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I was reading David Blaxill's comments on 'flask tea' and it bought back memories of the boot of my Grandparent's Morris Minor in the 70s/80s. It was used to house tea-making equipment which was carried at all times. They had a camping gaz 'bluet' stove, kettle, 'unbreakable' cups (how we laughed on the numerous occasions when my dad managed to break one) teabags, sugar and 'Five Pints' powdered milk. Also biscuits, which usually included gingernuts, gypsy creams and bourbons (these last were exclusively for consumption by the dog).
The whole caboodle was referred to as 'The Makings' and no day out was complete without a stop in a layby where my Nan would brew up, seemingly unaware of the thunder of lorries whizzing past, while me and my sister sought shelter in the back of the car and keenly anticipated licking the filling out of the gypsy creams. Happy days....
Claire (who has just finished a Soreen 'Go' Bar, and wonders where it would sit on the Venn diagram of biscuits.
|Nicey replies: How I love an excuse to get out the flask icon. My Dad used to make tea at work (the Royal Mint at Llantristant) using Five Pints dried milk. I remember it came in a plastic bottle that looked like a proper glass milk bottle.
Actually Wifey and I were out for a nice healthy bike ride earlier and not only did we see a couple of Red phone boxes but I also spied two genuine bottles of milk at the end of somebody's drive and had to pull over to admire them.
As for Soreen Go bars I've not had one but hope they are related to Soreen Malt loaf in some way. Hoorah for malt loaf especially with butter on it.
Fruit Shortcake Review
|Dear Nicey |
I was most alarmed to read your reply in the Wife's column on the subject of red telephone boxes; not because this is blatant control freakery (you did it when she was out, you fiend), but the admission that, after a nice walk, the two of you drank tea from a... flask!
I have to ask the question - why? Even after being in a flask only a few moments, the divine beverage takes on a most unpleasant taste, and certainly loses at least ninety per cent of its niceness. You will probably say that any tea after a nice walk is better than no tea, and I think if you held a poll on this subject, the majority of people would agree. As a purist, however, I would reccommend a trip to a camping equipment store, where, for a reasonable expenditure, you can purchase a small gas stove and camping kettle. Very portable, and ideal for those nice country moments when only a fresh brew will hit the spot. I've got one of these in my allotment shed, it's great.
I am sure there are those who will disagree with my loathing of flask tea (probably people who take lots of sugars). I was put off flasks as a child in the fifties, after watching my father brew up on a parrafin and meths primus when we went for nice picnics. He was a flask tea hater too. His tea making kit (tea bags were a thing of the future) took up half the car boot - he was a man of strong principles. I think we still had an empire in those days.
PS I recently reacquainted myself with the fruit shortcake - McVities, to be precise, and jolly nice they were too. McVits didn't make a fruit shortcake in the late sixties when I worked for them, it was the preserve of UB stablemate Crawfords. I am sure they were twice the circumference of the ones you get now. But the small ones taste just as good, and calorie counters can polish off half a dozen with a clear conscience, safe in the knowledge they are only really eating three biscuits.
|Nicey replies: Remain calm David.
We open the lid of our flask of piping-hot water, then pop in two tea bags. Wait a while, then use it just like a tea pot. Our milk is carried in a small glass Perrier bottle, liberated from the French this summer, which does the job very well.
|Nancy Bea Miller
||Dear Nicey and Wifey;|
Just found out myself that it is National Hot Tea Month here in the U.S., according to the American Food
and Drink Holidays people (whoever they are.) Saw it announced on a very nice site called Morning Coffee
and Afternoon Tea.
Just thought you might like to know. Off to celebrate!
(of Genre Cookshop)
|Nicey replies: Hello Nancy,
Indeed it appears to be. Mind you January is also National Egg, Meat, Soup, Bread, Bread Machine Baking, Candy and Prune Breakfast month. This some what steals Hot Tea's thunder. It's also troubling that the word 'Hot' has to be included to distinguish it from the barbarous business of iced tea.
The full calendar makes very funny and disturbing reading in equal measure. Obviously with Independence day July is a busy month and apart from National Scotch, Tequila, Grand Marnier, Daiquiri and Pina Colada day it also hosts National Fried Chicken, French Fries, Hot Dog, Ice Cream, Ice Cream Soda, Vanilla Ice day and for good measure National Junk Food day.
Personally, I am glad that PG Tips are losing their train franchise. For some years now I have travelled regularly by train to York and have come to call PG Tips tea bigs "Molly Browns". That is, they are unsinkable.
Its almost as if they've made the bags out of waterproof material, so that it can't possibly taste of tea until it is cold.
Good luck Tetley and well done for dropping the cartoon dwarfs in your advertising. As a short person myself, I did find it somewhat disrespectful. Take note Lurpak and Homepride, your days of shortism too are numbered.
|Jon Barry Coldwell
My Grocers inform me that Bath Oliver Biscuits are 'out-of-production' and supplies have ceased. How can this be? Well I note that in recent years they were made by the Jacobs company a manufacturer that was taken over by the food giant Danone. Now, Danone is a French firm. You might say "say no more" and conclude that on the bicentenary of Lord Nelson's victory at Trafalgar they determined to strike a rearguard action against the epicurean heart of Old England. At sea and on the land they could not defeat the stalwart John Bull; resorting to underhand commercial practices they have sought to deprive their old enemy of a culinary masterpiece that has sustained and delighted discerning gentlefolk in this sceptred isle for some two hundred years. Is it time once again for this Nation to to awake from its slumbers and assert itself to curtail the excesses of these continental bullies? I caution against precipitate action. Let us first take up the pen and alert members of parliament and the barons of the media to this outrage with a demand that the shopkeepers of England be once again able to obtain supplies of sustenance made to Dr Oliver's singular recipe. We have a Royal Prince whose own endeavours have delighted the hours of many a biscuit lovers life; would it be a great presumption to humbly beg indulgences that the Duchy seize the day and take over production of the pale delight. Then William's genius could be reborn in even greater glory as the "Royal Bath Oliver Biscuits".
Jon Barry Coldwell
|Nicey replies: Jacob's UK business was acquired by United Biscuits over a year ago. We recently purchased Bath Oliver's in Sainsbury's and Waitrose, I've also seen them in Budgens and some independent stores. If they have taken the step of ceasing production then this must have happened very recently indeed, and it would be a huge pity.