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I am writing to ask you, as a nationally renowned expert on the matter, your views on a certain teatime consumable. Is the 'Penguin' bar a chocolate bar, a biscuit bar, or a biscuit? Of course,I initially assumed it would fall in to the category of chocolate bar, however I than realised that the biscuit/chocolate ratio is actually higher than one imagines (due to the chocolate flavoured biscuit), and that the penguin has a tremendous biscuit heritage as something to be found in the biscuit tin, in among other biscuits, and certainly not a conventional chocolate bar (despite obvious resemblance). I know you are are very busy, but any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
|Nicey replies: George,
I will indeed take some time out of my hectic Sunday morning schedule to help you out on this one. This is precisely the sort of trouble one can get into if you think overly hard about the classification of biscuits. The simple answer is that the Penguin is of course a biscuit, technically a member of the chocolate covered count line. So called because when they were first introduced biscuits were sold loose by weight, and these new premium biscuits were sold by number or count.
A few other factors for you to consider, they are mostly made from biscuit, by United Biscuits who call them biscuits and they are sold in the biscuit aisle with all the other biscuits, plus they are very good with a cuppa.
Iced Gems Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
I stumbled across your website the other week while searching for a piccie of an iced gem. This search was in order to try to prove to a twenty something colleague of mine that such an object did indeed exist and I wasn't making it up (we'd previously had a similar episode with non belief in the existence of Noggin the Nog, but that's another matter). Quite how somebody can reach their mid-twenties without ever having been exposed to an iced gem is something I find quite strange, but clearly some people have had very deprived childhoods.
I found your website to be a welcome relief from the horrors of a day providing computer support to the sort of people you shouldn't even trust with a pair of round nosed scissors, and I am now a regular visitor. I was also prompted to buy the cuddly paperback version of your book. I'm very glad I made the book purchase because it helped sustain me on a recent trip to Barcelona, where there was nothing resembling a nice cup of tea or a reasonable biscuit to be had. Even the coffee left a lot to be desired, and I always thought the continentals were supposed to know how to make that!
Anyhoo, the combination of website and book has prompted me to abandon my workplace reliance on coffee and switch to drinking a lot more tea. I've also bought some biscuits, nice ones mind you, and am currently working my way through a Crawford's Teatime Varieties selection pack. It's quite a nice selection, one that I feel can be forgiven the presence of a slightly inferior digestive due to the complete absence of the abhorrent pink wafer as a filler.
So as I sat here at my desk having a nice cup of tea and a well dunked custard cream, I felt moved to write to you and offer my thanks for re-introducing me to the simple pleasure to be had from taking the time to enjoy a nice cup of tea and a sit down with a quality biscuit or three.
Kind regards and thanks,
|Nicey replies: Mike,
Glad to hear you are back on the tea, and have survived a run in with Spanish biscuits.
That puts me in mind of those programs is on telly about people who have moved to Spain and are trying to repurpose a pile of rubble on a hillside into a luxury villa. They always end up building internal walls out strange square plant pot things, and nobody ever says what are those things? If I was the interviewer I'd say yes we know you owe £50,000 and you've done irreparable damage to your marriage and you haven't slept for a week, but what are those things you are building that wall out of, and who told you to use them? Plus lets face it most Spanish biscuits would make a perfectly good building material.
Due to age I just missed out on Noggin the Nog first time round, so am more of a Poggle's Wood man really.
||Hi Nicey, Wifey and team|
Here's a good idea for bells on your bike when you go for a ride.
They do an understated black or silver teapot bell with or without chinese characters.
|Nicey replies: That is quite tempting actually.|
||When it comes to drinking tea from flasks, I'm with you on the point about carrying milk separately (we use a small plastic tonic-water bottle from Waitrose). But I have to disagree with your suggestion of using the flask as a teapot, carrying hot water in it during the walk and adding tea-bags immediately before the moment of consumption. |
1. We all know that water off the boil, however hot, makes an inferior cup of tea (think of all those awful urn-type contraptions and Continental attempts to serve tea - a cup of hottish water with a dry teabag in the saucer, awaiting dunking).
2. If you don't want to consume all your tea at once, or are drinking your first cup slowly, the remainder will get disgustingly stewed.
May I suggest to David Blaxill that he invests a shiny new flask and tries again? I got my boyfriend a jolly nice dark-grey matt one by Lifeventure from Ellis Brigham for Christmas and very pleased with it he is too (despite previously protesting there was nothing wrong with the skanky old one). The reason I say this is that I think sometimes old flasks taint the tea - a build-up of tannin or something. David should then try filling it (pre-warmed with boiling water) with just black tea made in the teapot - adding cold milk just before drinking really does make a difference.
There you go, another excuse to get out the flask icon.
|Nicey replies: Hello Katie,
Actually our flask makes a splendid cup of of tea in the way I've described, and is way hotter than any dodgy old urn thing. Obviously it's not boiling but I would say it produces better tea than some of our heavier teapots, even when correctly warmed.
If Ellis Brigham's flasks are anything like their skis then I'm probably not sufficiently advanced in the art to use one according to the Australian/French/South African guy working there.
I have just finished being surprised at how much I enjoyed your NCOTAASD book ( a Christmas present from a very discerning friend (Hi Jumpy-up-and-down Kathy if you ever get to read this)) and wanted to tell you about an excellent vending machine from my youth.
As a lad of about 10 I used to go to Whitley Bay Ice Rink every Saturday morning. I can still remember the smell that permanently wet wood has. Anyway, they had a vending machine that was old-fashioned even then (about 1965?); you selected the drink of choice by rotating an enormous dial on the front. You could choose from tea, limeade and chicken soup. What the manufacturers never thought of was that young kids would experiment by rotating the dial WHILST it was vending...