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I'm reading through your book at the moment (£3 in FOPP, a bargain — hardback too) and thoroughly enjoying myself with it.
A quick search around your lovely site here and a trawl through the feedback, and I can find no mention of the long-deceased Caramac-covered digestive. Now, it may have been covered in depth, but I just can't find it; or possibly no-one cared very much for them, and so erased the memories... but I know they existed. I have strong memories of me and my sister melting the sickly coating in front of a two-bar heater, risking scorched fingertips in the process, to lick off the molten goodness. Oh…such pleasure! I think we are talking circa 1975 here. No surprises that it went out of production, I suspect that even for the hardened sweet-tooth, too much Caramac can cause untold dental aching.
Yours, in biscuits,
|Nicey replies: Mark,
Yes these Caramac Digestives have been mentioned to me once or twice. I never had them, although the odd Caramac itself used to come briefly into my possession. I could never really understand why they were always so thin, surely there would have been a market for a Caramac built along similar lines as a family bar of Cadbury's milk. As for the biscuits, if they really were carrying a payload of genuine Caramac then they would have been something to do with Rowntree - Mackintosh, who were of course taken over by Nestlé in the mid 1980s.
Ginger Nut Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey|
First of all let me say how much I enjoyed the book. Your analysis was trenchant, your observations acute, but above all the whole experience was vastly comforting. I have just one question: in your section on ginger nuts you do not mention one aspect which to me has been very obvious - namely, that over the years, the "crunch levels", as I'm told they in the trade call them, have been drastically lowered. When I was a child you could nearly break a tooth on a ginger nut, whereas nowadays they bite quite easily. My theory is that they are worried about people suing for dentists' bills. What do you think?
Also, when in Rome recently I ordered some tea with milk and was brought some mint tea with hot milk added!
Incidentally I think everyone should stop slagging off Earl Grey. If you find it too weak by itself it makes
a lovely cuppa mixed with ordinary at a ratio of about 1:4.
PS Why doesn't wifey say very much?
|Nicey replies: Liz,
Yes you may indeed have a point there, although I think the status quo has remained static for some time now on that front. Certainly I recall that many own many supermarket own label gingernuts were much much harder that McVities. Today they are simply a bit harder.
I don't think those who avoid Earl Grey are objecting to it's strength, rather, its bergamot oil.
Trust me Wifey says loads, but not always on this website.
McVities Light Range Review
|Hi Nicey & all at NCOTAASD,|
Excellent review about all those new "Light" bikkies and nice to see you are willing to get down and dirty with some technical details when the occasion calls for it.
Down here in Oz we have had outbreaks of so-called "Lite" things generally (not just biscuits) from time to time. Usually they have somewhat reduced fat content, but to compensate they tend to crank up the sugar content to rather frightening levels. Oh, and they might also take the opportunity to emphasise the word "Natural" on the packaging in connection with this.
You gave an admirable commentary on the fat aspect of the McVities range but remained curiously silent on their sugar content. As it will probably be some time before we get to see any of the new McVities range, if at all, can you satisfy my curiosity and comment on this?
Keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Hello Brian,
Thankfully they didn't appear to ramp up the sugar, which as you point out is often the case in low fat recipes. One thing to bear in mind especially with the Digestive is that the standard biscuit is actually has a far higher fat content than most people suspect. So there is plenty of room for manoeuvre.
McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive Review
Having just read your book, I was concerned that you had kept well clear of the 'which way up' issue concerning the chocolate digestive (and other such biscuits). Having just discovered your website for the first time, I am relieved to learn that there has been some debate on the matter.
I have two points to raise on the matter: Why should the top of an ordinary digestive become the bottom when there is a chocolate coating? In my opinion the delay factor of the chocolate reaching your tongue is greatly reduced if they are eaten chocolate side down, and the chocolatey taste sensation prolonged. The business of grip and grasp of said biscuit is merely a diversion: what is important is the eating/tasting experience.
To conclude, isn't it about time that the NCOTAASD website took the lead cleared the matter up once and for all? After all, you are the undisputed authority on such matters? The solution is simple: an online trial and survey. Readers should be asked to try eating a chocolate digestive one way up, and then the other; then complete an online form where they might indicate the way up that they have traditionally eaten their chocolate digestive, and their preferred way up based on the trial. If it were agreed that the experience is even better chocolate side down, then you could be responsible for changing biscuit-eating discipline for ever - and perhaps even name the process?
It has also occurred to me that there are other edibles out there suffering similar confusion, e.g. how many of us automatically open a packet of crisps so the writing on the bag is the right way up when you are eating them? Do we actually read all the small print on the bag? So why do be bother always opening it at the 'top?' Indeed, when we eat crisps communally at a pub, the packet usually sits flat on a table, and if being able to read the packet were really an issue, in such situations it should be opened at the 'bottom.'
My final plea: tasting notes for good everyday teabags (we can tackle Earl Grey etc. at a later date). Buying teabags these days seems to be like tip-toeing through a mine-field. There was a time when Sainsbury's Red Label was the answer - sadly those days are long since gone. Yorkshire teabags are not as good as they used to be, even though Taylors claim that they do not change, and even blend according to which region of the UK they are destined for. I wonder if any readers have discovered Punjana teabags which are blended in Belfast? I am happy to assist with these tasting notes.
|Nicey replies: Hello James,
When we polled people as to the right way up for chocolate biscuits we had 582 votes, 86.08% thought choc side up 8.25% were with you and 5.67% seemed to think it didn't matter. Perhaps a few of the 86% can be convinced to try them 'inverted', but we did have reports of some people trying that last time we talked about it. They said it felt disturbing.
As for tea, I notice that like ourselves you live in Cambridge and so maybe you might want to consider some form of water filtration for our grim old tap water before you start worrying what is or isn't happening to teabags. It might buy you a big margin of tea improvement, our kettle thread had lots of messages from people saying it had really worked for them.
Well, I registered for the newsletter but never got a chance to exhibit my knowledge (or lack of) of PG Tips tea bags.
Something wrong somewhere in the interweb?
|Nicey replies: Whoops. You can now. Just login here, click on the answer and hit save.|