Keep your e-mails pouring in, it's good to know that there are lots of you out there with views and opinions.
To help you work out what is what, are now little icons to help you see biscuit related themes. And now you can see at a glance which are the most contested subjects via this graph (requires Flash 6.0 plugin).
Please keep your mails coming in to email@example.com
If you like, you can use this search thingy to find stuff that matches with any of the icons you pick, or use the fantastic free text search, Yay!
|Ruth and Mark
We saw his just arrived in Currys and we just have to know if the "near boiling point" output is actually good enough to make proper tea. Can you help? Are you willing to initiate some scientific (or otherwise) research?
Ruth and Mark
|Nicey replies: That looks interesting mainly due to its energy saving claims. It seems good for small offices maybe. Not sure that we feel brave enough to take one on though..|
||I am writing to tell you about a most distressing tea related event that occurred when we were in the united states. We were in a large hotel in Las Vegas, purely for tax reasons I would like to say, and wanted to make a nice cup of tea. Having lived in the US previously we were well aware of the terrible trouble you have getting decent tea. We had taken our own Dilmah tea all the way from New Zealand. We even had our small teapot, which had been carefully wrapped in an old sweater. When we arrived we asked for a kettle. We could have been speaking a foreign language. We could not get the concierge to understand that we wanted boiling water. The hotel suggested we use the coffee pot, despite our insistence that it is not really possible to make a good cup of tea with a coffee maker. Finally we marched down to the front desk and tried to explain that we wanted boiling water. The hotel suggested a "hot pot" which was a device that heated the water to about 200 degrees, but did not boil the water. This was a slight improvement over the coffee maker but as any real tea drinker knows you must have boiling water to make real tea. On top of that they insisted on charging us $20 a day for the "hot-pot". Alas we never did get a decent cup of tea in Las Vegas. For all you travellers, you know that the USA is uncivilised, but it now seems that you need to bring tea, teapot, and a kettle. Oh and you need to bring your own milk if you do not want to drink tea with dairy creamer. Finally remember you cannot move items in the fridge in your room or you will be charged for them even if you don't drink them.|
Lucky tea drinking.
Jeremy and Libby
|Mrs Sarah Mint-Viscount
||Dear Nicey, Wifey & YMOS,|
While looking through the feedback section of NCOTAASD, I noticed various postings on the subject of kettles, and all the talk of kettles reminded me of the time I spent in County Kerry, and the strange kettle-y activity that went on while I was there.
I was there for about a year doing a course, and it turned out to be a place of real significance to me in tea-related terms. First of all, I had foolishly neglected to develop a taste for tea previous to doing that course, but while there, I finally discovered the love for a nice brew. This probably happened because of the canteen’s policy of charging (a lot) for all non-tea beverages e.g. orange juice, but not charging anything for the tea. It’s the old story: student meets free food/drink, student falls in love with the free food/drink - textbook stuff really
Second of all, it was in Kerry that I encountered an exciting new sport: Kettle Racing. A fellow student from Galway had played this unusual sport on a previous stint at student life, and he showed us the way. Basically what it involved was the following: whenever there was a house party, everyone was encouraged to bring the kettles from their own houses. Then, at some point during the evening, we would all congregate with them in the kitchen, and an adjudicator would be appointed (a neutral, who hadn’t brought a kettle). The kettles were emptied, lined up, and plugged in. The adjudicator would then take out a measuring jug and put a precise 1 litre of water into each kettle, ensuring that everybody’s water was equally cold…. and it was “On your buttons, set, GO”.
Naturally, we all got feverish with excitement as we waited to see whose kettle would get to clicking-off point first - well you can imagine the sort of emotion it would stir up. When your trusty kettle – the water boiler extraordinaire, and source of so many a good cuppa - is pitted against other kettles, you badly, badly want it to win. No-one wants some upstart kettle from down the road to be considered superior. So there were shreaks and roars as each person urged on their kettle, the representive of their house: “Come on 27 Millroad Crescent”… “Go on 15 Killeen Drive”. Unfortunately it did get nasty occasionally as people couldn’t come to terms with their kettle being beaten. So there would be accusations thrown around, about elements being pre-warmed with a boiling immediately prior to the race preparations, or overfilling by an allegedly impartial adjudicator. These unpleasantries aside, it was, all-in-all, a good giggle.
I know some people will immediately disapprove, thinking of the environmental impact of all those kettles being boiled unnecessarily, but I would point out in our defence that the kettle races held us all in such thrall that pretty much every other electrical device was abandoned while the race went on – every playstation, DVD player, television, CD player or radio was switched off as we focused on the exciting events in the kitchen.
Anyway, I just wondered if anyone else has played this outside of Co. Kerry, or indeed Ireland. I have a suspicion that, if at all, the sport will only be found amongst other students (Kings and Queens of too-much-time-on-your-hands activities).
|Nicey replies: I think we could only condone such a environmentally dubious sport if all the boiled water was used to make tea for the needy.|
||Dear Nicey et al,|
After many years, my kettle has died. Well it isn't really mine, a friend gave it to me after they got a new kettle. It many ways it was a brilliant kettle, after my previous one. This one had an on/off switch, a removable lid and removable cord. All very useful things in a kettle. Though removing the lid meant you could see how filthy it was inside. Due to the chlorine in the water, it has gone a lovely blue/green inside. Anyway, this afternoon after making one last cup of tea (Queen Mary), it started making loud popping noises and emitting black smoke. Now I am sure that this is not a design feature so is best to say good bye and go bye a new kettle.
|Nicey replies: Luke,
Very sorry to hear about the loss of your kettle. It makes me want to rush downstairs and make a big fuss of ours.
Lu Mikado Review
|Hey Mr Nicey,|
Just a note to say that for those of you intrigued by the Pocky, there is no need to visit the Far East or indeed get Japanese friends to bring them over with them. At the weekend I spotted some in a local Chinese supermarket in Bristol. Only noticed them becasue I recognised their name from recently having read NCOTAASD. Jolly little things they are too, especially stirred/dunked in a cup of vending machine chocolate. My girlfriend was also very pleased that she could hold the pencil like biscuit without getting chocolate on her fingers. Mind you 'chocolate' is an ambiguous term when it comes to these little treats. Its certainly not Bournville.
I've just found a website on the side of my box of Pocky's. It's a funny looking, typically cutesy Eastern style, Flash website. It has tinkly music, so I had to turn it off as that sort of thing is not allowed in our office. Do you know, we aren't even allowed to use kettles? I think they don't trust us not to burn ourselves. Mind you, when I was a bit tipsy in a hotel once, I did manage to pour still bubbling water from a kettle over my hand. It really hurt and I had massive juicy blisters for a week, which as I was a waiter at the time was not very pleasant for the customers. But the flex on the kettle was unexpectedly short. Is that standard for hotels in your experience?
|Nicey replies: Indeed many oriental type grocery stores sell them. It looks like yours were built by the Thai arm of Glico, the Japanese company behind Pocky. What did impress me the most were the ads for a product called Collon. Mmmm. Indeed they do look like little sections from the lower bowel. The Collon page on the Thai site is particularly off putting as it has small heaps of something next to the pieces of 'Collon'. I wonder why they haven't caught on here yet?
Oh yes Hotel kettles are their own entire sub species, a bit like those strange little Hobbit people they've been digging up in Indonesia only the're kettles.