain at least a ½ inch gap between the edge of the biscuit and the sides of your mug or cup at all time as some of the more absorbent varieties of biscuit are prone to swelling which, in a tight-fitting mug, can lead to over dunking and ultimately a broken biscuit.

If you are attempting to dunk a biscuit 5 inches in diameter or above and are using a suitably sized mug/cup then I suggest that in the interests of health and safety you wear a wrist support as such a large drinking vessel can be quite heavy and can place a lot of strain on the wrist when being lifted to the lips or mandibles.

Once you have selected a suitable drinking vessel then it is time to prepare your chosen beverage. One of the teaspoons from your pre-arranged assortment will aid you in this task while the others will be on hand should things go horribly wrong. The teaspoon will aid you both in stirring, spooning and (if required) teabag extraction and squashing. Please leave at least a ¼ inch gap between the top of your beverage and the top of your mug/cup as, when you insert your biscuit the level of your beverage may rise alarmingly due to displacement. Remember, a full cup and a carelessly dunked biscuit can lead to spillages and potentially permanent upholstery stains.

This next stage is the most vital and tricky procedure but it is easily mastered with patience and practice. I advise you read all of my instructions thoroughly before making your biscuit dunking attempt.

Most biscuits can be held ambidextrously but if you are left handed and are having trouble gripping your chosen biscuit then you may need to consider inquiring at your local bakery about the possibility of ordering an assortment of left-handed biscuits, which most bakers will happily agree to do with little more than a confused look or a dumfounded nod of the head.

Hold your biscuit between thumb and forefinger and suspend it above your beverage, then very gently lower it into the mug/cup, maintaining the ½ inch clearance with the rim of the vessel. If you are dunking a rectangular biscuit then I suggest you dunk it lengthways, keeping it level and upright at all times. Never submerge your biscuit below halfway as this can greatly hinder its structural integrity. 90% of biscuits which have been dunked too deeply break whilst being moved between cup and mouth. 30% fall on a tabletop, the remaining 60% fall on the shirt or trousers of the dunker, a mishap which can often lead to unattractive biscuit stains and an increased laundry load. Also, if you are dunking a biscuit which is coated in chocolate, be mindful that the chocolate may melt in the heat of your beverage. Melted chocolate is slippery and can lead to a loss of grip and lessened biscuit manoeuvrability.

The amount of time a biscuit can be submerged in a hot beverage greatly differs upon the variety of biscuit you have chosen. With practice you will instinctively gauge how much dunking a biscuit can sustain before structural integrity is compromised but for beginners, I advise you air on the side of caution and submerge your biscuit for a maximum of fifteen seconds before orally testing its texture. If you find the biscuit requires a longer dunk try it for twenty seconds, then twenty-five and so on until the optimum dunking duration is established. I suggest you keep a dunking journal in which you can record dunking times of various biscuits for future reference. In my experience oat biscuits have the shortest dunking threshold, dissolving after a mere twenty seconds whereas shortbread requires a much longer dunk. I once clocked a patient dunking a shortbread for a full minute and twelve seconds before successfully manoeuvring it to her mouth. The process of ascertaining dunking durations can be long and arduous with many pitfalls and many dry or overly soggy mouthfuls of biscuit but with time and practice you will become a master in the art of biscuit dunking, a skill which will help alleviate stress, tension and anxiety.

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