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I made a cup of tea today and made a disturbing discovery. Maybe you or someone else could explain it to me.
I took my cup and placed a teabag into the bottom as usual, but instead of adding the water first I added the milk.
This was tricky as I had to pre-judge the ammount of milk nessesary to make the tea in advance, though this was not my problem at all. The problem was that the milk seemed to smother the tea leaves from within the bag and seriously hinder the performance of the teabag when the hot water was added. It was as if the milk had created a protective barrier around the tea leaves, thus retaining the brown goodness and leaving me with a rather weak cup of tea.
Please try this out and tell me how you get on.
|Nicey replies: Richard,
What you have stumbled over is perhaps one the best known ways of making a really dreadful cup of tea. As such I have no intention at all of subjecting myself to it, having previously been on the receiving end of one or two of those. There are some twisted individuals who actually prefer their tea made in this deviant fashion, and we often cite them as examples of how peoples taste and ideas of what makes a good cuppa vary widely, and as examples of people who don't know how to make tea properly.
I often put this method, if it can be called that, down to a move from instant coffee drinking to tea drinking. I also suspect that they were largely living out a solitary existence, certainly as far as tea making goes when they adopted it. Any sane tea drinker would quickly try and show them the error of their ways. You could get away with it for instant coffee but not for tea.
I think you have made an intuitive evaluation of what's going a wrong. Clearly the milk bungs up the tea leaves and tea bag holes, at some level molecular or microscopic. Whether that is due to lipids or proteins or both I'll leave to your imagination.
In your case perhaps it was some primal hunter-gather type mechanism that kicked in to make you try this iffy tea building. No doubt when we wonder who the curious individual was who thought of eating raw oysters, or decided to eat the really badly gone off milk and call it cheese it was somebody much like yourself. Watch yourself with such idle thrill seeking you'll be moving up to auto asphyxiation next.
I just read your bit in the book about tea in SF and fully sympathise. Was wondering if you have tried tea left in a flask with milk and tea bags for many hours (5?). You would imagine it would come out discustingly stewed, wouldn't you. But it comes out tasting like Chai which was quite a shock for me when my brother introduced it to me a month or two ago, because it reminded me of being in india, where the tea is deliciously sweet and tasty. I thought it was the cloves and other jazz they put in that made it so tasty but now i know its just the fact that its been left to stew for so long (maybe the milk sweetens and turns into something like condensed milk).
Anyways, I've laughed a lot in the last 10 mins reading your book in the toilet of my friends about biscuits, especially the bit about Wagon Wheels, which when I was younger always viewed with disdain because of the soggy biscuit and poor quality ingredients, but then later in life wisened up and learnt to enjoy it as a whole!
happy chai/tea/etc drinking
|Nicey replies: I heard that in Indian road side truck stops they rate the tea in kilometers depending on how far you have been and how stewed up the tea is, with 500K tea being the thickest.
Personally I'm not consumed with a burning desire to try either tea Chai / Tea made with condensed milk / tea that has been stewed in any way, but I'll defend your right to do so if it comes down to that. Lets end by thinking of a hypothetical situation in which that might happen.
||I've just discovered your website and am particularly interested in the biscuit info. Do you remember the 'milk and honey' biscuits that used to appear in biscuit selections in the 1950s (or aren't you that old?)? They may have appeared in their own packets too. They were a sandwich biscuit, rather like a custard cream, but oval shaped and with a 'window' in the top layer, which revealed the 'honey' element, which may or may not have consisted of real honey. I'd love to know if they still exist, or when they disappeared.|
I totally agree with the pink wafer being the worst biscuit - I can never understand why anyone, ever, eats a wafer biscuit of any sort. What is the reason for the popularity of Kitkat? It's so disappointing. Give me a Club anytime!
|Nicey replies: Hello Anne,
The Milk and Honey appears in our missing in action section. We think they didn't make it beyond the 1970s. We have heard tale that it is still produced in the Far East by manufacturers who licensed the biscuit in the 1950s, but have yet to substantiate that.
Tunnocks Tea Cake Review
I was quite surprised to read that Mark and Mandy were struggling to identify biscuits with marshmallow as Australia has its own version - the might Arnott's Chocolate Royal. This is a circular plain sweet biscuit, topped by a thin layer of jam, followed by marshmallow and dipped in chocolate. The chocolate can be milk or dark and the marshmallow can be pink. They do tend to be brought out for special occasions only, which is maybe why the name is so fancy. The name is much more sensible than that of "teacake" as while it is a tad pretentious, the item is not creating confusion between biscuits and currant buns.
Having read much about the Tunnock's Teacake, I would like to see a comparative review of this favourite and the Chocolate Royal - a bit like the Tim Tam and Penguin review.
||Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I am reading your book at the moment and enjoying it very much. I have just read the section on keeping biscuits fresh. I have a different way of keeping them fresh. As I take the biscuits I require from a packet I reseal the packet with parcel tape. This is the best way I have found of keeping my biscuits fresh because my husband does not eat many biscuits and so in our household I am really the only biscuit fan. As I like to eat a variety of biscuits I find that having about three packs of biscuits on the go at once is helped by my parcel tape methos of freshness. By pursuing this method I am trying to keep the manufacturers freshness in the biscuits for quite a few days.
|Nicey replies: Angela,
Thank you for that, its always good to hear about people willing to push at the boundaries of biscuit technology. Do you use a fresh piece of tape each time, and do you use one of those tape gun things if you do?
Actually I could see this approach becoming quite addictive, and going around taping up things around the house after one has used them. The cereal boxes, tubs of margarine, doors, pets etc.
Slightly concerned that your husband doesn't eat many biscuits.