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Take heed from these wise words!
"Resolve to be a master of change rather than a victim of change."
Many biscuit loving people would love to be in your position, you have a gift. What other man could hold and captivate the ear of a biscuit lover? No politician or monarch, or even religious leader could claim to be first and foremost a biscuit ambassador. You have demonstrated and communicated to the everyday person your bond with the biscuit and yet, on this occasion I feel that your grief and heartache, at the demise of the biscuit related receptacle has clouded, nay overcome your judgement.
As Jesse Jackson, a long time biscuit lover once said:
"Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change."
No-one has ever said that having a nicecupofteaandasitdown would be easy? Modern life is geared towards change and progress, both bitter enemies to the barrel lover, I can tell you! Like it or not we are faced with a problem. At the current rate of decline the biscuit barrel has become the most endangered of household items. It has overtaken even the most anachronistic of everyday items, such as the tea strainer (often found in period dramas and daytime programmes such as Bargain hunt (see local listings for details)), to become the number one article of decline.
Environmental factors are partly to blame, the kitchen environment is changing. The tasteful brown barrel, which used to go so well with the brown tiles (with the leaf relief on them) is an abhorrence in the chrome and Ikea 21st Century kitchens. Brown tiles have made way for funky MDF Designs pioneered by such angels of destruction as Linda Barker. As a result many barrels are barren, empty vessels consigned to the back of some silver painted cupboard, along with the lemon juicer and the salad spinner .These factors have caused barrels to decline ten fold in the latter part of the 1980's (*W.H.O. report 1994) . If the exponential decrease of the barrels continues, the last barrel to exist will be melted down (to provide metal reserves for the mass production of the newly re-discovered and highly fashionable tea strainer) on the 27 April 2013.
This does not have to be.
Resolve to be a master of change. Set the production lines! Produce a new biscuit tin of startling and revolutionary design, that still fulfils the vital function of a traditional biscuit vesicle. Use your design skills and your position to woo the general public to again embrace and covet the biscuit tin. It can be done. You are the one to do it. Soon everyone will want a bite of the biscuit and new tins will appear everywhere. Linda (slag to fashion) Barker will be obliged to extol the virtues of "this realllly funky biscuit tin thingy" and it would all be because of you.
P.S. My current tin is showing signs of age. Dents have started accumulating and the crumbs are fossilising at an alarming rate. I believe it to be Roman as it shows a map of Londinium, the Latin word for London (as I'm sure you know) so time is of the essence. Help me nicey, you're my only hope!
||Hello again Nicey,|
Sorry to besiege you, but I just remembered something else from my distant childhood in Newark(-on-Trent). Born in 1936, I had hand-me-down clothes and things from my much older brethren and cistern, who were born in the 1920s. One of these things was a Huntley & Palmer penny-in-the-slot biscuit machine.
It was made of pressed tin, as so many toys were. You were supposed to stack biscuits in it, put the lid on, place a penny in the slot, pull the little drawer, and behold, a biscuit! During the War (for young viewers, under 40, that's the Second World War), we couldn't get Huntley & Palmer's biscuits, and no others would fit the machine, so I could never use it.
Aaaah, POOR little lad! No, never mind all that. What I want to know is: Does anyone else remember this intriguing thing? Look, I've drawn a little picture of it for you. The shape is probably about right but the decoration is invented. Well, I CAN'T REMEMBER, can I?
|Bob in Tokyo
Fig Roll Review
|Dear Mr. Nicey, I stumbled across your "site" moments ago when I did a "google" search for Lyons Fig Rolls, and I discovered the "internet" does indeed have a useful function for those inclined to a "modern" lifestyle. That the correspondent from Niigata found said fig rolls in her local supermarket is astounding, as the best I have ever been able to locate in Tokyo (my domicile for the past decade) has been the Jacobs "closed end" variety. I am heartened by the news. My chidhood favourite (and still now, come to think of it) was the open-ended, non-striated-casing type (by Burtons, was it not?) since these lent themselves best to "peeling" or "nibbling" of the casing before plunging into the lushious, fragrant core. Oh my!.....did anyone else get a cerebral rush like I just did? Eleanor might be pleased to know that if there is a branch of the Daimaru "Peacock" supermarket chain in Niigata she should be able to get Waitrose organic "Oaten" biscuits (a classic, fibre-rich, buttery, oat-crunch type - and a damn fine dunker!) along with a few other Waitrose top-end biscuit varieties and other British products (HP sauce, Original and Fruity!) hard to get at a reasonable price in Japan.|
Anyway, I digress. My reason for this contribution is the query from Brian about Grantham gingerbread biscuits, a memory from his childhood in Newark on Trent. I can assure everyone in the biscuit-concerned world that this variety of biscuit is alive and well, and exactly, and delicious, as described. My mum used to make them (God bless her - she sends me Marks 'n' Sparks Extra Strong to keep me functional). Being Manchester folk, I'm not sure where she got the recipe, or even if it's actually an East-Midlands thing, despite the name. If it is, it's surely the best thing ever to come out of Grantham (oops...should I have said that?). I'll post the recipe as soon as I can get it from Mum.
Other matters (1): Taylor's Yorkshire for "a crucial hit" - life affirming on a hungover morning. And, does Co-op "99", an old favourite of mine, still exist?
Other matters (2): It would be useful to have a contribution date for each correspondence or article on the "site". I have qualms, occasionally, about being out of date.
Cheerio, Bob in Tokyo.
P.S. Returning to fig rolls....open-ended, smooth casing is the best. I defy you to disagree.
|Nicey replies: Bob,
It gives me a warm feeling to know that we are helping people across the world to locate proper biscuits. Hoorah, for the wonder of the interweb.
Your point about the contribution date is a good one, I'll see what I can do.
As to fig roll preferences, I think I nailed my colours to the mast in the original review.
|A J Evans
||Thought you might like this for your birthday|
More tea Vicar
Are you particular in the way you take your tea,
In bone china with cream or mug and sugar free,
Make it with a tea bag or properly in a pot,
Pour it in a saucer if it's made to hot,
Instant maybe, iced with lemon, Earl grey too,
There must be one that really suits you,
Have some iced fancy's or dunk in a biscuit,
Down in the potting shed or at Lord's with cricket,
Do you like it in the morning or afternoon at three,
Are you particular in the way you take your tea.
|Nicey replies: Thanks for the poetry,
all about cups of tea,
It was really lovely.
|Alan (Fred) Pipes
When I was in Edinburgh recently, I attended a Farmers Market and discovered a local or regional biscuit called the perkin. The ones I subsequently purchased were oatmeal-based, large, round, crisp yet crumbly, rustic looking and tasting of ginger and treacle, tho strangely no ginger was included on the list of ingredients. They were made by Oatmeal of Alford, and possibly fall into the category of luxury/home-made/vernacular (tho they did come in a sealed cellophane packet with printed label). I believe you can buy them on the internet, tho at a considerably higher price than the 80p I paid the maker/stallholder. Unfortunately I ate them all before finding this website, so no images are available. Try them when North of the Border.
On dunking: I find the round Rich Tea makes for a pleasant dunking experience -- fill up your mug (of a diameter less than that of the biscuit) with hot tea and make your first dunk. You'll find that only the smallest
sector (or is it segment -- can't remember my basic geometry) gets soggy as obviously the whole biscuit cannot be immersed. This can be nibbled off daintily and the rest of it, now narrow enough to fully immerse, can be
|Nicey replies: Fred,
Thanks for the tip of about Perkins, they sound tasty, perhaps someone North of the Border can get us a picture.
As for the round rich tea progressive dunk, thanks for reminding us all of that important technique. As the tea gets drunk it can sometimes require up to three preliminary dunks before complete dunkage can be achieved.