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|Nancy Bea Miller
||Dear Nicey (and Wifey);|
I loved your book. It was my favorite Christmas present.
If you lived in the U.S. I am sure the title would have been: "Nice Cup of Coffee and a Rush Off" I am a painter who often paints cups of tea, coffee, doughnuts and biscuits (only I call them cookies, being American).
Here is my most recent cup of coffeee painting:
|Nicey replies: Nancy,
Glad to hear you enjoyed the book. Your paintings are very nice too. I suppose if you painted a mug of proper tea and some Jammie Dodgers or Custard Creams it would be a bit like when Monet painted scenes of the Thames, or Turner of the Grand Canal.
||Just looking at your Jammie Dodgers poll, the “bring back the old ones” is winning hands down. But which ‘old ones’? The product has gone through several Doctor Who-style regenerations, of which the most radical was turning the bottom biscuit up-side down (or right-way up depending how you look at it). Up until the early 1980’s, the base biscuit was presented with the flat ‘underside’ facing up, so that the overall profile was a pleasing oval nature. A bit like the classic flying saucer shape. Then the jam was changed from a hard viscous dollop to a softer, more user-friendly variety. However, this made them much more difficult to make as the softer jam didn’t set so quickly and tended to run off the flat surface of the biscuit in a messy non-user-friendly way. The solution was to flip the base biscuit over and mould the top surface so that it had a shallow bowl, guarded by a ring of decorative but unseen embossings. This meant that the pleasing oval profile was no longer achievable, but at least the consumer got a nice soft jam that didn’t leave a sticky trail between teeth and biscuit. The designs on the top biscuit (a variety of cut-out shapes including a celtic cross) were also dropped in favour of a having a heart-shaped hole on every biscuit.|
Wagon Wheel Review
|Keith Andrews remembered:|
"Wagon Wheels, they're a treat for me [wagon wheels!]
They're the biggest biscuit, you ever did see! [wagon wheels!]
... .... ..... .... ... ... .... .... .
The biscuit thrill to beat the band!"
The line that Keith is missing from the Wagon Wheels theme is "Marshmallow filled, they taste so grand"... which is something of a scurrilous claim nowadays because they taste pretty iffy compared to their former glory. They have a stale and artificial flavour and there is no way on Earth that they are the same size as they used to be. And Jammie Dodgers are stale-tasting parodies of their former selves, too. How I wish I'd had the foresight, as a Wagon Wheel munching ten-year-old, to start a small biscuit museum so I could shame the manufacturers of today into admitting their corner-cutting by showing them tangible proof. Come to think of it, after thirty years they would probably taste much like their current incarnation. Now, here's a sort-of-related question; anyone remember Rondellos? They were big biscuits too, perhaps not quite as big as a Wagon Wheel, probably only four or six in a package...
|Nicey replies: Actually I don't think the taste of Wagonwheels has really changed at all, I think your own personal tastes have evolved / matured. I do think Jammy Dodgers have changed quite a bit with today's biscuit being a much softer bake. We have an entry for Rondellos in our missing in action section, which is looking a tad empty so I'll add in your comments.|
||What do the panel think about the little packets of mini Jammy dodgers. Manufactured by Burtons it seems. Very more-ish.|
|Nicey replies: If I too had become smaller by the same proportion, then I'm sure I would be delighted by them.
||My husband and I were reminiscing about a rather natty little biscuit called a toffee pop. Quite small, round and packaged in a similar fashion to a jammy dodgem, they were made up of a biscuity base, an absolutely MENTAL toffee filling and a chocolate topping. Quite awesome and super after an afternoon at the Bristol North Baths.|
We are currently living in Taiwan and therefore unable to conduct a proper search, but are anxious to know whether they can still be found.
|Nicey replies: Well they were made by Burton's but I haven't seen any in ages, 3 to 4 years I think. As you say they were a very close cousin of the Jammie Dodger, and yet another of those 'glam rock' sort of biscuits that Burton's are the undisputed masters of.
Its so happens that there is one place in the world where the Toffee Pop still makes a decent living and that is New Zealand. The NZ biscuit bakers Griffins produce them and there is also a white chocolate variant called the Snow Toffee pop. Biscuit Hunter Hazel brought me back a pack of the little know Snow Toffee pops but they are in fairly bad shape having been round most of the antipodes in a rucksack. I managed to get hold of the Milk Chocolate variety on Monday in the NZ shop in Covent Garden.