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We have four hot drinks machines at Screwfix in Yeovil, dispensing a wide variety of 'delights'... There must be at least five versions of Nescafe, plus chicken soup, vegetable soup, a couple of Starburst drinks which have the option of being hot or cold, a couple of hot chocolate varieties (why two, shirley it's the same thing?). And all for the princely sum of 15p a go.
I am not a coffee drinker at the best of times, but I did try the standard Gold Blend from this machine and it truly was comparable to the excretions of a dog. The Starburst leaves a nasty-looking residue at the base of your plastic cup, which only becomes apparent upon emptying the container of liquid. The chicken soup and hot choc is actually quiet nice, which surprised the hell out of me...
The tea is PG Tips utilising a bag, with the silver bit of foil to aid withdrawal. Invariably, i.e. 75% of the time (not a scientifically determined figure, but an experiment I may conduct later), this piece of foil is underneath the bag, or the bag is lying on it's side, covered in hot tea, and thus impossible to remove unless you happen to like the Accident & Emergency Department. Or cold tea. Luckily there tends to be a couple of small spoons in the vicinity of a nearby sink, for just such an occurance.
This seems to be the only quirk of the machine, but as others have pointed out, the powdered milk renders what would be an otherwise fine drink, to being merely adequate. Perhaps the wonders of the 21st Century will solve the puzzle of storing fresh milk for long periods of time, perhaps with some kind of cooling device. Maybe you could even get one for the home! You could keep other things in it too. On second thoughts, perhaps that's a bit too far-fetched.
The buttons on the four machines appear to be arranged in a different order, depending on which machine you go to. For example, you absent-mindedly press your normal selection of white tea, and horror of horrors, it produces white tea with sugar! And just because you moved to the machine positioned two inches to the left of your normal one... They do have the same number of coffee buttons, the same number of tea buttons, and one or two 'bonus' buttons which contain the aforementioned alternatives. They just happen to be in a different order on each machine. It's some sort of game, I'm sure, or perhaps another way those pesky warehouse Supervisors are trying to wear us down....
As for biscuits, the kitchen provides some excellent 'home-made cookies', which are baked on site. Naturally, I always take the double-chocolate version over the choc-chip. More chocolate for your buck is always a good thing :-)
To tie the vending machine/chocolate matters together, our snack machine routinely leaves my chocolate bar selection dangling in mid-air, just holding on by sheer willpower alone, it seems...
Tunnocks Wafer Review
|I was heartened to read of the other fellow-eaters who have been aiding me in my quest to see that elusive eight-digits-per-week eater ratio of the acclaimed cult biscuit, the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer, or TCW, in our household. The delicate balance between the lively sweet caramel and the bland supporting wafer is a perfect combination for an elevenses snack, or perhaps a 4 o'clock cup of Darjeeling. I have been overjoyed to discover, thanks to the generosity of fellow TCW worshippers, the wonder that is the dark chocolate variant, although I am heartbroken though that the good people of Tunnock have not yet expanded their distribution to Scandinavia. Alas I am dependent on the goodwill of my Scottish contacts for making use of their excessive buying power and taking out the product at the source.|
The bit on your site about the so-called 'tea' machines has greatly inspired my colleagues and I. Here at WeFixPhones Ltd, we have six of these behemoths, all with their own quirks. Just to keep you guessing, they seem to swap quirks at the drop of a hat, subjecting you randomly to either:
A minute amount of extremely strong (some may say espresso) tea
A cup of hot water with a couple of tea leaves floating on top
A cup of otherwise perfectly good tea, ruined by a strong taste of chicken soup or whatever was last dispensed from the machine's one nozzle
Hot water, with a dash of powdered milk (even if you asked for black tea)
and of course, if you decide to get around these quirks by requesting hot water, the water is never actually hot enough to make a nice cup of Earl Grey, presumably for health and safety reasons. To add insult to injury, we have to pay to run the daily tea gauntlet. Bad tea is one thing. Paying
for bad tea is another.
Lu Mikado Review
|Interesting to hear from Pete Moody about Pocky. Our friends brought some all the way home from Hong Kong for us to try out, not bad we thought, but we won't get any more until they go out there again. Then one day, sheltering from the rain on the way to Asda, I nipped into our little Chinese supermarket in Peterborough and there they were! Chocolate and strawberry varieties, and a savoury type as well. The strawberry ones smell like strawberry, but taste like those little white chocolate mice and leave a fuzzy coating on your tongue. Having said that, I prefer them to the chocolate ones.|
My current biscuit craze came back with me from a visit to Holland - stroopwaffeln or syrup waffles - two thin crispy biscuits with a layer of toffee syrup between. They are hard and chewy at room temperature, but balance them over a hot cup of tea for 10-20 seconds and behold - soft and gloopy on the inside and still crunchy on the outside. When I finished the packet I brought home, I thought again that there would be no more until my next visit. Then again Peterborough does the business! We've had a continental street market, complete with a lovely Dutch lady selling syrup waffles.
People may say uncomplimentary things about Peterborough, but we seem to have an international biscuit trade here - I'm off to see what else I can find!
Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread Review
|Marian Fox's message reminded me that I have been meaning to leap to the defence of Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread for some time. So OK, I'm a slow leaper.|
But it really is top stuff - a friend who is a lifelong fan introduced me to it a few years ago and now I've got my dad into it as well. I do think you have to warm it up a bit though - stick a couple of rectangles in the oven (a microwave would probably do the trick too, but I don't hold with them) while you make your tea, then the gingerbread and the tea can cool simultaneously and the combination is divine. Mind the crumbs, though, and don't breathe in suddenly while taking a bite because choking is neither pretty nor cool.
Give it a try - it's a genuine taste sensation.
Sarah (not nelson)