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|Barbara Elizabeth Stewart
In perusing your lovely archives, I came across a bit of contradictory reviewing and what appears to be bit of nationalistic bias in your assessments.
This is an excerpt from your review of (British) custard creams"
"It's a little known fact that the incisor teeth of the male human are specially adapted to prize apart the two biscuits of the custard cream so that the tasty cream layer can be got at."
And this is a review of the (American) oreos.
"The pack absurdly comes with eating instructions, of which there are six stages. I won't detail them all but basically you are encouraged to wrench the thing into its component parts. What is the point of assembling it in the first place if you have to take it all to bits to eat it? "
I can't stand oreos, either (sickly sweet cream and acrid chocolate) and I agree that the proliferating cutesy tendency of box-copywriters to explain how to eat crackers and cookies is irritating. (Cheez-Its describes the supposed aerodynamics of the four pinpricks in each cracker and then, in tiny print, presumably to fend off ligitation, informs the consumer that it's just joking.)
But fair is fair. Either it's sensible to pry a cream cookie apart to get at the "tasty" layer or it's pointless to assemble it if you have to "take it all to bits to eat it." You can't say it's all right for the English cookies and stupid for the American ones.
|Nicey replies: Well spotted so here is my heartfelt defense..
How many americans actually have to refer to the instructions on the side of the pack in order to consume their Oreos? I'm guessing none. This is why they are absurd.
The difference is really apparent when we consider the target beverages. A Custard Cream, built for tea, may be dunked in hot cuppa when whole and so comes ready to rock and roll. The Oreo on the other hand gets involved with a glass of milk at stage 4 or 5 I think according to the instructions, which means it would be more convenient if they were shipped disassembled and flat packed Ikea style ready for business.
One can choose to dismantle a Custard Cream should you wish, or to eat some other way, it's your choice. I don't slavishly have to take apart every Custard Cream I eat. In fact I mostly eat them whole. However, with the Oreo it has a diagram on the side of the pack telling you to do this. You see? Custard Cream, you choose what to do, Oreo, apparently a mandatory dismantling and cream licking rigmarole.
A bit of useless information (!!) following on from the article written by Liz Barwell regarding the disappearance of Osborne biscuits.
While researching my family tree I discovered that my great grandfather, Henry Short, was a biscuit maker and owned Serpells of Reading...I'm told that it was him that actually invented Osborne biscuits. The family sold out to Huntley & Palmer (or whatever they were called in the early days!) at least 50 years ago...so blame them for Osborne's demise!! A bit more useless information to throw around the tea table...Henry was also Mayor of Reading in the late 1920's...could this appointment have been due to the biscuits?!
|Nicey replies: Not useless to us, even if it does conflict with my completely fabricated story that Queen Victoria invented them whilst staying on the Isle of Wight. Actually fifty years ago would have been only about 10 or 15 years before H&P merged with Peek Frean to form Associated biscuits, and about 100 years since the company was founded in Reading. The Butter Osborne certainly made it into 1970's.|
Tunnocks Tea Cake Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey|
Firstly, let me say how great it is to see your site continuing to blossom and grow in the way it has, and I really do hope that it continues to do so in the future!
And regarding Tunnock's tea cakes, I'm suprised that no one has said this yet, but their combination of micron thin chocolate, and the soft foamy mallow consistency opens up a whole world of tea table fun (seriously, ALMOST as good as pant toast)!
Firstly, handle the teacake very carefully whilst unwrapping it, you need to have perfectly intact chocolate shell. Then, hold the teacke gently in the palm of your hand, and pressing the nail of your other hand against the shell, twist it gently so that you drill through the chocolate. Then turn the tea cake around, and do the same on the opposite side. then simply put your lips to one of the holes and blow! What results is a creamy white mallow fountain, that comes through the hole, and slowly snakes down the side of the teacake, hours of fun guarunteed (well, guaruntedd for sad cases like me anyway).
For variations on the trick, make lots of little holes on the side and top of the tea cake, for an impressive sychronised mallow display, or only create one hole, and then blow into the teacake untill the chocolate shell pops! Fantastic!
Have fun, and keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: Well done. What you suggest is probably even messier than a Tim Tam Slam, and is a valuable contribution to biscuit eating culture. Be simultaneously sticky and proud.
||Dear Nicey, Wifey and all|
Firstly, may I add my small voice to the huge numbers of congratulations you receive on the continuing magnificence of your website?
Secondly, I'm in a quandary about how to manage the tea and coffee drinking needs of my team. We currently use a 1.8 litre kettle which just fills up a round of six mugs, which is most handy as there are six people in the office who partake. However, we are shortly to gain two new staff and the capacity of the kettle will clearly not suffice to make one round in one go. I would be very grateful for your advice, or advice from any other reader, as to whether anyone is aware of any reasonably-priced kettles on the market which are large enough to fill up to eight mugs at a time? Is a "two kettle" solution appropriate here, as etiquette and common decency surely preclude making two people wait for a second boiling? Would anyone recommend an urn in this situation?
Do keep up the good work
With many thanks and kind regards to you all
|Nicey replies: Alasdair,
You may require a slight change to your work routines as the approach I've often used to this problem is to 'hang out' in the kitchen for a bit whilst making tea, possibly in the company of somebody agreeable. The most sensible approach is to make two cups for yourselves then make everybody else's. Whilst doing so you will be free to chat about the important issues of the day, possibly even work related if you are particularly driven individuals. Of course most kitchens don't offer seating so it's not going to be an ideal set up. You can use the lack of sit downs to counter accusations of slacking off in the kitchen. If however your new regime is gathering acceptance you might want to consider asking for a couple of bar stools. It is important to remember that time spent away from ones desk talking to others in your company is not wasted time, and provides valuable opportunities to exchange ideas over the kettle.
Other than that you may want to consider one of those water boiler things that go on the wall, but it seems a bit OTT for eight people.
||Re Noah's broken biscuits the Home Bargains chain of shops - www.homebargains.co.uk (or ‘the cheapy shop’ as it’s known in our house) sells broken biscuits in one of those 400g plastic wrapped box efforts – I’ve never had them, but they have pictures of all kinds of biccies on the wrapper, even chocolate coated fingers!|
|Nicey replies: Yes I did think about 'value/pound' shops but decided to keep it simple. Nanny Nicey lives in the cheap shop capital of South Wales, Bridgend (a small market town) which last time I visited it had 6 of them, which included a three story high Wilkinson and a vast purpose built Pound-Stretcher. I'm simultaneously impressed and dismayed by it.