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Cheryll Brown
FruitThe French

Abricot Barquettes Review

Brian Barratt
The FrenchCork Hat - Australia
Nicey replies: A Merry Christmas to you Mr Barratt,

Yes we too are treated to much the same sort of level of localisation. I think its terrific that the Americans still use feet and inches and pounds and pints etc. Imagine just how far the western world could have advanced if American scientists were allowed to work out their sums using nice sensible metric units which all behave themselves well in sums. Instead they are trying to work out how to send spaceships to Mars using a system of units based on the distance between Henry I's nose and his thumb. You have to admire them for that as it makes all their sums much more difficult and fiendishly complex. Perhaps the French could lend them their reference meter, a platinum/iridium bar exactly 1 meter long, and the Americans could try it out for a few days and see if they liked it. Actually maybe it's best if we got it off the French first and then lent it to the Americans. We could tell them that whilst it wasn't strictly ours we are allowed to have it at weekends, on account of inventing the word 'weekend'. Of course the French have borrowed that word off of us for years with out so much as a thank you. Still c'est la vie.

Apparently when the metric unit of length was described as the number of wavelengths of light from a coherent source the American's were delighted as now they could properly measure how long an inch really was. To be fair the Americans resolved to adopting the metric system in 1972 at some point in the future when they get round to it.

When visiting San Francisco a few years ago I thought it was odd how people were going out to buy coffee and then wandering around the streets with it in paper cups. What sort of place was it where people seemed unable to make coffee in their own home, and having bought it why wander around instead of drinking it? Compare this to France where in a farmhouse in deepest Perigord I was treated to black coffee made using a saucepan and a filter pot by a lovely old French lady Mdm Mouliner, and slices of homemade Walnut Gâteaux. The walnuts were from her own tree and the eggs from her chickens. A single small cup of the coffee provided about three days worth of caffeine. I maybe trying to make a point here, but given the late hour I'm not sure what it is.

Mary Gillender
The FrenchFig rolls
Nicey replies: Mary,

A ships biscuit is in fact the ancestral biscuit from which all others sprang and even gave rise to the very word 'biscuit'. As we mention from time to time biscuit comes from two french words 'bis' for twice 'cuit' for cooked. They were so named because biscuit were baked twice a first quick bake to cook then biscuit then a long slow drying bake to preserve it for use as ships rations. Made from simply flour, salt and water, they are not something you want to dunk into your cuppa. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a ships biscuit earlier in the year although I had to give it back to its owner. It really wasn't very appetising and looked uncannily like one of those fake doggy turd things. The biscuits are as hard and rock, and it was not uncommon for sailors to break their teeth on them.

Sarah Williamson
The FrenchTea
Nicey replies: Yes we would always advise travelers to take appropriate precautions when traveling abroad and bring a supply of their own tea bags.

Steve Rapaport
The FrenchTeaCanada