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||Contrary to Paul, I believe you can be a part-time, or casual dunker. It all depends on what kind of biscuit you sit down with. I find that ginger nuts are an ideal dunker, as they transform from attritional denture menace into a lovely moist chew. "Short" biscuits are just too damn dangerous to dunk, as the high fat content melts at tea temperature, and there's nothing to hold the thing together anymore.|
I was once told a story about a man who used to love dunking, and always made two cups of tea - one for dunking and one for drinking. The dunking cuppa would be thrown away at the end of the session, so as to avoid the nasty "biscuit sick" that congregates at the bottom. I've always thought this was a pretty maverick way of dealing with the problem. I once left a newspaper in a pub when I hadn't even finished reading it, but I've never done anything as decadent as that.
|Alan (Fred) Pipes
When I was in Edinburgh recently, I attended a Farmers Market and discovered a local or regional biscuit called the perkin. The ones I subsequently purchased were oatmeal-based, large, round, crisp yet crumbly, rustic looking and tasting of ginger and treacle, tho strangely no ginger was included on the list of ingredients. They were made by Oatmeal of Alford, and possibly fall into the category of luxury/home-made/vernacular (tho they did come in a sealed cellophane packet with printed label). I believe you can buy them on the internet, tho at a considerably higher price than the 80p I paid the maker/stallholder. Unfortunately I ate them all before finding this website, so no images are available. Try them when North of the Border.
On dunking: I find the round Rich Tea makes for a pleasant dunking experience -- fill up your mug (of a diameter less than that of the biscuit) with hot tea and make your first dunk. You'll find that only the smallest
sector (or is it segment -- can't remember my basic geometry) gets soggy as obviously the whole biscuit cannot be immersed. This can be nibbled off daintily and the rest of it, now narrow enough to fully immerse, can be
|Nicey replies: Fred,
Thanks for the tip of about Perkins, they sound tasty, perhaps someone North of the Border can get us a picture.
As for the round rich tea progressive dunk, thanks for reminding us all of that important technique. As the tea gets drunk it can sometimes require up to three preliminary dunks before complete dunkage can be achieved.
Rich Tea Review
Just thought I'd take the time to say what a great site! It rocks. I particularly like the scanned in photos of biscuits, they're almost gratiuitous, like biscuit pornography, but I love them. They're great as desktop backgrounds - put them on tile though, not centre, or they look lonely...
Anyway, the reason I'm writing is - I have to protest! I normally regard your reviews of biscuits as the voice of an expert, and something to view with great respect. However, I must comment on your rich tea review. I agree that rich tea were, of course, designed for dunking, and any attempt to sully them with other ingredients such as cream, chocolate, jam etc. should definitely be avoided. However, I must digress over two points.
1.) The classic 'round' rich tea is far superior and always will be to fingers. Fingers, when dunked, risk complete tea saturation along an entire cross section of the biscuit, causing breakage and ultimately, unfortunate collapse into the tea leaf based beverage. The biscuit and the tea then become one sad mess, and it is useless to try to fight this process by attempting to retrieve the biscuit remant from the tea. The best plan of action is to throw the tea/biscuit mixture away and start again, preferably with a new ROUND biscuit. The round version is also, of course, far more aesthetically pleasing, although I realise that this is a matter of taste. There are also those of us who regard the decorations on the sides of the finger variant as 'overly fancy'. Enough said. I think most biscuit lovers would also argue that the ventilation holes in the fingers are unnecessarily dense, and probably put there more for show than function.
2.) The taste of rich tea is fantastic! Try to think of them not as dry, but 'crisp'. Not as bland but 'classic'. I hope you can see my point of view.
I would also like to mention the relationship between rich tea and builders. Builders biscuit of choice is the rich tea. They do seem to particularly enjoy dunking, but I suspect that maybe it goes deeper than that. Maybe the admire the construction of the rich tea? When my parents had their extension built in 1989 the builders would not start work until presented with a daily packet of rich tea and hot tetley. Other biscuits were left on the plate. Even Mrs Locke from no. 48 and a plate of cakes seemed secondary to the option of rich tea. They didn't do that good a job actually, but I'm sure you can't blame the rich tea for that.
I also have a quick question - in your review of wagon wheels you did not mention anything about the size of the biscuit in relation to other points in time. Many people I speak to believe that the size of a wagon wheel is inversely proportional with time (i.e. they used to be bigger) but it is hard for me to judge this myself as I have only just finished growing. This, of course, means that what I believe is a shrinking biscuit may in fact be an optical abboration caused by my relative size to the marshmellow based product. I would be most grateful if you could clear this matter up!
That's it anyway, keep up the good work.
p.s - The point about humility is certainly true.
|Nicey replies: Pete,
Thanks for those Rich Tea thoughts, your point about the builders is a particularly well made. Indeed there are some that think the finger too fancy, however in a side by side tasting we found them to be slightly tastier.
As far as Wagon Wheel size I tackle that classic point in the second paragraph.
I enjoy a good biscuit as much as the next person, but I especially enjoy dunking biscuits. I don't, however, like dunking biscuits in tea or coffee as the chocolate would melt; I enjoy dunking biscuits in water. Is this unusual?
|Nicey replies: Yes Thom, of course this is unusual. As to being odd, most of us are, with the possible exception of identical twins who may be even.|
||Hello Mr Nicey, |
I am Mike Hands' 'Missus'(I believe he is one of your bigger fans). I am writing to you to reveal one of my deepest darkest secrets...one that not even Mike is aware of.
My secret is that when Mike goes out to work each morning, instead of getting on with my own work, as he assumes that I do, I reach for our 'treats' box at the back of the cupboard, put the kettle on and have a secret sit down and a biscuit ON MY OWN. (I know, shock horror, how could she do that...) I am telling you this because I think it vital that you know that my secret biscuit eating fest has led me to discover the joy of dunking a hob nob and a crumbling white chocolate cookie at the same time. Mmmmm, just think, you have that great oaty crunch of the hob nob combined with the buttery, melting texture of the cookie. It's just simply, really rather wonderful.
Now, the problem is that I don't like keeping secrets from Mike (and I know this one will really hurt) so I was kind of hoping you might post this message up on your website so Mike can hear it from you (so to speak). I think it might ease his pain and you never
know - he might even see a funny side to the whole situation.
Mike, if you do read this, you will realise that we don't have a ghost, it was me all along. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you, but I just couldn't wait until you came home to have my nice sit down and a cup of tea.(Mr Nicey, I'm sure you would agree that 9 hrs is a long time to keep a lady waiting.)
Well, that's that...it feels much better to have it all out in the open now.
|Nicey replies: Missus Hands,
Your experiments with multi cake and biscuit eating combinations is now in danger of becoming an obsession, and is manifesting itself as clandestine munching. Remember a relationship is built on trust, not reading about personal biscuit stuff on random interwebby pages.