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||I am back in Argentina from Antarctica. We were not allowed to take food ashore to protect the environment but there were plenty of penguins there anyhow. I was pleased to see that the ship stocked a full range of UK biscuits as I gambled in not taking any biscuits as I was struggling with my baggage allowance - 20kg of biscuits goes not go that far. What was noticeable was that there were 2 different tins depending of the sea conditions. A square red tin would be used to house the classic selection of custard creams, bourbons, chocolate digestives etc. This appeared in rough seas only and was complimented by an ample supply of tea. In contrast there was a circular Wallace and Gromit biscuit tin with a plainer selection for the calmer seas. This was in complete contrast to what I had anticipated as I thought that the plainer biscuits would be used in rough seas and the more lavish selection in the calmer conditions. You don´t want to throw up your best biscuits do you? The Russians manning the ship appeared to be using something that resembled ginger biscuits but with a slightly rougher texture when they were on the bridge. These may be they key to navigating between icebergs and may be the fabled ship´s biscuit I was searching for. I did not sample them as they could have thrown me overboard for touching them - I guess the effect would be the same as killing an albatross and could bring bad luck upon the ship. They also had their own chef so I would guess they did not like the UK selection. Will continue the research in Argentina.|
As Christmas is coming soon, I will no doubt be required to undertake a
shopping expedition of millennium bug/petrol crisis/nuclear apocalypse scale proportions.
Is there any chance you may be conducting a face off between some of the tinned biscuit assortments that are popular for family get-togethers around this time of year? A sort of Blood Sport all-comers battle to the death, but for biscuits? Any guidance that can reduce the amount of time I have to spend in Safeway deliberating between Rover and a Danish All Butter Assortment would be much appreciated.
|Nicey replies: You and me both Mr Hale,
I've taken to Christmas food shopping in the dead of night, as trolly rage incidents in our local Tesco's are all too common nowadays. Its also quite daunting to see a supermarket rigged for the Christmas on-slaught with vast drifts of Brussel sprouts, and Mince pies blocking ones traditional passage through its aisles.
As to the biscuit tin assortments that is an excellent proposition, but I think it may be beyond our resources to have it completed by Christmas. Our local Sainsbury's has literally tins of biscuits piled up to the ceiling, alas, they are on top of the fresh and cooked meats chillers about 9ft up. At the very least I would warn against the Danish All butter, as the Danish have nothing to claim in the world of biscuits apart from these unimaginative tins of biccies. The only thing that seems to make one biscuit different from another is its shape, which is not much of an assortment really. I would favour a square tin over a round tin as it is a far more useful shape, on shelves and can hold square or rectangular, or round stuff with ease, unlike the round tin.
As for the contents you should be aiming for something without pink wafers if at all possible, and preferably with either Jam and cream sandwich biscuits or foil wrapped biscuits, as these are festive.
Hope that helps.
||I am about to undertake a boat trip to the Antarctic from Argentina and would appreciate your advice on the correct biscuit to select for the journey. I am aware that Argentina is not the most renowned biscuit country in the world so am not sure whether to take my stock with me from the UK or not. I would also appreciate any recommendations you have on biscuits suitable for counteracting the effects of seasickness. In the olden days I have heard that sailors could live on salted beef, rum and ship's biscuits but do not know what they were made of. Sometimes they were full of weevils and maybe that was the secret ingredient. I will attempt to undertake some research into this on my journey following the route of the ancient mariners. Also are there any biscuits to counteract the hole in the ozone layer and do I need to take a tin with me as well. Any advice would be appreciated. |
|Nicey replies: Dave,
I'm thinking Digestives could be the boys for the job, and probably some Garibaldis as they pack well. Ships biscuits or hard tack are very nasty indeed and sailors used to actually break their teeth trying to eat them, so you probably want to give that a miss.
Unfortunately we have no data on South American biscuits at all, but if we extrapolate from what we know of the Spanish / Portuguese biscuit world then we would certainly advise taking your own. As for biscuits that counteract sea sickness and ultra violet radiation it looks like you're the man for gathering that data.
It is always wise to have an appropriate biscuit tin.
Mail us when you get back especially if you get a picture of you eating biscuits in an extreme environment. Hoorah!
||Hello there, |
I'm an experienced figroll consumer, often having 4 a day, in addition to other biscuits.
However, there's something about figrolls that confuses and worries me.
Normally, a biscuit goes soft when left out of it's protecting biscuit tin. Instead, figrolls go hard!
Why is this?
Hope you can answer this problem I'm having
University of Cambridge
|Nicey replies: Don't be confused and worried. The high moisture content of the fig paste contributes to the crusts soft nature, and on exposure to the air this tends to dry out. Now there are some who would say that this makes the fig roll a cake, which it clearly isn't, and if nothing else it proves that there are always exceptions to the rule. Also if you are ever in France try out the Figolu. This mini fig roll does not have the required bulk to maintain its correct moisture content and so appears to have already gone stale by the time it gets put into its pack. |
I fully understand your unease where the subject of 21st century, so-called innovative biscuit packaging is concerned, especially when it appears a manufacturer is attempting to swindle its customers out of several biscuits, in return for the dubious compensation of a plastic tray or a snazzy new logo.
However, there is one addition to the pantheon of biscuit wrappers that has been a positive boon for my partner Carol and I: the sturdy cardboard pipe used to house McVities Chocolate Digestives and Hobnobs.
In our later years with the kids gone and retirement not too far away, Carol
and I have joined a lively local walking group, and we often find ourselves
rambling along remote woodland tracks or up and down an isolated hillside path. Apart from the kagools and spare socks, essential kit for these daytrips is the trusty thermos and a supply of biccies, for when we come across an inviting spot to sit down. Unfortunately, Carol doesn't like taking the normal packets, as they get crushed too easily, and once opened, are liable to leave a crumbly residue at the bottom of her knapsack. I don't like using the Tupperware her sister gave us, because, to be honest, it smells a bit and is somewhat offputting. We do have a slim, cylindrical tin, but Carol says it makes her bag too heavy and the straps cut into her shoulders (although I believe this may be purely psychological).
Hurrah then, for the McVities tube. You only need buy one before reverting
back to the normal, big value packs, but we can top the tube up with as many biccies as we need for a couple of cups of tea and sit downs in the
countryside. Nearly all of our walking friends have adopted our method of
|Nicey replies: If it saves Carol's shoulders from strap cutting then I am prepared to register a point in favour of the HobNob tube, especially given your admirable stance on the recycling issue.|