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||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
Lent is almost upon us once again and, as with previous years, two of my colleagues have resolved to give up chocolate and cakes for the duration. As you might expect, discussions have turned to the exact classification of certain items. One colleague is claiming that it is ok to eat waffles as they are not cakes. This is a fairly reasonable view except that waffles are in essence a fancy form of pancake which is a cake by name if not necessarily by nature.
The other colleague is claiming that the Cherry Bakewell is permitted as, in her view, it is a pie, not a cake.
I feel that this is a gross abuse of the classification system and the Cherry Bakewell is a cake for three obvious reasons:
Firstly, they can be found in the cake section in the supermarket. Secondly, the Cherry Bakewell is a tart, not a pie and finally, the more popular ones are made by Mr. Kipling who is not known for making exceedingly good pies!
Can we have your expert opinion on this please so that the matter can be put to rest before the start of lent.
|Nicey replies: Keith,
It really seems a bit self defeating giving things up for lent if you are aiming to simply to have an extended excuse to gorge your face on Mr Kipling Bakewell tarts. If you can't persude the bloke at the next desk that you are eating six packs of tarts to achieve some sort of spiritual renewal then frankly what is the point. What ever peoples views on religion, it would take a fairly dim God to be fooled by such shenanigans.
And yes of course Bakewell Tarts are cakes, as you so ably point out.
Real custard is brilliant and much better than the ready made rubbish. In fact, Nigella's new book contains several recipes featuring custard powder.
We've just returned from holiday in Norway where custard seems to play a huge part in daily life, most notably in the Norwegian School Bun - a bun with custard in a sort of well in the middle, with icing and dessicated coconut on the top. A Norwegian friend tells me that this is the only cake/bun children are allowed to take to school, to make sure no one feels better or worse than anyone else due to bun inequalities. Typical Scandinavians.
Regards as always
|Nicey replies: You see I was interviewed once by a lady from Norway and she didn't mention this at all. It's funny how people take such things for granted such as standardised educational custard buns, where as clearly they are a thing of wonder. Also it does beg the question as to what would happen to those non conformists who maybe fancied a squirt of jam in their bun or maybe something with a few currants in too.|
||Good morning Nicey and Wifey and YMS|
It's not just red telephone boxes and real bottles of milk that are disappearing. I feel like I'm the only person who still does the old traditional things such as knitting, making my own Christmas cakes, puddings, mincemeat and mince pies, and making my own marmalade - which is what I've spent this morning doing. There's nothing more comforting on a cold winter's morning than filling the kitchen with citrus steam, and the satisfaction when the golden liquid is decanted into jars....and no, I'm not an Old Person, I'm actually well under 50. Am I alone or is there anyone else out there who does these things? Or am I just a sad old woman (apparently I am, according to my two late teenage offspring).
Yours stickily (from the marmalade!)
|Nicey replies: Alison,
An extremely hearty New Year Hoorah for you and your Marmalade construction. One of our younger members of staff loves Marmalade and strangely enough we live very near to a marmalade factory. In fact an old next door neighbour of ours worked there and used to bung us the odd jar now and again, which in a circular way accounts for the former.
As for home made Christmas cake, Wifey built her first one this year, using her mothers recipe. For good measure she made her write it down in long hand rejecting the perfectly good photocopy. This was part of a larger set of aims here at NCOTAASD HQ to bake more cakes.
After 2005 being year of Jam at NCOTAASD I am seriously considering 2006 as being NCOTAASD Year of Custard as there seems to be an alarming decline in proper custard.
The teenage offspring will change their tune in a few years time once you kick them out, and they've had a few years living on beans on toast and takeaways.
I've been a regular visitor to your site since before you became famous (I googled the word "digestive" during a quiet period at work and up came nicecupoftea... etc) but this is the first time I've been tempted to put finger to keyboard. To get to the point, I feel I must point out that your north/south bun argument doesn't appear to include people from anywhere truly northern and seems to stop at the Humber. As a good Durham lad (and let's face it, I'm a southern softie compared to people from north of the Tyne) I have known all my life that a bun is a plain bread, er, bun - what you southern types might describe as a "bread roll". We do of course have currant buns and iced buns but they are always described as such to stop any confusion.
Just to throw something else into the bun mix so to speak, we proper northerners also have the "stottie cake" which is actually made from bread. Traditionally it was made with the left over dough from making normal bread and was just stuck in the bottom of the oven to bake. This resulted in a flat, round, stodgy, and very tasty loaf which is perfect for putting roast beef in and having with your flask of tea while hiking along Hadrian's Wall.
Unfortunately in recent years the stottie's reputation has been dented by both southerners and large bakery chains who don't understand the bread's heritage and there are many light, fluffy, tasteless "buns" masquerading as stotties even in the heart of Newcastle. I've also heard a lot of people from Manchester saying that stotties are just the same as barm cakes and nothing to get excited about. Well, I'm afraid my north-western friends, that this is because you have eaten one of these fake, bastardised stotties.
Anyway, rant over. Have a good New Year and long may you keep us all up to date on advances in biscuit knowledge.
|Nicey replies: Yes probably best that you got that off your chest so you can face 2006 with a clear head.
||Growing up in Kent, 'bun' was always ambiguous - currant bun (bought from Fine Fare) or iced bun in a paper case (home made).|
Later on, in Leicester, a simple round white bread roll was a barm (not a barm cake as they say further north).
Further north still, the other half's Bradford roots lead her to call a mug a 'pot', so a pot of tea from her could be anything (and frequently is, as she doesn't understand tea)
Mind you, Europeanisation has led to our local Sainsbury's stocking Danish pastries made in Belgium and Belgian Buns made in the UK. Only needs Chelsea buns or Bakewell pudding made in Denmark to complete the circle. Think of the miles of truck movements they could save.
Language is a slippery thing.