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|Nicholas 'Kif' Stevenson
I just bought Blackcurrant Jaffa Cakes and Lemon&Lime Jaffa Cakes, like 35 minutes ago.
(I also bought Milk Chocolate Orange Digestives, and untouched Hob Nob originals... no chocolatey monkey business, this however is informational, and in no way intended to deflect the Jaffa based issues.)
While the surprise was that the L&L Jaffa's beat the Blackcurrant ones solidly into the ground, I cannot spend the time to properly address this paradox because I was so very concerned at the packaging of these little gems.
Now I can't speak of Jaffa Original, because I didn't buy those, but these two pretentious packets had an "Open This End" instruction at one end. Remember, we are talking about a cardboard box that holds biscuits. Why on Earth do I have to open it at a particular end?!
I followed the instructions, to find myself staring at the underside of a Jaffa Cake, safely wrapped in a polythene inner seal. On removing this pack, I noticed that the Jaffa I saw first was oriented differently to it's 11 sisters. I put this down to randomness until I then opened the other pack a clear two minutes later. This too had a single, presumably misbehaved, Jaffa facing the opposite direction to all the others.
2 out of 2 Jaffa packets examined had exhibited this exact same phenomena, that's 100% to the statisticians out there. Which unequivocally proves that this arrangement is intentional.
Thus begging the question:-
Just when I thought I had reached peak levels of perplexion, I noticed a small warning on the box:-
"Warning: Inserts may form small parts."
Ok, I'm out. I have absolutely no clue what this means. I realise it is a warning, because it identifies itself with the word "warning" but as to the rest.... Now I am a bit worried, because as far as Jaffa's go, there is a warning that I do not understand, what is dangerous about these Jaffas? What is an insert? What will the small parts do in the event that the inserts choose to form them? How will I know when this has occurred?
I'm hoping that a leading authority such as yourselves can clear up these two rather pressing matters with haste, as I think the world needs an answer before we can move forward and beyond it.
Nicholas "Kif" Stevenson
|Nicey replies: Thank you for raising these points.
I thought the reversed Jaffa Cake was the equivelent of the brace position you're told to adopt if you are in an aeroplane thats about to crash. The heroic last jaffa cake presents its cushioned underside to the outside world protecting its fragile chocolate shell. Of course this raises more questions than it answers, like 'How do they turn the last one over?' is it a special machine, or teams of little old ladies with gloves on? Is the last one a bit special, requiring grooming from before its a completed Jaffa cake, or is it selected at random, or is it actually every twelfth Jaffa Cake made.
There are any inserts on a standard Jaffa Cake box so I'll be confused as well. If they are talking about plastic tray inserts then you really need a pair of scissors to reduce them to small bits as they are a tough as old boots
Romany Creams Review
|Bad news about gypsy creams I'm afraid. I wrote to McVitie's and apparently they are no longer manufactured due to a 'slower selling rate' which I find hard to believe!|
|Nicey replies: Oh dear, that's rubbish news isn't it. It makes you wonder dosn't it about exactly what is going on. We know that there is a demand for these biscuits and yet they failed to turn up in a single supermarket chain to our knowledge. Obviously that makes it tricky for the public to buy them leading to a 'slower selling rate'. Who is to blame? The sales force at McVities or the buyers for all the different supermarket chains.
Please mark yourself down a point all concerned.
I think that your interest in custard is well timed. On a recent circuit of my local Tesco store, I found many new ready-made custards which I had not noticed before. These were positioned near stocks of desert which might benifit from a custard accompanyment. It seems someone has decided that custard is "in".
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the yellow stuff. Harrowing experiences at school, involving yucky grey tasteless gloop with a skin like old roofing felt left me deeply suspicious of anything I was offered to pour over a desert when eating out. To this day I cannot stand the thought of cold custard.
For me, my mums custard (made with Birds powder) is the standard by which all others are judged.
There are certain deserts which seem to demand custard; the most obvious being rhubarb crumble.
In recent years squirty cream has largely replaced custard in our household as it is more popular with the kids.
Zoe Healys email reminded me of a story my mum told about her childhood in Edinburgh. The strong Calvinist ethos in one area of the city had lead to a local council ban on the sale of ice cream on Sundays.
However, trade continued as normal except on Sunday you had to buy "frozen custard"!
||Really pleased to see you giving time to the Great British institution that is custard. Where would we be if there was no custard to top of our crumble - choking on a bit of wheatgerm probably. I can't imagine an apple pie (with or without the little pastry leaves) without it, and as for a good steamed pudding with Golden Syrup, Pah! Without custard we Brits would be nothing more than savages.|
And how to make it? Well I'm not a great chef, but I prefer the traditional method of using Birds custard in the cardboard tin thing - I don't hold with this modern paper sachet stuff or, worse still, the pre-made variety. I cook it carefully on the stove, stirring at all times, often listening to Nimrod by Elgar. (Important not to try using the wooden spoon as a baton at the more uplifting moments.) My fiancee prefers using the Microwave, and this is the only cause of strife between us, however, it does mean that you can locate the glowing irradiated abomination easily during candlelit suppers...
My everlasting memory from school however was that as the week progressed, custard got thinner. On Monday, it was almost cut from a slab and placed, slice by slice onto something substantial enough to support its weight, such as a good solid apple and rhubarb pie. By Friday, it was thin and watery; more suitable for mixing with the glucous mass that was school stewed fruit. My personal favourite was Wednesday custard, thick enough to cover a sponge pudding with pride, and fluid enough to flow all the way around the edges. Monday custard is prety good in a trifle though.
I'd be interested to know what other custard lovers prefer, the Monday, Wednesday, or Friday variety. Perhaps the more cosmopolitan readers might even like the Tuesday or Thursday types.
P.S. I've just come back from Greece. No custard there, so hardly worth bothering with puddings!
Biscuit memorabilia? This poses many questions, indeed the mind boggles as to what Alison Russell might have in her collection. Apart from some very nice tins and packaging, what could there be apart from the product itself?
Unless "memorabilia" is a euphamism for biscuit related memories, fondly stored in the deeper recesses of one's mind. As I'm sure I've told you, having worked as a sales rep for McVities in the late sixties (my first job, I'm not that ancient) I do have one or two. And had I had the foresight to realise that one day, physical items would become de rigeur to collect, I could have harboured quite a collection of artefacts, which no doubt would now fetch a fortune on E-bay.
The first item that comes to mind is the bowler hat I was supposed to wear. "Sets a McVities man apart from the rest" I was told (yeah, I know what you're thinking). Then the numerous product promotional offer gifts, where biscuit munchers were invited to enclose tokens from the packets and get a cheap bone china tea service, coffee pot, instamatic camera, etc. I also had a nice Digestive tea caddy once, with oriental decoration - I wonder what happened to it. Plus some interesting display material, enough to account for a large chunk of rain forest. Add to that a Mk 1 Ford Escort with 33,000 miles on the clock after nine months (apparently this was my fault, although I was relief salesman on an area stretching from Luton to the Humber) and you have the makings of a small museum.
I could have used my instamatic to take photos of all the village shops I visited which are no longer there, together with multiples with long forgotten names - International Stores, Liptons, Home and Colonial, Maypole, Key Markets, Cunsumers Tea Co - not to mention the Co-op, which was king. These of course, were gentler days, when you could take your girlfriend to the pictures, have a couple of pints afterwards and fish and chips, and still have change from a shilling (well, a pound note.)
I was sent up to Lincoln a few times, but I don't remember Lincolns selling any better there than anywhere else. There were some local preferences though. Rich Marie sold very well in Bedford because of the Italian community, and Digestives and Chocolate Homewheat in Cambridge because of the undergraduates. Thin Arrowroots sold well in Grimsby, but I never found out why. Perhaps it had something to do with fish.
Does anyone else have memories like mine? Or should I send for the men in white coats?
|Nicey replies: I too had slight boggling, which was a cunning sub-text to my suggestion that she sent a picture of her collection to us.
My Dad always maintained that he could go for a good Friday night out on 50p circa 1970.