I am in Durban, South Africa, staying with friends who are second-generation Indian immigrants. While having no nostalgia for the empire, they keep the British fashion of afternoon tea, at which I am offered a “rusk”. It’s a tasty baked goodie, much harder than a scone, and cut into rectangles.
I have never heard this word during countless tea times in Britain, nor have I heard it used in the States. Why isn’t this little bit of bread called some variant of biscuit/biscotti?
The answer may be the Portuguese influence in Southern Africa, which is reflected in many place names and other words today. “Rosca” means roll or breadtwist in that language, which may have evolved into “rusk”.
Wherever the word came from, I must say: Yum.