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|Hello again, Nicey|
Well....what a turnup for the books! Further to my recent communication regarding the forthcoming demise of the Lincoln, I spotted a pack...in, of all places, Sainsburys in Godalming! There it was, sat all alone in about half a foot of shelf space...so I grabbed it! When I asked Customer Services about their stocks, they did seem to think that they may be getting more in but they couldn't guarantee anything.
A close examination of the pack revealed a BBE date of April 07, so it would appear that these biscuits have a potential shelf life of around 4 months. My plan then, is to buy up some reserves as and when I can and try to preserve them in edible condition for as long as possible. Your good self being, I presume, an expert on such matters - what advice can you give me for storage of biscuits in the best possible condition? My thoughts are an airtight biscuit tin with a sack of silica gel (several of which I shall, no doubt, find amongst electronic products under the Christmas tree this year!).
I remember my Granny, sadly departed from this life now, having a rather nice copper-coloured biscuit tin with a silica gel insert in the lid...every few weeks this would be popped in the oven to refresh it. This kept her biscuits in fine fettle and there was always something very special about being allowed 'something from the tin, Pet'. As the lid popped off the tin, the little puff of 'biscuity aroma' was a joy to inhale. My brother and I often fought over who would get first whiff. What with this and her saving up all the cards from the PG Tips (we only visited a couple of times a year due to distance), or Monkey Tea as it was known, stays with Granny were something special.
To this day, the smell of a well loved and regularly used biscuit tin still evokes happy childhood memories of Granny's kitchen...memories enhanced by closing my eyes and indulging in a little dunking session with a good cuppa and of course, a Lincoln!
Cheers Nicey, and my best regards to you and Wifey this Yuletide season.
|Nicey replies: Hello again Mike,
Yes its quite common to find 4-5 month BBE dates on biscuits when one actually has cause to take notice. It is in the nature of NCOTAASD's mission to have to sample biscuits which are very close to or have actually passed their BBE date. The simple truth is the fresher they are the better, and particularly for shortcake biscuits like the Lincoln which seem to hold up the least well compared such things as Garibaldis and Gingernuts.
I think you are probably doing about all you can possibly do. Excluding moisture, light and extremes of heat are about the best one could hope for. Maybe a protective atmosphere of pure nitrogen gas (as in crisp packets) if you have any compressed nitrogen and hermetically sealing vessels with valves to hand. Even with all of this the biscuits will still go off caused by inevitable and irreversible chemical changes. Indeed one of the arguments that kept biscuit manufacturers using hydrogenated fats for so long was that they prolonged the shelf life of the product.
These modern twilight Lincolns will have none of that. Devoid of hydrogenated fat, the last of a great and majestic dynasty of patterned shortcake biscuits. Like the giant Sauropods at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 Million years ago, going about their business on the shelves of Sainsbury's unaware that they are about to be wiped out by the dispassionate comet of de-listing.
Perhaps they'll continue to find a place in that great seasonal biscuit assortment the Family Circle selection tin, (only its a plastic box nowadays) along side the Gypsy Cream
Just stumbled across your website, and its very interesting! I though i should ask you a question thats been nagging at me for a while.
We are a team of 12 students at Aston University in Birmingham, and we are designing, building and racing a single seater racing car against other universities next summer. What is the ideal amount of sugars we should have in our tea, and what biscuit should we use to dunk to get the most out of our team?
Thank you very much
Formula Student Team Manager
|Nicey replies: Yes very prudent of you to touch base with us.
Ideally you should have either 2 sugars or none. Our ISP Mr Borrill has the most annoying amount of sugar in the entire world, a third of a teaspoon, for which he has a special teeny-weany teaspoon at home. He says he can drink it without now, but really it's plain that he would still prefer a tiny little bit of sugar in it. If you are going to be awkward and have sugar at least make it worth while.
As for biscuits this is a good opportunity to do some team building. As engineers you can discuss the dunking merits of one biscuit over another through which you'll learn to respect and value the input and opinions of the other team members. You'll also quickly spot the clueless ones and assign them tasks accordingly. Given that there are 12 of you, you'll need to choose wisely avoiding things that come in packs of ten unless you want to buy 6 packs and everybody have 5 of them.
Mind you given that you are students you may be over-reaching yourselves financially to go beyond entry level biscuits. As a student I ate lots of Ginger Nuts, Digestives, Malted Milks and Fruit Shortcakes all excellent Dunkers and whilst I never built a racing car I did manage to loose all of my third year Molecular Biology project results which led to me being advised to try a career in computing instead.
Morning Coffee Review
Just read your review of Morning Coffee - it was never a real favourite of mine, but i did use it for one of my more ostentatious biscuit based experiments in the early eighties.
This was to see how many biscuits could be dunked at one time in a standard sized mug of tea, and the dimensions of Morning Coffee proved ideal. I would pile them on top of one another, grab between forefinger and thumb and then dunk - this would then be placed in the mouth whole.
My record was nineteen.
Hope you are well and love the site.
Ben (lifelong biscuit and cake fan)
||The two-cup drink/dunk is an amazing thing. I am sat here in Australia in a water shortage situation at the mo and can't help but think that it is too much of a luxury at present to be dunking in a separate cup. I will have to stick to holding a piece of biscuit in my mouth and quickly taking a sip of tea, to achieve the dunked effect without getting that nasty sediment at the bottom of the cup.|
Nicey, I lived for some time in London, and coming back to Australia has reminded me that tea can taste oh so different depending on the local water supply. I remember having lovely cups of tea in Devon and The Peaks, and I always used filtered water in the kettle in London. Where, in the world, is the best 'tea water'?
|Nicey replies: Very good point about the water. Our water at NCOTAASD HQ is very hard being drawn from chalk ground water. It does however produce its own sort of unique tea which without realising over the space of a mere ten to fifteen years one gets quite used to. Having spent three weeks travelling around France making tea in various places, there is still nothing quite like that first cuppa when you get home. Is it the water?
I'm sure many people would be thinking of Yorkshire Tea's two blends for hard and soft water areas which they'll post samples out free to UK residents. Also I'm fairly sure that vats of Manchester water used to shipped out to Indian tea plantations to aid with the proper blending of the tea before shipment.
||I have to say I hadn't thought about making two cups of tea, one for dunking and one for drinking before, but that really is a smashing idea and one I am going to employ immediately. The added bonus will be that if I continue to be careful with my dunking habits and not lose any poor souls to the molten tea, I'll have two cups of tea to neck, marvellous! Thanks Derek!!|