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||Esteemed Mr Nicey:|
Yesterday I had a nice cup of coffee at a small place called The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ®. First of all, though, I had to explain to the nice young lady what "black coffee" is.
It was served in a not-nice styrofoam sort of cup thingy, on which was printed a message about how one could recycle the cardboard thingy which surrounded the cup thingy, to protect one's hands from the heat. And a lot of information about how they brought the finest coffee and tea to the USA (a foreign country on the other side of the Pacific Ocean) in 1963.
I'm not interested in how they brought the finest tea and coffee to the USA in 1963, and I'd rather drink my coffee (and tea) from a proper cup and saucer or mug. You know, the ceramic containers we use in civilized countries.
Nicely printed leaflets told me about buying coffee and tea in pounds, and ounces, and measuring it in fluid ounces, too. Alongside that, we have another nice American chain offering "footlong" and six inch long food. In this country, we haven't used pounds, ounces, fluid ounces, feet or inches since last century.
It seems that they also rush their fresh roasted coffee to their stores in a fleet of trucks. As the "store" I visited is in Australia, I wonder what sort of trucks can navigate the Pacific Ocean on a daily basis?
Perhaps these people think Australia is a colony of the USA? Do you have the same problem in Britain?
I remain, dear Sir, ever your 'umble
|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.
||Hi again Nicey etc.,|
Just put another cuppa on and saw the tea money. By gran (the pink wafer one) from Falkland in Fife, Scotland, has always told us about the money in tea. She'll say 'oooohhhh thanks Tamara, you've stirred me up some money" (remember to do this with an east coast scottish accent with 30 years of Australian thrown in...)
|Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
||Dear Nicey and Wifey.|
We’re in serious trouble. I’m working in Jamaica for six months, from Australia, and loose leaf standard issue tea can’t be bought for love nor money. There’s tea bags, good old Tetley’s (normal and British Blend), which is a relief, and we took the precaution of bringing a stock of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea bags, imagining these would tide us over till we got a packet of good small tipped leaf. Alas, there’s plenty of other kinds of leaf here, but NO TEA. Or not so as we’ve found, but we’ve scoured the malls and supermarkets of Kingston to no avail. Can any kind Jamaican soul out there please advise??
I must say though that a nice cup of Blue Mountain coffee and a slice of rum cake goes down very nicely at teatime as a substitute.
Looking forward to your book,
Yours, Julie Marlow and Mal Bryning
Frustrated tea drinkers of Jamaica
Arnott's Spicy Fruit Roll Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I've just been introduced to your site by a former Scottish flatmate of mine here in Australia... We had a mutual love for a nice cup of tea and a sit down... The perfect forum for a good old chat...
I wanted to share a little discovery my husband and I made while on honeymoon last year... While sitting in the foyer of our hotel, we supped a beautiful tea called "Irish Malt", a black Assam tea with a hint of whiskey and caramel... After a letter, a couple of emails and a few phonecalls we managed to discover that it was made by Ronnefeldts... We've since been able to purchase some through an Australian importer and our verdict remains the same... Delicious!
I noticed you have received quite a few comments from Australia where there are many interesting biscuit varieties that I have yet to see on foreign shores... I love Arnott's Spicy Fruit Rolls and Kingstons...
I agree with those of your readers who say they don't understand the interest in Irish Kimberley biscuits... My family and friends always insisted on bringing me packets while I was living in Gibraltar, obviously thinking I was missing the "delicacy"... But to tell you the truth, they really aren't my 'cup of tea'... Although I do have a liking for Mikado's (Arnott's Iced VoVo's are NOT the same!)... My shopping list for family and friends visiting was a large packet of Lyons Gold Label tea - now that was worth waiting for... A nice strong brew after a long day at the office... Perfection!
Keep up the good work
Rachel Lehmann (Irish Aussie)
|Nicey replies: Yes Arnott's Kingstons are infact made under licence using South African manufacturer Baker's recipe for Romany Creams. Perhaps one of the UK manufacturers should have a go at some of these too, especially given that Gypsy creams (which aren't the same really) seem to have disappeared.|
||The item Karl 'Two Lunches' Hughes describes is clearly what is known in Australia as a 'slice'. I'd wondered about the lack of representation of slice on this site before, and come to the conclusion that it must exist only in Australia - though the Kiwi 'tray bake' sounds like the same thing. |
Slice was very popular when I was growing up (the 70s). It can be made from a selection of diverse ingredients mixed and pressed into a tray (and often iced), or from a biscuit recipe cooked in a tray (and often subsequently iced). Sometimed slices are fancy three-layer creations, eg caramel slice (shortbread base, a thick layer of caramel, layer of actual chocolate on top) or peppermint slice (shortbread or chocolate biscuit base, peppermint filling, chocolate layer), or raspberry coconut slice (very crumbly delicious base, raspberry jam, sticky coconut topping). And there are very delicious plainer versions like chocolate slice (chocolate biscuit base, chocolate icing, coconut sprinkled on top) and ginger slice (ginger shortbready biscuit base, plus ginger icing that you cook in a saucepan and which has the unusual quality of making your mouth feel cool when you eat it).
Slice is always made in a shallow, often rectangular tray (a slice tray). You don't see it as often as you used to, though you can often still buy it in cafes and old-fashioned cake shops.
Needless to say, a good accompaniment to tea, though not ideal for dunking.
|Nicey replies: I was going to say 'slice' too but then I didn't. I feel this information is probably of immense importance in helping finally working out phylogeny of such items as flapjack. I'm actually quite excited.|