Keep your e-mails pouring in, it's good to know that there are lots of you out there with views and opinions.
To help you work out what is what, are now little icons to help you see biscuit related themes. And now you can see at a glance which are the most contested subjects via this graph (requires Flash 6.0 plugin).
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If you like, you can use this search thingy to find stuff that matches with any of the icons you pick, or use the fantastic free text search, Yay!
|Mrs Sarah Mint-Viscount
Kimberley and Chocolate Kimberley Review
|Dear Nicey (and Wifey, and NCOTAASD YMOS),|
As I listened to Today FM's Ray D'arcy Show this morning, I was getting very engrossed in the debate that raged - a debate on the nomenclature of that delicious little delicacy which is made by mixing Rice Krispies with melted chocolate, and dividing the mixture out into little paper cases to set.
Now, the many NCOTAASD enthusiasts who don't live in Ireland can't have heard the show, so they won't know that the debate in question raged between those who insist that the perennial party favourite made from chocolate and Rice Krispies should be called Rice Krispie Cakes, and those who are adamant that they are, and always must, be called Rice Krispie Buns.
Guest host Jenny Kelly was very calmly handling the situation, as well she might, for she is usually the producer of the Ray D'arcy show, and the show regularly broadcasts very important and controversial debates such as these. But calm as she was, there was no doubt that this debate was getting heated - the emails and texts sent in by listeners were becoming more terse and aggressive by the minute.
Even without hearing this show, your NCOTAASD readers will readily understand how my enjoyment of this debate rose to all new levels, when none other than your good self was suddenly introduced to weigh in with your expert opinion. But I must say I was deeply surprised by the opinion you gave. Stating that you would call them Rice Krispie Cakes was bad enough, but to assert that you had never even heard of them being called Rice Krispie buns? It was almost too much to bear. And then, to my delight and relief, Jenny announced that the result of the poll was in, and that a resounding majority of the voters, well over 70%, agreed with me in calling them Rice Krispie Buns. Phew! I wasn't crazy after all.
Now, the British and the Irish are usually in full agreement on the subject of Tea, Biscuits and Cakes (or Buns, as the case may be). We're both in favour of them. Lots of Them. Lots and lots of them. But as you had never even heard of Rice Krispie Buns being called buns, and as they are buns to the majority of listeners to one of Ireland's most popular radio shows, I can only conclude that here is an issue which divides these two islands more than the Irish Sea divides us, and perhaps even more than the Jacob's Kimberley divides us.
In light of this, I wonder if we on the Emerald Isle deserve our to have our own icon on the NCOTAASD feedback section, as the French, Canadians and Aussies already do? After all we are the only nation to which you have ascribed a national gene allowing enjoyment of a particular biscuit (the aforementioned Kimberley). A little shamrock, perhaps, which would sit so nicely with the other icons, and make my heart swell with pride!
Mrs Sarah Mint-Viscount
|Nicey replies: Well yes I came to much the same conclusions in the news item I posted after the interview. Anyhow you're right the time has come for a proper Ireland icon. I'm normally fairly reticent about dishing out icons based purely on geopolitical boundries but as you all seem to have this weird rice krispie bun thing going on over there in addition to Kimberleys I think you've finally earned it (its a pity you had to mention the others as protocol dictates that they need to go up too (Also the Welsh will be after me again (...oh you left out the Kiwis))).|
Custard Cream Review
|Ah, when I was younger custard was always Bird's. In fact, an offer of 'nanas and custard was usually turned down with a "can I just have the custard?".|
Then we upped and moved to more southern waters, where there was no Bird's (or even custard creams!), and the natives preferred something rather vile called Ultramel. This way too viscous stuff came out of a tetrapak carton and was an unnatural shade of yellow. Strangely enough, I went off eating it altogether. (Although I would still eat far too many custard creams if I could get my hands on them).
My husband and I have now moved again, to another southern clime, where I managed to find some ludicrously priced Bird's powder (and some custard creams!). Since making it for hubby, I've realised that I actually do like the stuff. In fact, I like it even more when I make it myself from eggs, sugar, vanilla, etc. I like it kind of 'tuesdayish' I think. Runny (or Creme Anglais-y if you want to be posh). It just musn't come ready made out of a carton. Eww.
Thanks for the bittersweet reminders of my favourite biccies. Think I need some tea now.
||The two-cup drink/dunk is an amazing thing. I am sat here in Australia in a water shortage situation at the mo and can't help but think that it is too much of a luxury at present to be dunking in a separate cup. I will have to stick to holding a piece of biscuit in my mouth and quickly taking a sip of tea, to achieve the dunked effect without getting that nasty sediment at the bottom of the cup.|
Nicey, I lived for some time in London, and coming back to Australia has reminded me that tea can taste oh so different depending on the local water supply. I remember having lovely cups of tea in Devon and The Peaks, and I always used filtered water in the kettle in London. Where, in the world, is the best 'tea water'?
|Nicey replies: Very good point about the water. Our water at NCOTAASD HQ is very hard being drawn from chalk ground water. It does however produce its own sort of unique tea which without realising over the space of a mere ten to fifteen years one gets quite used to. Having spent three weeks travelling around France making tea in various places, there is still nothing quite like that first cuppa when you get home. Is it the water?
I'm sure many people would be thinking of Yorkshire Tea's two blends for hard and soft water areas which they'll post samples out free to UK residents. Also I'm fairly sure that vats of Manchester water used to shipped out to Indian tea plantations to aid with the proper blending of the tea before shipment.
Wagon Wheel Review
|A few years ago I visited the Opie Museum of Advertising and Packaging at Gloucester (closed now, I understand). In the 50s gallery there was a large collection of biscuits in their packaging, including wagon wheels. I announced in a purposefully loud voice "It's true, they were bigger in those days!", a view readily agreed to by other contemporaries in the gallery. For, yes, the proof is out there. The Opie Collection has an original wagon Wheel, and it is vast.|
|Nicey replies: We have heard anecdotal evidence that the initial 1950's Wagon Wheels were bigger, and so you have lent this considerable credence now. It would be interesting to know if it did have the same diameter as the primal Australian Westons Wagon Wheel that we got hold of a few years back.|
Ginger Nut Review
|Dear Nicey & Wifey,|
I have to admit to having dropped out of the biscuit game for a number of years due mainly to an expanding waistline and the paucy of decent produce now I'm resident in Australia. I do however seem to remember the ginger nut as THE dunking biscuit of all time, in fact it was the only safe way to eat it when I was growing up. We had a family receipe that involved soaking a packet of ginger nuts in an orange juice and alcohol mixture and covering in a kind of thick creamy icing that caused the biscuits to soften and it was served as a dessert. Unfortunately this has long been lost and I'd love to re-acquainted with it if any of your readers are familiar with something similar.
I have to say I really enjoyed your comments on the Abbey Crunch as they were one of my favourites and although we can get imported Hobnobs over here they just not the as good as I remember the Abbey Crunch to be. My all time favourite was the Bourbon.
One very good thing discovered over here is a brew by the name of Dilmah which makes an excellent cuppa. I hope it has made it over to Blighty as it really is top stuff. Perhaps you could add a section of favourite teas to the tea page and include it.
|Nicey replies: Long time NCOTAASD contributor Brian Barrett has long championed that Dilmah tea, which I think is available in the UK too.