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|Dear Nicey, firstly what a wonderful web site, you have totally made my day in finding you. With reference to Charles Hutchinson's letter about the biscuit he ate in the cadet force. This was the true holly grail of all biscuits and is referred to as an oatmeal block. It was still a component of military rations when I did my training in 79 and could be used as a bargaining item for almost anything. Most of the guys I went through Initial Officer Training with (for the RAF) would come fairly close to selling their souls for one. I once found a few being sold at the Camden Lock market - probably war surplus but who cares. I don't know if they are still included but if they are then look no further, there is nothing better on this planet. Oh and on the subject of Afghans, there is a superb Fagan made by a company called tuckatime which is seriously addictive and much better than the other commercial varieties|
Now living in New Zealand
||Dear Nicey and the wife,|
I also remember having bread toasted on one side during my childhood in Ireland. The toast would be buttered on the cooked side and then sprinkled lightly with sugar. On the positive side, the bread retains some of its moisture and therefore heat, allowing the butter and sugar to melt. On the negative side, it's a bit of an acquired taste.
I think that this might be an Irish thing. Good Catholic families (in those days at least) tended to be larger than average and producing toast quickly enough to meet demand at the breakfast table using a single eye-level grill required some compromise. There are also the financial implications to consider. Toasting the bread on both sides would have been dismissed as a waste of gas and, in all probability, a sin (I seem to remember that everything was a sin during my Irish childhood).
These days, I cook my toast on both sides. I still use a grill, but only since my son blew the main fuse attempting to retrieve a crumpet from the toaster using a metal knife.
|Nicey replies: Kieth,
A toast icon is way overdue now.
||greetings once again nicey, i'm still enjoying the great site so thanks for your efforts.|
with regard to the speculation about sting's 'toast done on one side' lyric - i believe it's a reference to the british practice of grilling their toast rather than owning a toaster. rather old-fashioned and therefore out of date which is why people are understandably puzzled. and presumably american toaster-makers are preparing to launch a full-on assault on the british toast market in the mistaken assumption that we still lack dedicated toasting equipment.
hope that helps!
PS. toast has got to be with marmelade or marmite. nothing else is acceptable (my boyfriend would disagree and demand that honey be added to your poll, but his taste is dubious ;))
|Nicey replies: Well, yes but we still turn it over when its made under the grill other wise it would be all steamy and damp on one side which would be not good at all. We only just got a toaster a few weeks back when we relocated the HQ as we were going to be with out the gas cooker for a few days. Otherwise we make it under the grill.
Wifey says - Actually, when I was a small child in Ireland I sometimes had one-sided toast when I couldn't be bothered to wait for the toast to toast on both sides under our very slow electric grill. I'd butter the un-cooked side, the result was, as Nicey says, a bit damp and not very nice at all.
Double sided grilling is by far the better option.
Mmmm Toast. I've wondered idly on and off for years what Sting was on about in that song where he sings " I don't like coffee, I take tea my dear, I like my toast done on one side. tumte tum te tum etc I'm an English man in New York". So is this an English thing - doing toast on one side? What's the point of that then? I've asked various Englishmen of my acquaintance and they've never heard of it. I was there myself only last week in sunny Bournemouth and they definitely served the toast done on more than one side in my hotel. My colleague Sue says the song's about Quentin Crisp and speculates it might be an euphemism for something else what ever that means but she's a Welshwoman from Pontardawe and has her toast done on both sides with salty welsh butter so what would she know? It's Marmite and a mashed banana for me.
PS we wondered whether you'd seen this shocking story from the South Wales Evening Post
|Nicey replies: Morning,
I'd always assumed that Sting was projecting some weird Geordie Toast making practice on to the rest of England. Maybe his toaster is knakered. He's got a lot to answer for as many Americans now use that song as their stereotypical cultural summing up of the UK having finally ditched Mary Poppins, I know I have the emails.
As for that article, I remember going on a school trip to the British Tissues factory in Maestyg, and seeing various sorts of loo rolls being built. The same stuff was going into Dixel and Maid Marion (another corner shop brand). It also appeared to be the place where they make that pink toilet tissue with the little pictures of roses on it, which always seems to be the stuff people resort to when taken short in laybys. I think we all got a four pack of loo rolls to take home, and I remember Nanny Nicey was thrilled with it.
I thought I'd better write in to make sure real afghans didn't get a bad name (us kiwi's are proud of them you know). You are quite right to be dissapointed in the Griffins version, real afghans have a much more substantial and less structurally sound biscut about 8cm diameter. There is a thick dollop of chocolate icing in the center and a walnut perched on top of that.
Here in New Zealand you can get passable versions in bakeries and there is an acceptable (although not strictly traditional) version made by Cookie Time. However, for a genuine afghan you really do need to make it yourself. Make sure you have heaps and heaps of coco and cornflakes.