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Tunnocks Tea Cake Review
With apologies if this has been covered before, but I feel moved to praise the magnificence of the Tunnock’s Tea Cake. These are the only biscuits served up at my place of work, and by golly they are good. What a wonderful nation the Scots are, that they are capable of producing such delights.
On another subject, have you done a poll on additions to a nice cup of tea in moments of distress? Two sugars I think can work wonderfully. In extreme distress, I have even been moved to include a tot of whisky. Do other tea drinkers however think that such practices are an abomination?
|Nicey replies: Extreme distress really means that ones margins of tolerance for tea broaden considerably. As you mention you'll often get given tea with sugar, which normally I would choke on, but can be tolerated in situations such hospitals etc. As for adding booze I would prefer to have a chaser thanks, maybe with an ice cube, and a little dish of nuts or perhaps some twiglets.|
I thought I should alert your viewers to a vicious piece of anti-biscuit propaganda it has recently been my misfortune to read. The "book" (if one can dignify it with such a term) is called "No More Biscuits!" by Paeony Lewis. It details the travails of Florence and her stuffed toy monkey Arnold as, realising they have eaten the last biscuits in the tin (a dilemma I'm sure we can all relate to), they set about attempting to procure some more. Armed only with their cunning and a monomania probably induced by rapidly plummeting blood sugar levels, our intrepid duo valiantly struggle to persuade Florence's mum to open a new packet of biscuits. Now, the delightfully accurate illustrations of various biscuits on the endpapers suggests the involvement of someone who really knows their stuff biscuit-wise, while the fact that this is a book for younger readers led me to believe this story would have a happy ending. But no. Imagine my horror and disgust upon reaching the denouement of this sorry tale, wherein our heroine and her primate pal cease their noble quest, deciding that biscuits are "boring", and instead accept the frozen bananas proffered by the frankly deluded mother. How on earth can we be expected to nuture the next generation of biscuit aficionados if such poison is allowed to circulate freely in the children's sections of our bookshops? I shall be writing to my MP about this matter, and would strongly urge others to do likewise.
|Nicey replies: No it doesn't sound like a very plausible subject for book. The younger members of staff enjoy something with a bit of mild peril in it such as the Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl, or the collected works of Fireman Sam (although they are completely un-impressed by my dazzling range of Welsh characterisations ).|
Hope I got your e-mail address right, it's a bit of a mouthful!
In reply to Angela Stark's e-mail on the subject of gipsy creams, I can say that the McVitie's Gipsy Cream has emerged from the realm of myth and legend. It is alive and well and living on a small market stall in central London, though it is clearly an endangered species, to judge from its numbers. It appears to have been introduced from its native Scotland. A conservation programme needs to be set up if a thriving colony is to be established. My good lady and I are currently in possession of three packets, but sadly the numbers are dwindling fast. If you have a land mail address, I'd be happy to send you an empty wrapper as evidence that the legendary Gipsy Cream does indeed exist.
|Nicey replies: Jez,
This is the biscuit equivalent of catching a Ceolacanth, you must be very pleased. Of course we would like to publish photographic evidence of the existence of these biscuits, and to check their best before date. Better still would be the location of the market stall so we send one of our biscuit agents to investigate.
When we were kids, we spent every Sunday in the summertime at Llangennith beach on the Gower (South Wales). My mothers idea of a picnic was a whole roast chicken, a pressure cooker of potatoes and veg taken straight off the top of the cooker and put into the boot of the car not to be opened until we were ready to eat and an enormous red thermos full of gravy. This would be eaten in the field above the beach obviously for fear of sand. The adults wouldn't actually venture onto the beach at all in fact. There were always warm hard boiled eggs too and angel cake and pink wafers. We had a little camping gaz stove and a kettle for tea. It would take all afternoon to boil. My Gran (bless her) would sit there on her deck chair all day in her Sunday Best Coat and Chapel hat despite the blistering heat (1976 if you're wondering - we might be the wettest place in Britain now but we did have sun once I'm certain).
Ps just eaten a custard (or iced) slice. Is that soggy cream cracker on the bottom? Could they go in the venn diagram between crackers and cakes? Loved the book.
|Nicey replies: Splendid we now have beans, soup and gravy as Thermos contents, but I'm willing to accept weirder ones, porridge perhaps?
As for the bases of Custard slices I had always assumed that this was puff pastry that had been transformed by the immense humidity and pressure exerted by an inch and a quarter of custard, into a strange slighty glassy substance. Perhaps custard slices are a model of some geological processes such as the laying down of sedimentary rocks, or the earth's lithosphere.
Jacob's Orange Club Review
|Dear Nicey and crew|
Talking of family holidays and what might accompany you in your thermos flasks. My lasting memories of travelling to South Wales in the summertime in the 1960s always conjures up the road side stops, when you pulled into the lay-by (alongside a few other folk travelling to the seaside), opened up the boot, and Mum would produce loads of Tupperware boxes, filled with sandwiches, tomatoes, apples, Club biscuits (generally a bit sticky cos they'd melted), etc. We generally had a nice bit of Madeira cake too. It might have been the height of summer, but there was also a thermos or two of soup (one filled with cream of tomato and the other vegetable or minestrone (quite continental for us at the time!)). Grown ups of course had their thermos of tea - we youngsters had blackcurrant cordial. Fantastic!
PS: As I recall, our thermos flasks tended to have some kind of tartan pattern on the outside.
|Nicey replies: Yes our flask icon is intended to show some tartan action. Our new flask as seen in the last newsletter is one of those new fangled brushed metal ones but we do like it none the less. Which reminds me we really should write another newsletter.|