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I was wondering if you could help me, after a number of discussions with friends I/we are still wondering if their is such a 'job' as a biscuit designer (I believe there is!)
If you could get back to me i'd be grateful!
Thank you in advance
|Nicey replies: Well Samantha,
The all too obvious answer is, of course there is, otherwise how would we get new sorts of biscuits. They tend to called 'product development specialists' that sort of thing, rather than biscuit designers. As with anything manufactured on a large scale automation plays a huge part in what is possible, not just the recipes. So a bit of engineering know how as well as food science and of course a well tuned palette are needed. Think about all the machines that have to get jam, cream ad so forth in the right places for thousands of biscuits a minute. Depending on the size of the company will depend on how many people are involved in the development team, and how many of those roles are shared. In the United States many products are developed by third party companies to a clients brief or sometimes as blue sky projects that can then be licensed on to large manufacturers. This article from last years New Yorker magazine is an account of how some of these design processes take place. It makes a lot of silly and unsubstantiated parallels to software development which can safely be ignored. It's equally as interesting as it is bleak in its portrayal of mass produced food.
At the moment lots of recipes are being reformulated to remove the hydrogenated fat from them and as a result even old faithful biscuits are requiring a great deal of careful 'design' work on them.
Not really caring as a child for "puddings" in their traditional formulation (you know, fruit picked from brambles in a B-road lay-by, preserved for months in the deep freeze in a pink Tupperware container and then enveloped in heavy pastry and baked with apples to be served in pie form) custard was consumed not as an accompaniment, but as a stand-alone desert.
As an inquisitive boy I would sample raw materials straight from the pantry. Custard powder eaten dry, straight from the tin, or mixed with a little cold milk and a spoonful of sugar. An instant "hit", like the crack-cocaine version of custard I guess.
Also, Drinking chocolate
Marvel dried milk powder
I'm sure others must have enjoyed their favourite ingredients without the inconvenience of following the directions on the packaging?
P.S. Do not eat Five pints, cocoa powder or instant coffee, it just doesn't work
|Nicey replies: I had to make a 'steam engine' in metal work at school using an old Marvel tin and the lid off a baked beans tin. Although our metal work room appeared to have all the equipment to manufacturer our own fighter aircraft from scratch the steam engine (a small fan held by a bit of bent wire over a hole) was our engineering highlight, if we ignore the aluminium coat hook.
The younger members of staff have often said how much they would like to eat jelly cubes. Perhaps next birthday I'll let them rather than make a trifle. However, I really like trifle.
Thin Arrowroot Review
|I have to disagree with a majority of your reviewers on the subject of Thin Arrowroot biscuits. I find that there is nothing more calming than a sit down with a nice piping hot cup of tea and either two or, (at times of particular stress) three Thin Arrowroots. No dunking, just crisp crunching! After that I can get up and face anything!|
|Nicey replies: Good for you Rosemary,
We shall all think of your straight forward no nonsense approach to Thin Arrowroot appreciation next time we personally pass them over.
Arnott's Gingernut Review
Yes, the Arnott's gingernut is a tough little biscuit. But it is perfect for dunking. I don't know if you've tried it out for yourself yet, but dunking renders the ordinarily rock-hard gingernut crumbly on the outside, and chewy on the inside - delicious! Another advantage is that due to its sturdy construction it readily withstands repeated dunking. Should you (or any readers) have the opportunity to try it, bear in mind that it requires a slightly longer dunk than the average biscuit.
||Hi there Nicey and Wifey!|
I'm a British ex-pat in Sweden and I was gobsmacked to find out they have no concept of custard over here!
The closest thing they have is "Vaniljsås" which is a creamy vanilla-flavoured sauce served *thin* and *cold*, it's nice but a poor custard substitute!
I've had some Birds powder shipped over here on a few occasions but unfortunately the milk over here is less pasteurised than in the UK - so custard made with the local milk tastes 'funny'.
The only way I got close to making 'real custard' was to boil the milk up, then cool it down quickly (sticking the pan outside in the snow works well for that) and then heat it up again and proceed as normal.
I've actually resorted to making custard with eggs instead - the old-fashioned way - as I couldn't cope without custard!
I've been educating Swedes as to what custard is - they have no notion of 'a trifle' here since they don't have thick custard - it's scary! An entire country going trifle-free!