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What a nice web site you've done there. As I live in Paris it offers a welcome glimpse of bakelite and allotments, the smell of new Beanos in the paper shop, and everything else that make Great Britain possibly the most Great British of places on the face of the planet.
I have a confession, and I would gratefully appreciate your respecting my anonimity, a request you'll understand given the perverse nature of my sin.
I like eating digestive biscuits with a bit of sharp cheddar cheese. Nothing wrong with that, you say? How about *chocolate* digestives? Both milk and plain? I have to make sure there's no-one else in the house when I do this, as it disgusts and saddens my family.
I would find it of great comfort if there were others who, if not sharing my prediliction, could at least extend some sympathy along with the tea? God made me what I am.
Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. I feel better already.
|Nicey replies: Tim,
Yours is a recognised condition which is why we have the cheese icon.
||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
Just recently stumbled across your inspirational website (where have I been for the last 3 years?)
I have a long affiliation with tea - originally being from Yorkshire it has been a staple part of my diet since I were knee-high to a grasshopper! I also briefly worked at Twinings tea shop in London (no PG Tips there though)
Although the subject of dunking is covered in magnificent depth on your site, I can find absolutely no refernce to the actual biscuits named "Dunkers" (I have no idea if they are still in production and can't remember which company manufactured them)
They were almond-shaped, roughly 10cm long and and 5cm at their widest mid-point. Obviously some research types decided that these are the ideal dunking dimensions and indeed, they fitted neatly into one's mug. They also managed to retain an unsurpassable amount of tea without crumbling.
I vaguely remember a rather dodgy TV ad for them involving a car with steamed up windows...
However, their fundamental flaw was that they tasted minging. The dominating flavour was malt - in fact it was basically Horlicks disguised as a biscuit and who in their right mind would pollute their cuppa with a hefty teaspoon of Horlicks? I'm sure even the custard cream-in-port lady dunker would have difficulty in stomaching aforementioned.
However, on the subject of bizarre dunking, the strangest by far - and not altogether unpleasant - that I have sampled is cheese.
Let me explain - as there are extenuating circumstances. It was many years ago before my tastebuds developed the refinement they now posess. I was on an aeroplane, so not a particularly nice sit down and also an environment not wholly familiar with the nuances of tea preparation. In fact, let's face it, aeroplane tea is absolutely diabolical (Although not quite as appalling as that which I encountered on a GNER train last summer - in First Class no less!).
Anyhow, we encountered a spot of turbulence during which I was unfortunate enough to drop a piece of cheese in my cuppa. Now I forget why, but instead of quickly retrieving said solid dairy mass, I let it lie. Then, (once again, inexplicably - although in my defence I was very young) I continued to sup my beverage. And then - yes, you guessed it folks - I ate the cheese (I was quite a piggy-jack porker of a kid). And you know what - it was surprisingly palatable.
Can I blame altitude sickness?
|Nicey replies: Fiona,
First congratulations on getting the dunking, cheese and airplane icons altogether, well done. Yes, those Dunkers have been mentioned to me once before, I never had them and as you elude to it doesn't appear that they are sorely missed. As for melting cheese in your tea, that is something that you have obviously come to terms with, and if by sharing it with the world it helps you work through it then we are glad to help.
As we are now officially in book plugging mode, I would like to point out that I discuss trains and planes in our sitdown section.
Where have all the nice biscuit barrels gone?
I am looking for a tin one with one of those special lids which keep the contents dry, with a handle.
All I can find are pottery jars like teddy bears which are hideous and chip, wooden ones which taint the biscuits with a woody flavour or the type of canister you can keep lentils in.
Where have all the nice tin ones gone?
|Nicey replies: Yes Biscuit-Enthusiast Mandy had one of those Teddy Bear ones for a wedding present and its still in its box after a year. It didn't help much that the box had pictures of pink wafers on it, possibly because they are colourful and easy to draw.
Our proper biscuit barrel originally had a cracker selection in it, from M&S I think, perhaps a trip to there might bare fruit.
Hope you and The Wife and the rest of the NCOTAASD crew are fine...not too bloated from onerous cake- and biscuit-sampling activities.
Please could you open a review thread on Cheese Footballs (for the more sporty types out there) and also Cheese Sticks? I think Cheese Footballs were made by Huntley & Palmer but I don't know who made their slender cousin, the Cheese Stick.
They used to remind me of Andre Maurois' most excellent children's book "Fattipuffs and Thinifers". It was about two neighbouring tribes of people. One tribe was short, round, fat and jolly and the other was tall, thin, stick-like and morose. Bit like their cheese-filled biscuit relatives, really. Quaere: Can biscuits be jolly? Or morose? I think we may need a philosopher of the Biscuit World to rule on that one...
The Cheese Footballs (spherical - about 20mm dia) and the Cheese Sticks (cylindrical - about 10mm dia x about 75mm long) had significant things in common. Both were constructed of a wafer covering (a bit like Askey's cones and wafers for carrying ice cream) with a very salty, slightly gritty and VERY moreish and strongly cheese-flavoured paste inside. The wafers sometimes were faultily moulded so that a careful and dedicated deconstructor could part the two halves with thumbnails judiciously inserted, and expose the yumulicious filling which could then be consumed "neat", so to speak. This salty, cheesey paste would really go for any slight abrasions in the roof of the mouth, rather like over-liberally spread Marmite soldiers do. The filling did smell a bit odd, though. A girlfriend of many years ago claimed they made my breath smell "fusty". Or could she have meant "lusty"? No matter. But nothing that a Nice Cup Of Tea couldn't wash away pronto.
I haven't seen either of these masterpieces of the savoury biscuitmaker's art for years. This could be because they're out of production (like Chocolate Olivers - Hallowed be their Blessed Name - and Abbey Crunch) or because I'm getting too short-sighted as I've got older to see them as I slowly surf the supermarket aisles. Have any other NCOTAASD readers spotted them recently? I think we should be told.
The volume of cheese-flavoured filling within a standard Cheese Football can be found by applying the formula V = 4/3 x ? x r3 (where r = 10mm) giving a result of 4190mm3 (4.19cc) of cheese-flavoured filling per football
The volume of cheese-flavoured filling within a standard Cheese Stick can be found by applying the formula V = ? x r2 x L (where r = 5mm and L = 75mm) giving a result of 5893mm3 (5.893cc) of cheese-flavoured filling per stick
Both calculations make no allowance for the wall thickness of the enclosing wafer, and assume there are no voids within the wafer; i.e. each artefact is perfectly filled and, in the case of the Cheese Sticks, each stick has circular ends square to the length
|Nicey replies: John,
I certainly remember cheese footballs and concur that Huntley and Palmer were the main protagonists in this regard. I'm sure Marks and Spencer also had their own label ones. I think that could get cheese and celery ones also, at at Christmas time they liked to travel in tins. From what I remember of them the smelt quite a lot like rampant foot odor. This meant that unless you really liked them you had to get yourself quite psyched up or moderately drunk before tucking in. Much the same thing is true of oysters, I feel. There was also a round cheesy potato snack, cheese balls/puffs with bright orange cheesy stuff on it which smelt worse, so much so that I won't even mention what it reminded me of.
I haven't seen them in years, I think they were displaced from their ecological snacking niche by Scampi fries, much in the way Grey Squirrels have kicked out the red ones.
Possibly a little away from the mission statement, but a debate has sparked off in the office regarding the proper topping (if any) for crumpets - namely, sweet or savoury?. Responses thus far include:
Sweet - jam or honey
Savoury - butter
Savoury - cheese
Crumpets are evil
Anything up to and including a full egg and bacon crumpet sandwich.
Your views or those of the NCOTAASD community would be most valued.
As ever, you humble servant.
|Nicey replies: Here at NCOTAASD HQ it is butter, or butter + jam, or butter + peanut butter.
I find the 'nothing' troubling, and possibly in contravention of a crumpet's basic rights.
Sounds like a poll.