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My Gram was born in Hastings in the 1880’s, moved to London as a young wife, then brought her two young daughters to California after losing her husband in WWI. We always had proper English tea at holiday dinners, but I didn’t much care for it. To entice me, Gram used to call to my attention the bubbles in my cup. “Ooooo-o-o-o—loook, you’re going to have lots of money coming your way….” I still didn’t like tea, much to Gram’s chagrin. But I do have Gram’s biscuit tin. I use it every Christmas when I load it up with homemade cookies—err, biscuits.
|Nicey replies: Hello Sue,
We have a special icon for tea bubbles and their associated wealth, and one for biscuit tins too. I think it's lovely that your Gram's old biscuit tin gets an outing at Christmas time.
As for Hastings I seem to remember from my trip there as a child that it has very tall wooden sheds covered in tar, which were something to do with fishing.
Rich Tea Review
Sorry to clutter up your inbox with my ramblings but I am a neophyte to this site and I have to get a few things off my chest. Having perused the site and I am puzzled as to why you harbour such a negative attitude towards the lovely Nice biscuit? When I was a toddler in the early Sixties, and my parents were struggling to raise a small family, we were fobbed off with a variety of cheap biscuits in the hope that we might actually eat them occasionally (if desperate, and at gun-point). They tried us on Rich Tea, which only demonstrate traces of something that might be described as "flavour" for the first 25 seconds after the packet is opened; they tried us on Morning Coffee, which were only a marginal improvement (and mainly due to the elaborate decoration); they tried us on Lincoln, which only provide pleasure through stroking the upper surface. Once we were given long, slim biscuits with a thin, hard, lurid, swirly pink icing on top which we liked but were declared "bad for the teeth". Eventually they hit upon Nice biscuits which were not only coconutty but had granulated sugar on top. And proper Peek Frean's Nice too, which were a lovely pure white colour and not the American Tan of the modern impostor.
I could eat an entire packet of Peek Frean's Nice right now, if you had a time machine and decided to use it for biscuit retrieval purposes, rather than world domination.
P.S. to this day my parents always have Rich Teas in our old biscuit tin with a Kingfisher painted on the lid. They are always soft and smell of damp flannels (the biscuits, not my parents). My children won't eat them either.
|Nicey replies: Its a coconut thing really. Some desiccated coconut is like wood shavings and the taste can be quite overpowering. Although in later years it seems my views on coconut may be softening somewhat I would still like to keep the Nice biscuit at a safe distance. I think this is much like old adversaries who are bound up with one another by historical events but cannot yet bring themselves to regard old foes as friends.
I can also see that given the selection of biscuits you were exposed to at a young age that something with sugar on top would have been magnificent and an instant hit. People often forget in our modern days of excess that such simple things were once genuine treats. I still think of the fruit shortcake in much the same way as biscuit whose cup runneth over with bountiful goodness.
I would appreciate your assistance in settling this issue that has rumbled on for some time with my work colleagues. I would classify Cheddars as a biscuit, however work colleagues who view themselves as experts in this field seem to strongly disagree. The only other category that Cheddars could fall into is the cracker category but this feels all wrong to me. I note that comments on your website suggest that you can spot a biscuit if it can be dunked in tea, of course this would be inappropriate in respect of a Cheddar but I don't think categorisation in this case should hinge on this. Personally when talking about Cheddars, I think it reasonable to refer to them as "Cheddar biscuits" but would seek your views in order to settle the issue once and for all. What category do cheddars fall into?
|Nicey replies: Phil,
Thanks for getting us back on to a sensible topic. My personal call would to class the Cheddar as a savoury cracker, and not a biscuit. Given that its a savoury rather than a sweet product I feel happy with that. Also Cheddars would need some form of quarantine from other biscuits if placed in the same biscuit tin confinement to their packet. Other wise you might end up with cheesy custard creams or some other embarrassing problem.
Having said that a school friend of mine went through quite a big Cheddars phase where he would have a fig roll followed by 2 or 3 cheddar chasers. The two went together very well probably a bit like having fruit with your cheese board. So I would acknowledge the Cheddars ability to mix convivially with biscuits, perhaps more than any other cracker. I'm sure it could always hang about with those Hovis Digestives if it were feeling a bit left out, as they both share an interest in cheese.
||Recently I had a great need to investigate ‘langue de chat’ biscuits, due to their allegedly superior dunking qualities. My dear friend swears she searches Fulham for these delicacies. Whilst searching for info under your biscuit section, I was surprised to see that biscuits, even for advanced level gourmands, always came in packets. Is that to insulate them in the North? I have a great love of biscuits in tins, and of course they are pretty and reusable tins. The spying of biscuit tins on upper shelves must surely warm the heart of the average advanced biscuit fancier?|
Richard in Shad Thames London
|Nicey replies: I'm doing my utmost to empathise but not really making it. So your basic concern is that posh French biscuits should really be available only in tins? However, I certainly follow your basic premise that biscuit tins are a good thing, and it gives my a good excuse to use our biscuit tin icon.|
||Lemon juice is very good at removing tea stains from mugs, and leaves a slightly more pleasant aftertaste than bleach or washing powder. Although you may well disagree.|
Our household was overwhelmed with gifts of biscuit selection boxes this Christmas and New Year: we have several to get through before their expiry dates (which all seem to be in March). I may have to sacrifice my biscuits to a higher cause and bring them into work for my colleagues to polish off. If I do, should I admit they are leftovers do you think, or just bask in the fact that they'll think me extremely generous?
|Nicey replies: Nicky,
I think you are in danger of projecting overly complex physiological states for the people who will ploughing through your free biscuits.