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You may not remember but I’m the lady who (I think) nearly has your sister’s name and e-mailed you a while ago about interactive biscuit ‘recommends’ features. I’m getting married soon so thought I’d best e-mail you while I’ve still got my name!
I have had a very hard week at work so thought I deserved to spend a few minutes with a nice cup of tea, reading through past comments on your lovely cosy pages, when I came across a chap who had problems with his colleagues making his tea all wrong, the fools. I believe that I have conquered this difficulty in my workplace, and would like to share my tips with the great tea-drinking public.
I achieved this amazing feat by comprehensively training a few key members of staff in the precise way I like my cup of tea, it took a few weeks but I now enjoy lovely cups of tea without leaving my desk (except when one particular lady makes it, I have decided she is untrainable). First of all I started coming with people when they volunteered to make the tea ‘to help carry the cups back’, whilst we were in the kitchen I would burble on about tea and how too strong tea is very bad for you and too weak tea is pointless, peering over their shoulder the whole time and saying ‘ooh just another squeeze on my teabag please’ and ‘maybe just a touch more milk’.
I work with children, and a very important part of my job is getting the little so-and-so’s to learn how to recognise when they have done the right thing, I applied a similar principle by congratulating people wholeheartedly when they got my tea right, and politely ignoring them when my tea was wrong. I also waxed lyrical about the best cup of tea I ever had – which was approximately the colour of a golden hamster, I looked up golden hamsters on google images in order to demonstrate the colour to them – and promised them that I would tell the first person to make my tea perfectly the secrets of the Cadburys finger straws (as per the tim-tam procedure basically). It worked! Hurrah hurrah! Everyone in my office now thinks I am slightly batty, but then perhaps I am, and anyway who cares what people think as long as you get a lovely cup of tea. Think of it as supernanny for tea heathens.
Hope this information can be of some help to someone,
PS – I don’t know how you feel about these new fangled coffee emporiums that have sprung up everywhere, I know for a fact they don’t understand tea, but I was in one at lunchtime and I had the most perfect mince pie! What a surprise and a joy, however I now feel slightly sick.
|Nicey replies: Julia,
That's funny my sister almost had your name after she re-married. Your names are a bit like some grand celestial alignment that is drawing to an end. Mind you that's as nothing to Wifey's name which changed into my mother's when we married. If that does reveal anything about me, it should be that I was prepared to pursue our blossoming relationship in spite of that potential scenario.
Anyhow well done on the people training, its much more subtle than my technique of just being a bit abrupt and rude to them. It must have required great self discipline on your part. I also heartily approve of a tea colour chart based on rodents. I would probably need to refer to the colour of various school desk tops in my life in-order to gauge tea strength, which is obviously not as immediately handy as a metric built around small furry pets.
Hope you have recovered from your mince pie and that your wedding day isn't clouded by thoughts of your name now not being as similar as it once was to some random blokes sister off the internet.
Yorkshire Tea Review
The first thing I thought of when I saw the picture of the Yorkshire Tea biscuit was the one thing you didn't mention in your review: its perfect dunking shape. Indeed, if you like really soggy biscuits, you could even balance it on the top of your (narrow) mug for a few seconds, with the descender, labelled 'TEA', pointing like a signpost to the said liquid (or, hopefully, dangling in it).
Did you not try this?
|Nicey replies: Yes you're not the only one to take me to task on this. It's Wifey who usually does the dunking at NCOTAASD HQ and given that there was only 12 in the pack I don't think I sent enough her way to make feel like a casual dunk.
||I am writing to tell you about a most distressing tea related event that occurred when we were in the united states. We were in a large hotel in Las Vegas, purely for tax reasons I would like to say, and wanted to make a nice cup of tea. Having lived in the US previously we were well aware of the terrible trouble you have getting decent tea. We had taken our own Dilmah tea all the way from New Zealand. We even had our small teapot, which had been carefully wrapped in an old sweater. When we arrived we asked for a kettle. We could have been speaking a foreign language. We could not get the concierge to understand that we wanted boiling water. The hotel suggested we use the coffee pot, despite our insistence that it is not really possible to make a good cup of tea with a coffee maker. Finally we marched down to the front desk and tried to explain that we wanted boiling water. The hotel suggested a "hot pot" which was a device that heated the water to about 200 degrees, but did not boil the water. This was a slight improvement over the coffee maker but as any real tea drinker knows you must have boiling water to make real tea. On top of that they insisted on charging us $20 a day for the "hot-pot". Alas we never did get a decent cup of tea in Las Vegas. For all you travellers, you know that the USA is uncivilised, but it now seems that you need to bring tea, teapot, and a kettle. Oh and you need to bring your own milk if you do not want to drink tea with dairy creamer. Finally remember you cannot move items in the fridge in your room or you will be charged for them even if you don't drink them.|
Lucky tea drinking.
Jeremy and Libby
Yorkshire Tea Review
|Hello Nicey, |
Just come across your website. It is currently getting big props on my favourite music forum.
Any way, despite a fantastic mission statement, I feel the need to comment on your Biscuit of the Week feature. You state that the Yorkshire Tea Biscuit is the only biscuit that Taylors produce. This isn't strictly true, as any true Yorkshire Tea aficionado will know, Taylors are part of Betty's & Taylors of Harrogate. Not only a world famous independent tea room chain, but also a fantastic bakery.
Amongst a wealth of wonderful cakes, biscuits and savouries, they do a wonderful variation on scones, which they call Fat Rascalls. Perfect on a winter afternoon with plenty butter and jam, and a nice pot Betty's Blend Loose leaf.
Apart from that, keep up the good work!
Love and good tea,
|Nicey replies: Yes I should have been a little clearer. I meant the only one for retail distribution, such as your local supermarket. I would very much hope to see a fine selection of baked goodies in their own tea rooms - hence all those links I popped in to their various enterprises.|
|Hello again, Nicey|
Well....what a turnup for the books! Further to my recent communication regarding the forthcoming demise of the Lincoln, I spotted a pack...in, of all places, Sainsburys in Godalming! There it was, sat all alone in about half a foot of shelf space...so I grabbed it! When I asked Customer Services about their stocks, they did seem to think that they may be getting more in but they couldn't guarantee anything.
A close examination of the pack revealed a BBE date of April 07, so it would appear that these biscuits have a potential shelf life of around 4 months. My plan then, is to buy up some reserves as and when I can and try to preserve them in edible condition for as long as possible. Your good self being, I presume, an expert on such matters - what advice can you give me for storage of biscuits in the best possible condition? My thoughts are an airtight biscuit tin with a sack of silica gel (several of which I shall, no doubt, find amongst electronic products under the Christmas tree this year!).
I remember my Granny, sadly departed from this life now, having a rather nice copper-coloured biscuit tin with a silica gel insert in the lid...every few weeks this would be popped in the oven to refresh it. This kept her biscuits in fine fettle and there was always something very special about being allowed 'something from the tin, Pet'. As the lid popped off the tin, the little puff of 'biscuity aroma' was a joy to inhale. My brother and I often fought over who would get first whiff. What with this and her saving up all the cards from the PG Tips (we only visited a couple of times a year due to distance), or Monkey Tea as it was known, stays with Granny were something special.
To this day, the smell of a well loved and regularly used biscuit tin still evokes happy childhood memories of Granny's kitchen...memories enhanced by closing my eyes and indulging in a little dunking session with a good cuppa and of course, a Lincoln!
Cheers Nicey, and my best regards to you and Wifey this Yuletide season.
|Nicey replies: Hello again Mike,
Yes its quite common to find 4-5 month BBE dates on biscuits when one actually has cause to take notice. It is in the nature of NCOTAASD's mission to have to sample biscuits which are very close to or have actually passed their BBE date. The simple truth is the fresher they are the better, and particularly for shortcake biscuits like the Lincoln which seem to hold up the least well compared such things as Garibaldis and Gingernuts.
I think you are probably doing about all you can possibly do. Excluding moisture, light and extremes of heat are about the best one could hope for. Maybe a protective atmosphere of pure nitrogen gas (as in crisp packets) if you have any compressed nitrogen and hermetically sealing vessels with valves to hand. Even with all of this the biscuits will still go off caused by inevitable and irreversible chemical changes. Indeed one of the arguments that kept biscuit manufacturers using hydrogenated fats for so long was that they prolonged the shelf life of the product.
These modern twilight Lincolns will have none of that. Devoid of hydrogenated fat, the last of a great and majestic dynasty of patterned shortcake biscuits. Like the giant Sauropods at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 Million years ago, going about their business on the shelves of Sainsbury's unaware that they are about to be wiped out by the dispassionate comet of de-listing.
Perhaps they'll continue to find a place in that great seasonal biscuit assortment the Family Circle selection tin, (only its a plastic box nowadays) along side the Gypsy Cream