Keep your e-mails pouring in, it's good to know that there are lots of you out there with views and opinions.
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||Hello Nicey and Wifey,|
I would like to get a message to Adrian Leaman, who wrote in recently to tell of the shocking practice of making tea in the microwave oven - I just want to assure him that not all Americans make tea this way! I have never seen any of my friends make microwave tea, most follow the tradition of using a kettle, a proper mug or cup, or teapot. Maybe it's just Bostonians.... I live in North Carolina. Tearooms have actually become rather popular in our area over the past several years, and they do make tea in the conventional way. So Adrian, I hope you are reassured that if you visit America again, it is possible to find people who know how to do tea without a microwave. At our house, we have a nice Bodum electric kettle that we have enjoyed for some time now.
Nicey and Wifey, I love your website, it is great fun as well as educational to read. My children gave me your book for Christmas and it was an enjoyable read. Thanks for such a great site, keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Ellen,
Thanks for setting us all straight on the tea situation in North Carolina, it all sounds very sensible there.
||What has that smashing late 70's kid fest musical have to do with biscuits I hear you ask? Well it's always been of some amusement to me that in the end credits Alan Parker and co thank Huntley and Palmers. Presumably because they provided the loads of biscuit filling cream that was shot out of the splurrg guns. How fantastic is that! Perhaps there is more biscuit related/film genre gems to be unearthed?|
PS Which icon do I get for that?
|Nicey replies: Actually its because much of the film was made at the old biscuit factory in Reading, which had recently ceased production. Alas we have no trivia icon, as it would probably quickly get over used.
Have you ever come accross the minature immersion kettle before? A friend of mine at school had one. It was a little like the element from a kettle, coated in material that was electrically insulated, but not heat insulated and on the end of a wire plugged into the mains. You took a cup, filled it with water, dunked in the immersion heater and boil away. When the water is boiled, simply turn off the heater, remove from the cup and make your cup of tea. If you are fussy about the way you make your tea simply use two mugs, boil in one, make tea in the other. It made a pretty decent cup of tea as far as I remember. At least it did until he blew the fuses in the boarding house by forgetting to turn it off. With the addition of some kind of safety switch this would make a very handy addition to your suitcase when going to America or other kettle sceptic countries.
|Nicey replies: Indeed a friend at University had one. He would often leave it to heat up cups of coffee he had let go cold, whilst we dragged him off to the pub. Returning to it 3 hours later to find it had enameled the inside of his cup with the very nasty but worthy Oxfam coffee he drank. I noted its existence but gave it a wide birth.|
||Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
What a lovely web site you have! Much more fun than working!
Anyway, to business. I read with interest your Tim Tam vs Penguin review - I must say that even as an ex-Brit, I lean towards the Tim Tam myself. And I have tried Penguins recently, and they are not what they used to be.
But seeing the special "Black Forest Fantasy" packet featured in the responses brought back into my mind the torrid controversy which occupied the staff tea room for a good fortnight a while back. "Black Forest" refers to the Black Forest cake, a cake with a strong theme of cherries (which feature prominently on the biscuit packet) as well as the inevitable chocolate. If we turn over the packet and read the ingredients, we find that these biscuits do indeed contain real cherries.
0.01% of them.
That's about 2 milligrams per biscuit!
I have seen the accusations of a reduction in chocolate content in order to create a market for "double coated" variety, and maybe this has caused some sensitivity about other ingredients diluting the dominance of chocolate, but surely it is taking it too far to reduce the cherry content to below the levels approved for many food additives!
What can be done? Well, perhaps you can help me raise public awareness of this shabby behaviour...
(Incidentally, have you tried the Chili flavoured Tim Tams? Quite nice, but not really enough chili, in my humble opinion. Probably about 0.01% I suspect...)
All the best,
|Nicey replies: I think I'm more concerned about the Chilli flavour Tim Tams than the levels of Cherry in the Black Forest ones.|
I have just returned from a trip to the United States which I survived quite well by referring my hosts in advance to your website, and explaining (in a loud voice, I am sorry to say) how essential it is to avoid any form of embarrassment. However, there were one or two disturbing traits which I should bring to your attention. First, the demise of kettles: they seem to have been replaced by microwave ovens. Any form of tea-making involves pre-heating the water in a cup, then applying a stringed tea bag. Secondly, the resultant beverage is then put in an insulated cup, so that it may then be consumed while in an automobile. I need hardly add how shocked I was. On an upbeat note, I am pleased to say how plentiful the supply of Nairn's wheat-free mixed berry were in Boston, although the sting in the tail was the rather steep price, which some might have thought extortionate, but I kept quiet on that one.
|Nicey replies: I blame popular science fiction (you know the one) for making people comfortable with the idea of getting their drink out of a small glass fronted hi-tech cupboard. We have tried to do our bit to redress the balance by bunging Patrick Stewart a copy of our book when we ran into him last autumn.|