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||Hi Nicey and Wifey,|
I bought the book from Ottokars and keep randomly dipping into it for my amusement. I did not see the name of Gray Dunn with caramel wafers but my reading method might have skipped over it. I think they did a popular advertising campaign on TV at least ten years ago. Not that I like them any more than cardboard/Rivita. I endorse the assessment of the fig biscuits, they are some kind of perfection but they can go rock hard if not kept properly in a sealed biscuit tin. They don't normally last long enough to find that out.
It would be interesting to know what your readers use for biscuit tins. I have an old round one with a flower pattern on the lid but I also keep them in a modern sealable plastic container. I hear you screaming the word 'sacrilege'. I also have an old chromed biscuit barrel that I think goes back to my parents' wedding day in 1947. It has an inner container, like a little bucket, but does not hold a sufficient quantity of biscuits and it does not feel right to separate them into two places.
I hope that you don't mind but I have attached a photo of our workplace brewing area, exactly as it is every day, with its industrial teapot and messy fridge below. Mine is the KitKat mug. Note the rusty spoon and build-up of tannin in the teapot. The cleaning lady is under very strict instructions NEVER to clean the insides of the teapot. We always think it keeps the tea away from the metal and, anyway, it is probably bad luck if someone cleans it out. Out of the picture, there is a box of 100 Tetley teabags from the 'pound shop'.
The custard picture from your website is now my computer background picture. Yum!
Keep up the good work. I am enjoying the book.
|Nicey replies: Hello Jack,
That's a wonderful photo of tea making equipment, just the sort of thing I was after when I took the photos for the book. I like the brown tray underneath it all too and the reflections in the kettle. The teapot is glorious, I'm particularly impressed with the black wire handle over the spout to aid pouring. I'm also enjoying the old 10Base2 networking points behind the fridge.
Sadly we were informed a while back that Grey Dunn ceased trading in 2001 so I suppose I should really put an entry up or them in the missing in action section.
||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
I haven't been on the site for a while as I have changed jobs and my new employers aren't so keen on casual surfing in the workplace. I also struggle to get on t'internet at home as by the time I've managed to fight the kids off, I've forgotten why I wanted to use it in the first place.
Anyway, to stave off NCOTAASD withdrawal, I have been re-reading your book which I bought last Christmas.
This has done the trick as I had forgotten how good it was. I took it in to work today and left it on my desk so that my colleagues could start to appreciate the importance of tea during a sit down (the local preferance is for capucino from the coffee shop, or 'single shot Americano' which is a poncey name for black coffee).
Anyway, I just thought I'd mention an omission in your chapter concerning work based kitchens, this being the strategies employed to avoid conversation when you are trapped in the kitchen with someone you don't know or like particularly well.
My personal strategies are
- Pretend to be reading the notice board.
- Pick up a magazine from the table (if there are any). If you're lucky, there may be some cheap books for sale from a book club (fill out an order form and pay the girl on reception, that kind of thing).
- Walk out assertively as if you have something important to do and will be back when the kettle has boiled.
- Avoid making eye contact until the kettle has boiled and hope that someone else arrives in the meantime.
Perhaps you could post a survey?
|Nicey replies: Hello Keith,
Yet another excellent idea for a poll.
As a techie sort of bloke we could always pretend to be talking about something really dull by actually talking about something really dull, but obviously this requires you to go to the kettle in pairs.
Failing that a short rant about the lack of teaspoons / lack of mugs / unpleasant milk bottle etiquette / kettle etiquette etc will either drive off the interloper or engage them in conversation about an important topic. I say engage, but as you'll be ranting they'll not really get a word in, plus they may also give you a wide birth from there on in avoiding a reoccurrence of the problem.
||Dear Nicey, Wifey et al,|
I started a new job this week in a large office (Public/Civil Service), and I have discovered the joys of office tea. I had a teapot, tin of tea, sugar and my own mug from one of the my previous jobs, but the problem I have is the boiling water. They had an inbuilt water boiler thing with a tap at the sink. But it just isn't that hot. Is it an OH&S matter, to stop people burning themselves? or is it a sinister plot to shorten people's morning/afternoon tea break? Either way, my tea is no longer scaldingly hot (I have mine black) and it goes a lot quicker, and doesn't taste as good. I think bringing my own kettle in would be a bit beyond the pale. Hasn't been a huge issue thus far, as been too busy, and only had 3 cups of tea all week.
Maybe I'll have to switch to Green tea, which doesn't use boiling water.
|Nicey replies: Hi Luke,
I'm sure both your reasons are correct. The Health and Safety one is the excuse whilst the water boiler sales bloke mutters something about increased productivity due to staff not waiting around for a little kettle to boil.
I still say that I would be prepared to sign a form absolving my employer of liability in situations arising from the making of proper tea.
||Dearest and most esteemed Nicey,|
Having recently returned from a year under the tyranny of the Lu controlled french biscuit market, i hastened to click upon your tricoleur icon and read all manner of french related biscuitaries. I would like to point out that, while we may pity our gallic cousins for their ignorance of the ginger nut and other such delights, they are positively a fully developed nation compared to the Italians. One fellow Erasmus student we met, from Rome - a cosmopolitan centre of cultural exchange you may think - didn't even know what a kettle was. And when we poured the steaming water from stylish yet practical mouth, he simply refused to believe that the water could have been boiled in such a short space of time. What kind of nation doesnt even know what kettles are? The french might heat their water in the microwave, before adding a teabag and a splodge of UHT milk in attempt to make us feel at home, but at least they'd recognize a kettle were it placed before their eyes. Needless to say, the italian later returned to Italy bearing gifts of kettles for all his relations, along with copious amounts of Tetley's breakfast tea. A poor introduction to english tea perhaps, but when it's either that or lipton yellow, the sacrifice must be made. Incidentally, he will shortly be coming over to visit us, and we are desperately keen to get him onto higher strength cuppas such as PG, and maybe even a Yorkshire 'hard water' brew. I'm already planning the accompanying biscuit menus in my head. He only has three days to sample to full wealth and diversity of the UK biscuit - any suggestions?
|Nicey replies: It's difficult to know where to begin but obviously you'll need to give him some Garibaldis. |
McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive Review
Having just read your book, I was concerned that you had kept well clear of the 'which way up' issue concerning the chocolate digestive (and other such biscuits). Having just discovered your website for the first time, I am relieved to learn that there has been some debate on the matter.
I have two points to raise on the matter: Why should the top of an ordinary digestive become the bottom when there is a chocolate coating? In my opinion the delay factor of the chocolate reaching your tongue is greatly reduced if they are eaten chocolate side down, and the chocolatey taste sensation prolonged. The business of grip and grasp of said biscuit is merely a diversion: what is important is the eating/tasting experience.
To conclude, isn't it about time that the NCOTAASD website took the lead cleared the matter up once and for all? After all, you are the undisputed authority on such matters? The solution is simple: an online trial and survey. Readers should be asked to try eating a chocolate digestive one way up, and then the other; then complete an online form where they might indicate the way up that they have traditionally eaten their chocolate digestive, and their preferred way up based on the trial. If it were agreed that the experience is even better chocolate side down, then you could be responsible for changing biscuit-eating discipline for ever - and perhaps even name the process?
It has also occurred to me that there are other edibles out there suffering similar confusion, e.g. how many of us automatically open a packet of crisps so the writing on the bag is the right way up when you are eating them? Do we actually read all the small print on the bag? So why do be bother always opening it at the 'top?' Indeed, when we eat crisps communally at a pub, the packet usually sits flat on a table, and if being able to read the packet were really an issue, in such situations it should be opened at the 'bottom.'
My final plea: tasting notes for good everyday teabags (we can tackle Earl Grey etc. at a later date). Buying teabags these days seems to be like tip-toeing through a mine-field. There was a time when Sainsbury's Red Label was the answer - sadly those days are long since gone. Yorkshire teabags are not as good as they used to be, even though Taylors claim that they do not change, and even blend according to which region of the UK they are destined for. I wonder if any readers have discovered Punjana teabags which are blended in Belfast? I am happy to assist with these tasting notes.
|Nicey replies: Hello James,
When we polled people as to the right way up for chocolate biscuits we had 582 votes, 86.08% thought choc side up 8.25% were with you and 5.67% seemed to think it didn't matter. Perhaps a few of the 86% can be convinced to try them 'inverted', but we did have reports of some people trying that last time we talked about it. They said it felt disturbing.
As for tea, I notice that like ourselves you live in Cambridge and so maybe you might want to consider some form of water filtration for our grim old tap water before you start worrying what is or isn't happening to teabags. It might buy you a big margin of tea improvement, our kettle thread had lots of messages from people saying it had really worked for them.