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Last weekend I found myself at a Toby Inn Carvery place in Sheffield, and was tucking merrily into a shivering tower of beef and yorkshire puddings with all the trimmings when thoughts turned to pudding.
Imagine my delight when I spied on the menu a steamed treacle sponge which came with 'a bottomless jug of custard'. This was it, I had found the Holy Grail! Of course I ordered immediately, and regretted not bringing a suitable custard-carrying container with me. A children's paddling pool in the back of the car maybe.
Anyway, it turns out that bottomless means about half a pint. I was disappointed, but at least it saved me the mess of having to empty my coat pockets of custard when I got home. To be fair it was a very nice tasting half pint.
Have any of your other correspondents located the actual bottomless jug of custard at a Toby Inn? It would be worth travelling any distance to see. With my oil tanker.
|Nicey replies: I think you dealt with that very well, I wouldn't of put up with anything less than about 2pts calling itself bottomless. The younger members of staff can easily see off half a pint each.
||Hi, Just to let you know your site was shown on morning Canadian TV here in Vancouver today Feb 15th.|
Seems they think the British are pretty darn crazy having a site dedicated to biscuits and custard! They all hate custard - but it's lovely stuff....keep up the good work and by the way Rich Tea and Bourbon are the best!
|Nicey replies: We may be odd but at least we have a special Canada icon (as well as Custard one).|
||Greg Shailes mentioned 'lashings' and 'dollops' as standard custard measuring units - I reckon there's a subtle qualitative as well as quantitative difference. Lashings sounds far more liquid (less viscous) than dollop - same sort of difference as a 5W-30 engine oil versus an NLGI No2 grease for the lubrication engineers out there. A dollop would also certainly be smaller than lashings, and might just stay on top of a piece of that jam sponge pudding, while lashings would flow down all the edges and round the bowl until the sponge was swimming in custard. Which takes us dangerously near to thin swampy custard as found in horrible cafés in Harrogate.|
Which leads us to a linguistic problem: what if you want large quantities of thick custard? Do you ask for 2, 3, or 4 dollops? Or take a chance with 'lashings of custard please'?
|Nicey replies: I would have thought the next units of measurement would be a 'dribble' for something less than a dollop and 'bucket-loads' for something greater than lashings. As for multipliers I think they are best avoided, you would be far better placed arguing that you had asked for lashings of custard but had only received a dollop rather than you had requested 3 dollops. Just ask for lashings of thick custard, or maybe a bucket-load. |
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.|
I am a German biscuit fan and have spent many enjoyable lunch breaks reading your site - thank you for a glimpse of many strange and fascinating biscuits! There are several I will definitely watch out for. My personal favorite at the moment is more a cake than a biscuit, however, in spite of it's biscuit-like size and packaging, so I will not take up your time with the manifold delights of the Mauritius chocolate-covered Baumkuchen-tips with Jamaica Rum.
Instead, allow me to review one of the best-sold biscuits of the world: The Oreo by Nabisco. I know you have reviewed it already, but I feel the need to add my own two cents to the dicsussion.
The Oreo craze in the US has always mystified me - perhaps I am merely spoiled or unreasonably demanding, but I am rather partial to biscuits that taste of something other than sugar and crisco.
The filling... oh, the filling. It is grease and sugar, mixed up in the least appealing mass imaginable. The taste is offensively sweet and offers nothing at all to recommend it. It leaves a thin film of greasy residue with a chemical tang on the tongue. The memory alone causes me to shudder - and not in delight.
As for the biscuit part of the Oreo, it is less sweet and less horrible than the filling, and that is its only good point. It's always fascinated me that Nabisco succeeds in coloring the biscuit parts of the Oreo so that they *look* as though they contain large amounts of cocoa, but fails dismally when it comes to lending them a chocolaty taste. Taste does not offer up any evidence to support the hypothesis that these biscuits have so much as seen chocolate pass in the distance. In fact, all the biscuit part of an Oreo tastes of is flour and sugar, with a hint of artificial additives in the aftertaste. Yum.
The phenomenon of the Oreo's popularity is possibly related to the fact that in the US, real chocolate is unknown. Have you ever tried to consume a Hershey's product? I wouldn't recommend it to the faint-hearted, I can assure you. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes as you burble "why? and how? there must be cocoa in this thing - why can I not TASTE it?" So, unless the poor deprived citizens of this country have had the great good fortune to encounter actual, imported chocolate, these people have no way of knowing what cocoa actually tastes like. This means that Nabisco can get away with the Oreo. It looks like there is a lot of cocoa in it, it tastes every bit as sickly-sweet and non-chocolaty as other US products supposedly involving chocolate... why, it must be extremely chocolaty indeed!
The ritual twisting apart and dunking in ice-cold milk is an additional strangeness, but I can certainly understand the need to wash down these nasty biscuits quickly and with something that numbs the tongue. They don't taste of much, except cloying sweetness, but they do have a subtly offensive chemicality and greasiness.
Thanks for listening - I feel much better for getting that off my chest!
|Nicey replies: I think your mail balances out the one from the lady who said they bring back happy childhood memories of sitting in mountain meadows munching on Oreos whilst watching the clouds go by and generally communing with nature.|