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Your glorious website appears to be letting us all down with some incredibly offbeat observations on shortbread. Or rather, on the nature of the United Kingdom in which we all live - which, being united, includes England AND Scotland And Wales And Northern Ireland. So why shouldn't a Scottish biscuit represent the United Kingdom? Why should it automatically be an English one? Presumably the Irish get their own sweet because Eire is actually a separate member of the EU. But Scotland is part of the UK, and therefore to put in your poll "I thought it was Scottish" in response to the question "Is shortbread representative of UK baking" is pretty ridiculous - to be Scottish is to be representative of the UK! When you talk about a Victoria sponge you're talking about the representative cake of ENGLAND, rather than the UK.
Sorry, i seem to be going round in circles with my anger but it gets so annoying to have the English continually talk about England when actually they mean Great Britain etc. You don't expect to see it on a biscuit level as well. Biscuits should rise above these things. As should your wonderful website.
Thanks for listening to the rant
|Nicey replies: You see I knew I was going to get one of these. Yoda would have much to say about this, fallen in a the trap of you own anger have you, I expect.
I am English but being raised in Wales and and having an Irish wife I like to think we have a broader outlook, so I think its your own view that's colouring what I said. Which was Shortbread is very Scottish. Of course that's part of the UK, but its very regional, just as Welsh Cakes are very Welsh, and Parkin is very Northern English. I thought a Victoria Sandwich was more representative of the whole UK.
I heard about your website on the Ray D'Arcy Show on Ireland's Today FM and fell in love with it. In particular the recent Jaffa Cake review, it helped me settle a debate with my French housemate that McVities are in fact the original, although we're still debating if they're the best!! We're awaiting a delivery of PIMs so we can do a taste test!
Just one thing bothered me recently, in Paul Master's email about the European sweet chart he eluded that Ireland is part of Great Britain, which clearly it isn't!! I'm sorry to be pedantic, but as an Irish person living in the UK, I really feel strongly about my national identity and can't believe the number of people over here who seem to still consider Ireland the same as the UK!
Really do love the website though!!
|Nicey replies: As you may know Wifey is Irish so we have the whole geo/political map thing under control. Its all quite simple really.
The British Isles are a bunch of islands on Europe's western Atlantic coast. The two biggest are Great Britain and Ireland, but there are lots more including the Isle of Man, The Channel Islands, the Shetlands, Orkneys and Western Isles. Great Britain is divided into three countries England, Wales and Scotland. Ireland has two The Republic of Ireland (Eire) and Northern Ireland which is a part of the United Kingdom along with England, Wales and Scotland.
So to recap Great Britain is the big island. The UK is the political union of four countries.
I'm not sure that Paul actually implied that Ireland is part of Great Britain, but he did say Ireland which as I have explained encompasses two separate European member states as the cake obsessed Austrians should be aware.
Good grief. I need a cuppa after that.
I actually bothered to look at the European sweet chart and I noticed there are also scones on there. I would assume that it is the scone that represents England and not the shortbread. Whether scones can be counted as sweet I am not sure as it is the topping that is sweet and not the scone itself.
Anyway the shortbread must represent Scotland (even though it doesn't look like any shortbread I have ever eaten so I do fear it is a foreign kind). So that leaves the waffles to represent Ireland or Wales, I am not sure which. With one country of Great Britain missing out.
It is clear these EU technocrats know nothing of sweet things and there importance in the fabric of everyday life. I will write to my local European Member of Parliament (as soon as I find out who he is) and tell them to employ you as their biscuit adviser.
And I got through all that without making a silly joke about the Wienerbrod.
|Nicey replies: The Scones are for Eire, as they are a type of Soda Bread made traditionally with sour buttermilk that's a good call on Irish cuisine. Mind you they could have put a few sultanas in them.
The Shortbread is for the UK but is more evocative of Scotland to us. Maybe visitors to the UK don't really take in the Scottish regional tartan package thing, and just think (London | Stratford Upon Avon | Cambridge/Oxford | Scotland (I think that covers it)) = Shortbread Fingers with your coffee, regardless of the fact they were exported over a national boundary. I think they should have had a nice big slice of Victoria Sponge filled with fresh cream and strawberry jam for us.
Marvelous job on the book, I chortle through my tea breaks at work with your lovely book in my hands (can make dunking a bit tricky, mind you).
It might interest you to know that where I work is a milkshake bar called ShakeAway (please do log on at www.shakeaway.com theres a picture of me "Scarlett of the Brighton shakette clan" and a rather fun game involving a space hopper and seagulls, anyway I digress...)
At ShakeAway we make milkshakes out of just about everything you can imagine, including some old favorites of yours, the jaffa cake, digestives, hob nobs, bourbon creams, jammie wagon wheels, bakewell tart, custard creams and jammie dodgers to name but a few. There is a full list of ingredients on site for you to marvel at, 150 in all, and still the list grows. We have recently added sugar puffs, crunchie nut cornflakes, caramel shortbread and double decker.
It may be considered as biscuit dunking herecy, but I'm going to say it anyway; Since working at ShakeAway I have discovered that those little black circular American Oreo Cookies make for very good dunking, apart from leaving little black specks in your tea. They are similar to bourbons in their taste, but the white cream in the middle adds something a little extra special.
|Nicey replies: I think I would need to see this all first hand in order to be convinced, although with your growing empire it appears that people like liquidised biscuits. You certainly have a lot of useful flavours in there including Custard, and Custard Creams covering all possible bases. Horrah! for all your mad milkshakes.
Do you serve tea?
Last night I went to see a friend play in Battle of the Bands. Being on a tight schedule to see the gig, I had little time for cooking, so instead settled for a cup of tea & a cookie or 2....or 3.
The mug I used is almost 20 years old & close to my heart, it is an original Farside mug depicting 2 reindeer standing up, one with a bullseye on his chest. The comedy tag is "Bu mmer of a birthmark Hal" I digress...
My cookie of choice was of the Lyons make, a fine disc of wheat & a championship dunk contender if ever I saw one. I do like these biscuits & honestly think it could easily destroy a Hobnob when soaking in tea, based on it's weight to ratio. I do so like them so much, I finished a whole packet with one cup of cha cha cha. Now full, I went happily to the gig.
5 bands appeared, 1 victorious. My friends band won, my support was appreciated, the night was a hoot. They were judged by George Michaels base player, a producer for Virgin Radio & some woman who I cannot recall & now means nothing to me. I went home.
When I arrived home at around 11:50 pm, I made myself a cup of tea, recalling the nights events. My thought was distracted however, I found my eyes moving by there own accord to the sight of the other packet of Lyons cookies lying suggestively on the kitchen top. I was in trouble. No sooner had my eyes betrayed me, all the cookies had disappeared into my belly along with a fine mug of tea.
By my estimate, within a 5 hour period yesterday, I downed over forty cookies. The actual total eating time I have estimated at a true 12 minutes.
I need to know-
1. Is this a record?
2. Why are these not reviewed on your far superior world dominating website?
3. Am I a pig?
Thankyou for your time. Tonight I will be eating dust to counteract my calorific intake. Also the band is called "The Jan Watkins band", they travel to Londons big smoke soon for the final, then on the highway to stardom.
|Nicey replies: 1) Undoubtedly, although it might not be a world record or a UK record, but if we narrow it down to say your street or house or kitchen I would be pretty confident of it being one.
2) I don't know.
3) Look deep within yourself to find the answer to that question.