The fig roll, that well-known type of biscuit, has figured in my running career as far back as my under-age athletics. Most times we would merely eat the fig rolls.
But one time on the bus back from a sports day, as we swung around a tight town centre junction, a team mate of mine fired a fig roll out the window at a man who was going in the hall door of his terrace house. The biscuit sailed in past the closing door, right on target for the bald patch on the crown of the man’s head.
The hall door closed, the bus chugged on and we didn’t see the impact; it was all the more glorious for having to picture in our mind’s eye the man’s bemusement as to where this fig roll attack could have come from.
I enjoyed the daring and perfect execution of that moment as I would in later years a well-crafted sonnet or shimmering pop hit. That flying fig roll and its unseen strike may well have been my first experience of Art.
Today, for me and most runners, our enjoyment of fig rolls is more prosaic. They are a perfect snack before or after running. For instance, at the Chi Running workshop I attended in January, our trainer Catherina McKiernan had laid on plenty of fig rolls along with fruit and water for our post-exercise refreshment.
The plain crust and the fruity core are filling without being heavy, and they go well with tea or coffee. Plus, fig rolls are low in fat. And you can eat them easily on the move – though not while running, of course.
It’s not just runners who swear by the power of the fig roll. One of my favourite footballers, Ryan Giggs, is said to eat some fig rolls at half-time in games to get an energy boost. And if anyone ever needed extra energy it was Ryan Giggs.
A fig roll is eaten in Ireland on average every four seconds, says one of the leading Irish brands. Ireland’s current running boom, plus the recession-inspired appreciation of simplicity and value in the shopping trolley, has certainly contributed to this. All hail fig rolls!
If you grew up on ’80s TV and ’80s biscuits, this commercial might be familiar. So, how do they get the figs into the fig rolls?