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Thank you for your charming response. You've made me think that perhaps biscuits in space is a much-neglected research area that I should pursue. I'm attaching a picture of a 1959 Russian biscuit tin featuring Sputnik 1 for your enjoyment.
|Nicey replies: Alice,
That is a fantastic biscuit tin, you must be very proud. I tend to think about biscuits in space about 3 or 4 times a week at the moment, which I think is healthy. In our book (out in November) I thought about which would be the best biscuit for zero-g or micro-gravity situation. This is surely going to be an issue for the in flight catering on any future sub-orbital space planes. Inevitably I think its the fig roll.
Following on from the current flurry of vending machine emails I thought people might be interested to hear the latest in vending machine developments over here in Japan.
As many people know Japan is renowned for people working long hours with unwavering dedication to their company and its leaders. This company culture leads people to work 12 to 15 hour days five or more days a week. The end result of this is that a good 30% of people on the train are asleep at any one time. This is a country in clinical need of caffeine, but with little time to drink it.
The Japanese solution to this? Canned tea and coffee of course! Yes! Walk up to any vending machine in Japan (there are 5 million of them at the last count, one for every 24 people or so!) and you will be presented with a selection of canned hot and cold drinks. Drop in 100 yen, about 60p sterling, and out drops a steaming hot can of "Royal Milk Tea" or "Mountain Roast Coffee" in a can.
'Sacrilege!' some may cry! But when you are standing on the platform at Kita Ickibukruo station waiting for the next train to Shibuya, the freezing winds of Western Russia streaming through your overcoat, the hot can vending machine yards away stops being a object of disgust and transforms into an oasis of comfort and warmth. The products in these machines are usually very sweet and slightly clinical, lacking the character and depth of a good, strong, cup of tea, but when there is little else on offer they do fulfil the need for tea.
So do you think this could ever catch on in the west? If you could be sure of a satisfying drink of tea from a can would you buy it? Or is tea too complex a drink to be mass produced in a factory in the back end of nowhere?
|Nicey replies: It all sounds delightfully cyber-punkesque. Hoorah for the Japanese and their hatstand ideas.
Gratuitous link to Oolong the sadly departed head performance rabbit.
||I am back in Argentina from Antarctica. We were not allowed to take food ashore to protect the environment but there were plenty of penguins there anyhow. I was pleased to see that the ship stocked a full range of UK biscuits as I gambled in not taking any biscuits as I was struggling with my baggage allowance - 20kg of biscuits goes not go that far. What was noticeable was that there were 2 different tins depending of the sea conditions. A square red tin would be used to house the classic selection of custard creams, bourbons, chocolate digestives etc. This appeared in rough seas only and was complimented by an ample supply of tea. In contrast there was a circular Wallace and Gromit biscuit tin with a plainer selection for the calmer seas. This was in complete contrast to what I had anticipated as I thought that the plainer biscuits would be used in rough seas and the more lavish selection in the calmer conditions. You don´t want to throw up your best biscuits do you? The Russians manning the ship appeared to be using something that resembled ginger biscuits but with a slightly rougher texture when they were on the bridge. These may be they key to navigating between icebergs and may be the fabled ship´s biscuit I was searching for. I did not sample them as they could have thrown me overboard for touching them - I guess the effect would be the same as killing an albatross and could bring bad luck upon the ship. They also had their own chef so I would guess they did not like the UK selection. Will continue the research in Argentina.|