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||Esteemed Mr Nicey:|
The message about charcoal biscuits roused a long-lost memory of my childhood in the 1940s (in England, which is south of Scotland). My Dad used to eat charcoal biscuits for the good of his digestion, declaring that they absorbed or otherwise nullified the effects of gas. You know the sort of gas I mean.
I remember trying them. Small, oval, chunky and black. Not a displeasant taste but not exactly addictive.
Don't know if we fed them to the dogs. My brother had three dogs, one after the other, and they all mysteriously disappeared. One of our chooks also mysteriously disappeared. I had developed a close bond with her, and nobody dare tell me that we ate her for Sunday dinner. Makes you wonder about those dogs.
I remain, dear Sir, you 'umble servant, etc.
|Nicey replies: They sound a lot like the things I use on our BBQ.|
Foxs Chocolate Viennese Review
|During the 1970's, my father had the contract for unblocking the drains at Jacob's Biscuits in Liverpool. He was regularly telephoned in the small hours and summoned to the factory as a matter of urgency. Next day, we children would awaken to the Christmas-like spectacle of boxes of Clubs at the bottom of our beds. These had apparently been presented to my father with the nightwatchman's compliments. The contents were always flawed and sometimes actually mutant, with defects ranging from crushing and treading injuries (footprints visible in the foil) to the classic complete omission of biscuit matter, frequently cited on these pages. For some reason this happened a great deal with the orange flavoured variety, and only very rarely with the mint. My favourite mistake was an unsurpassed clump of approximately twenty four amalgamated Fruit Clubs, lavishly coated in chocolate, but set in a formless heap. We had to hack bits off it with a rolling pin, although, as my Grandma pointed out, They Tasted The Same.|
I used to ask my father how such anarchy came to be visited on the production line but he always just shrugged and said it was nothing to with him, his department was the drains.
Incidentally, I was pleased to see that you have just reviewed the Fox's Viennese - this has recently become my biscuit of choice. I would recommend keeping them in the refrigerator, especially during warmer spells. This greatly improves the texture of the filling and the overall mouth-feel, and adds interest to the "bite".
|Nicey replies: Heidi,
Woo, fantastic tales of Clubs of old there. Biscuit factories must be thrilling places to work, even if it is to do with drains. The monster 24 fruit Club thing should have been cast in bronze as a monument of some sort. I think it would have made a splendid statue to put outside their front gate. Or it could have been given to visiting foreign dignitaries. Still good job you got in there first and mullered it with a rolling pin.
Glad you liked the Viennese review I enjoyed the 5 or ten minutes it took to completely review the pack.
Jacob's Orange Club Review
|I have a little bit of info for you regarding what happened to the club biscuit.|
For quite some time Jacobs were considering deleting it as it was far too costly to produce. They contacted the company I work for to buy special on-line weighing machines that could be used to control the amount of chocolate which the bars were enrobed in. Putting too much of something in a food product is called 'give away'. Every gramme of chocolate too much is increased cost of manufacture.
I would guess that this equipment didnt help them in cost reduction enought, so instead of deleting the bikky, they made it cheaper and poorer quality.
|Nicey replies: Upon hearing that news I feel I can relate to the emotions held by Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of Apes.|
Wagon Wheel Review
|Oh dear the sad decline of the Club. What a shame somebody had to spoil it. Just reading the emails about solid KitKats reminded me of when I was about 7, and I tucked into Take-a-Break at school. To my utter amazement, it was solid chocolate. At the age of 7, this was an amazing find and all my friends were able to behold this incredible phenomenon. I took it home and showed it to my mum, who sent it off to the manufacturer (Jacobs?). Why she bothered I don't know, but imagine my surprise and delight when a few days later she received not 1 not 2 but 3 multi-packs of Take-a-Breaks in the post, free from the manufacturer.|
Ah, those were the days!
As you seem to be a veritable expert on these matters, have Wagon Wheels got smaller or did I just get bigger? I remember them being huge.
Keep it up this site is great.
|Nicey replies: Splendid,
I can see how that would have been a formative moment in your life. As for Wagon Wheels we had the definitive answer on that a few weeks ago from regular guru 'Biscuit Man'. They did actually get ever-ever so slightly smaller in the 80's when their production site was changed, but thats it. All the rest is down to you getting bigger.
||Re: biscuit dilemma|
Hello, thank God I found your site, just as I was beginning to give up hope. I am sure someone can help me track down the elusive, but delicious, fruit Shrewsbury biscuit. These biscuits have it all, from a lovely crunch to the health-giving fruit cleverly mixed in. In fact it could probably qualify as one of the 5 portions of fruit & veg we need each day!
Anyhow, the only place I know to get 'em is on board First Great Western trains, and this is getting expensive. So-called "Supermarkets" are no use, although I am also partial to the humble digestive.
Please, please, can anyone help? And it IS my birthday!