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One of the abiding memories of schooll trips and day trips to the seaside or London was the little bag of goodies that mum would throw together for sustenance. This would generally consist of a flask of tea, a packet of crisps, a bar of chocolate and a packet of ICED GEMS. These small biscuits would have to rank among those unsung mainstays of the snack world that have kept busloads of kids happy throughout countless years of geography field trips and tedious days at museums. One feature worth noting is that iced gems had one of the hardest icing swirls ever made, ranking somewhere between carborundum and diamond on the hardness scale. This was allied to a bone dry biscuit base which had you gagging for any form of liquid after eating a packet. If I remember correctly, Iced gems are one of the bsicuits that go rock hard, not soggy, on standing. Maybe we could define an international unit of moistness for biscuits. Although not really a "nice cup of tea and sit down" material in the purist's eyes, surely ICED GEMS deserve an honourable mention on your site. Can anyone remember the colours of the icing?
B J Bunn
|Nicey replies: That's a very sensible appraisal of the Iced Gem. I'm sure there must be some sort of industrial or engineering processes in which the Iced Gem could be utilized such tunnel boring machines, or glass cutting.
|There is a small park at the end of Via Garibaldi in Venice, in the Castello Est. This park was built by Napoleon, and before the gates stands a statue of the man who inspired my favourite biscuits.|
Garibaldi's are the best. The biscuit is spicy, the raisins full of flavour, and although you can't make a map of Italy with a normal packet, you can build little houses. Whenever I am in Venice I always take a packet of garibaldi's with me, for a nibble when I sit in the park.
At them moment I am working in New Delhi, when I opened my suitcase my six-year old son had put a packet of Jammy Dodgers in for me. So a cup of tea and a dunked bikky, with the jam hot and melting, starts my day here.
|Nicey replies: Nice point about the little houses|
||Re the question of whether the milk should go in first or the tea - putting the milk in first is working class, putting the tea in first is middle and upper class. Drinking tea out of mugs is fairly obscene and not classy at all! Nice cups and saucers and - nice people DO NOT dunk biscuits in their tea - might as well drink it out of a doggy bowl! I prefer Earl Grey, of course, and no milk. In any case, if you have tea in a mug you get a lot more water and less of a tea taste. Tea bags are also fairly tasteless - Twinings proper leaf tea is the only thing worth drinking. PG tips and Tetley are what my family would refer to as "Builders' tea".|
|Nicey replies: We'ed best not invite you round for tea then, you'd really hate the constant obscenity of our watery builders tea.|
||My dad, as you might expect seeing as he is a teacher, has a favourite mug. Other members of staff would attempt to use/soil/borrow/steal this mug. Unperturbed, he passed a length of sturdy chain through the handle and chained it to the side board.|
I only wish I *were* joking, this really happened!
||On my only trip to England in 1996, which I had hoped for and planned for over 20 years, I had my first tea with milk and sugar and a biscuit in Sussex. Now my mornings in Austin, Texas always begin with 2 cuppas. As for biscuits, are there Girl Scout biscuits in the U.K.? Here, the Girl Scout "cookie" sale happens once a year and the Thin Mints famously popular. These are a chocolate mint flavored crisp biscuit covered in very thin chocolate glaze. Personally, I think the taste over-powers the tea and the chocolate melts when dipped. For those reasons, my favorite is the Nabisco Lorna Doone. It has a finer texture than Walker's Shortbread and is cheaper too. Also (from Sweden) Nyakers Gingersnaps, very crisp and they come in their own tin that is attractive.|
About the tea...I make a personal blend of 2 pts. Darjeeling to 1 pt. Assam and brew for 3 minutes. I'm the only tea drinker at home so I can splurge. As for the cup; I received a Dunoon English bone china mug (design by Ruth Beck) and I loved it so much, I ordered all the others (different kinds of teas and coffees) she had done, unfortunately now discontinued.
My tea habit is a memory of England that I will have with me forever. Thank you so very much. I sent a link to your site a friend who has been ill. I told him that your site is a "vacation spot occupied by adults who are...happy!"
|Nicey replies: Hello Julie,
What a lovely Texan email you have sent us. Your tea drinking and biscuit eating sounds very resourceful and sensible. Hoorah! for you.
Unfortunately, our Girl Scouts (Guides), don't really get involved with the manufacture and distribution of biscuits.