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||Hi there, |
As a novice to the world of biscuits I am in urgent need of some guidance.
Yesterday at work I availed myself of a cup of coffee and pack of biscuits (Cadbury snack shortcakes to be precise) from our vending machine. Upon retuning to my desk I proceeded to unwrap the biscuits, dunk and taste. Very satisfying.... or so I thought. Little did I realise that I was under the ever watchful eye of my collegues who, upon seeing my actions gave a gasp of shock and disbelief.
What could be wrong with my quite normal biscuit behaviour you may well ask as indeed I did myself. It seems that the schoolboy error lay in the fact that my biscuits were chocolate covered.
Please do not be too hasty to judge. In view of this incident I would be most obliged for some advice. Is dunking chocolate covered biscuits breaking some kind of tea break etiquette or unspoken biscuit rule?
|Nicey replies: Rob,
The dunking of chocolate biscuits has long been frowned upon as poor manners, however, in recent years it has begun to become more socially acceptable. Just recently as reported in our last newsletter the McVitie's Chocolate Caramel came tops in poll of over 350,000 people. Personally I think its messy and a bit futile in the case of entirely coated biscuits.
In you specific case I would think your colleague would be better advised to direct his energies to worrying about the fact that you to have to drink stuff made by a vending machine.
Tunnocks Wafer Review
|Gray Dunn Caramel wafers were around in the eighties and early nineties. I know this for sure cos my mum gave my brother one of those away to school with him every year between about oh, lets see...1980-1992? I don't know if they were discontinued or not but they were horrible - they weren't really caramelly, the wafer was too brown, and they distinctly lacked chewiness. The putative "caramel" was in fact a sort of 'orrible caramelly tasting cream. Not nice. Plus they looked deceptively like the Great God of chocolate wafers, the Tunnocks, in the sense that they had sort of reddy-gold retro packaging. Cunning, but evil. To Mike Lewis, I would say if you live in Scotland it is worth going to Henry Healy near the Barras in Glas Vegas where as well as square sliced sausages you can buy bags of naked caramel wafers, devoid of chocolate, which look to have come straight from Tunnocks in Uddingston, perhaps as rejects - lacking the uniformity required for chocolate coating and wrapping....They are so chewy they can silence the average toddler (or pensioner) for upwards of a year and you get enough for a pound to build a log cabin. Although you'd be better using Caramel Logs for that as they are stinking too. Toasted coconut - madness. |
|Nicey replies: You seem to have complex and mixed feelings about wafer biscuits.|
Graham cracker Review
First let me say how much I adore the site. I read each day at my desk with my cup of tea (PG Tips) and biscuit of the day. As engineer I am a bit regimented so I have a biscuit of the day. Monday's are ginger nut day as I find the zing exactly right to shock me awake from my lazy weekend but I digress. I too am an American but having been introduced by my grandmum to digestive biscuits at an early age, I always preferred them to our graham cracker (except on S'mores at GirlGuide Camp). I am writing because I am concerned at your lack of sleep due to your wonderment of the straight edges and un-rolled ends on graham crackers. I would not want a lack of sleep and slumber to interfere with your Christmas Biscuit Review duties nor the round of holiday functions with Wifey and the Younger Staff. Graham crackers are indeed baked on a large single sheet then, while still warm and pliable, the crackers are cut to form the long rectangles you and Wifey took from the box. The serrated divisions and "steam holes" are formed in the last stage before baking. The ends/left overs are used to make graham cracker crumbs for baking or handed out to Girl Guides on tour munch on delightfully whilst visiting the gift shop at the biscuit factory. So fear not the waste and go back to bed.
|Nicey replies: Dear Snddsn,
Thanks for that info. Actually I've just got up.
Graham cracker Review
I just finished reading your Graham cracker page. Add me to the list of Americans who had no idea what a Digestive was [until I read about it on your web site] but had known about Graham crackers for well over half a century. Graham crackers were a staple of my youthful diet and a treat through middle years and into my 'rusty' years. They are also a staple for my grand kids. They are the ever-ready between meal snack which keeps little ones quiet.
Graham crackers come in a couple varieties that I know of. Plain, as pictured on your web page, and with a cinnamon-sugar topping on one side. I personally prefer the cinnamon-sugar ones. I have not seen the apple and chocolate ones you mention... but I have never looked for them either.
Graham crackers are one of the three ingredients of Smores, or S'mores. Smores is a contraction of the words some more, as in I want s-more. Smores are almost a 'necessity' while sitting around the evening campfire when camping.
Do a web search for more Smores web pages.
While the photo [on your web page] of the Nabisco Grahams box shows jam on a Graham cracker, I do not recall ever seeing anyone eating that combination.
Graham crackers make a good topping when squished in the hand and sprinkled over a bowl of ice cream. They add a nice random crunchiness to the ice cream and a flavor contrast of grain to milk product.
My favorite topping for Graham crackers is about an equal mix of peanut butter and honey. A small round bottom tea cup or coffee cup makes a nice mixing container. I take a few knife fulls of peanut butter and scrape it into the cup by dragging the knife blade across the cup lip. Alternately, you can put a spoon full in the cup, but then you wind up using your finger to scrape the peanut butter out of the spoon, and then the spoon to scrape off your finger. Once the peanut butter is in the cup, I add honey using my eyeball to 'measure' when there is about an equal amount of peanut butter and honey. Then stir it with the knife until it is well blended. You can then add more of either ingredient to suit your taste, or make the consistency spreadable. Once mixed, it is spread atop a Graham cracker. I usually have milk with it, but tea or coffee would do as well... depending on your personal preference. Smooth peanut butter works better for spreading. No peanut pieces for the spreading knife to bounce over. But crunchy peanut butter will work too... if you like the spread layer thicker.
Both my kids and grand kids like to dunk Graham crackers in a glass of milk or a cup of hot chocolate.
I followed a link from Andy Edward's Music web site to visit your web site.
Curiosity question: What kind of tea do you Brits prefer? Unless I am mistaken, if one orders 'tea' at a restaurant here in the US, you will get black pekoe as the 'standard tea'. However many places now bring a bread basket style container with an assortment to choose from. Just curious if you ordered a 'cup of tea', what kind it would be. Is there a 'standard tea' which is usually served in the UK?
Spokane Washington USA
|Nicey replies: Hi Leo,
Thanks for that very informative mail about Graham Crackers. We had smores explained to us the other evening by an American girl, whilst we were down in London for the evening. We repaid her kindness by forcing her to eat a several things she had never encountered before including Jaffa Cakes and Tunnocks Wafers. She seemed to enjoy it although she couldn't finish the Tunnocks so I made her wrap it up again and pop it in her bag so she could have it in the morning.
As to what tea we drink, well that really comes down to brands, but you are essentially right about it being standard tea. All the leading everyday teas are blends of various black teas from India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. These are carefully blended to give each brand its own particular taste, although they are all broadly similar. The leading brands are Tetley, PG Tips, TyPhoo, Yorkshire Tea and so forth. The supermarket chains also have their own blends with Sainsbury's and the Coop both being highly regarded. As you probably know all our teas are designed for drinking with milk. I suppose that if you mixed up some Celyon, Assam and Kenyan teas in the right proportions you could create something fairly close to any of our well known brands. The trick is to blend the tea to suit the water. It was common to ship water from Manchester to the tea plantations in India so the tea could be blended correctly before it ever left there.
If you ever visit the UK you simply just have to ask for 'tea' and that's what you'll get. A couple of Digestives wouldn't go a miss either.
||I actually one of these people who thinks quite a lot about the designs of things and it constantly amazes me how bad kettles and teapots can be. As far as kettles go, we've seen ones where the vents let the stream out onto your hand and ones which tend to slurp hot water everywhere when you pour from them. Teapots seem equally poorly designed most of the time, it's all style over function. Most of them are either far too small or have a spout that either dribbles horribly or is so narrow that if the teapot is full, you can't pour the tea without it coming out of the lid first.|
The best designed kettle I've come across is the Tefal Vitesse 1.7L. The flat element means no scale, it boils in about 1/2 the time of most kettles and it doesn't dribble at all. It has a simple auto-switch off feature when you lift it from the base and doesn't take ages to slot it back onto the connection. Quite simply 10/10 for proper functional design.
As for teapots, we currently have a £3.99 one from Woolworths (although whilst is doesn't drip, it slurps tea everywhere if you swish it around). We are still on the look out for a good teapot though.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, why not have a league table of best/worst teapots and/or kettles. Let people submit reviews and rate them. Maybe that way I'd eventually find a teapot that isn't naff!
Great site, keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: David,
I expect you're right. Of course a really well designed website would probably have a kettle/teapot voting and rating engine with dynamic kettle point allocation. Alas on ours you just have to trawl through stacks of seemingly random emails from people banging on about what they like and don't like. In fact you'll probably need two cuppas just to get through it all, and 3 or 4 biccys. Still, at least there is a kettle icon, we didn't even have one of those until recently.
Still come the new year maybe we'll kick off "Functional teapot" month.