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||About thirty years ago when I lived in Germany I was puzzled to discover that THEY DID NOT HAVE KETTLES. This may have been a result of continuing postwar austerity, for what they did have were electric kettle elements of varying lengths (called Tauchsieder - diving boilers) which you plunged into specially shaped tall narrow metal pots. Someone must have realised the intense danger, as well as the energy-wastefulness, of this as they have now been largely superseded by real kettles - indeed many kettles are now made in Germany or by German firms, another example of a fine British idea that we failed to develop properly. However you can still buy Tauchsieder in Switerland. I was shown a selection in the electrical store in Altdorf only a fortnight ago, although I did not purchase one. There was a British equivalent, known as the Travel Boiler, made (probably abroad) by Pifco. Ours (actually my wife's) has travelled faithfully to many continents, but died in Italy, which perhaps explains why I was prowling around the electrical store in a small but very clean Swiss village.|
Since I mentioned Switzerland, Lake Lucerne still has a fleet of early twentieth century paddle steamers (www.lakelucerne.ch). My gradually failing memory insists that these are powered by magnificent Sulzer compound engines, the workings of which can be viewed from a special platform at the centre of the ship, and which were designed with an integral tea boiler. It would be my contention that these can lay claim to be the world's most impressive kettles, although the tea-boilers are no longer used for this (or any other) purpose. I last travelled on one of these steamers over ten years ago - maybe one of your Swiss readers could offer an update on this?
Nice book - recommend for Christmas presents.
|Nicey replies: I had a Czech friend who had one of those travel boilers, which he would reheat tea with. This always made my head spin as I tried to figure out exactly which aspect of this was the most life threatening, death by electrocution, fire, exploding shards of mug, or just really awful putrid tea.
Terrific to hear about the fleet of giant floating kettles, I wonder if they have some kind of toaster facility built in as well. You could steam around Switzerland drinking tea and eating crumpets. I want to go every like that from now on, perhaps we can modify our diesel Peugeot 306 to do this.
|Did you know that Americans also eat fried oreos? The oreo is coated in a pancake batter then deep fried for about 1 minute. Confectioners sugar is then sprinkled to the cookie puff while still warm. After consumption, a visit to both the dentist and cardiologist is in order. I've never tried this so I cannot say how wonderful or nasty this is.|
|Nicey replies: Wifey has heard that they also have an Oreo's cereal which is like lots of little bits of Oreo flavoured gravel.
I must say I'm really enjoying reading your book (although it is smaller than it looks in the adverts!). Great for sampling bite-sized portions during a regular sit down and cup of tea.
I spotted this intriguing device in the latest Lakeland catalogue to fall out of my Saturday Indy -- what you're supposed to do with the rest of the packet is not made clear! Perhaps you could buy several of these and divide your packet into threes (great for those on a diet!).
|Nicey replies: Fred,
Glad you like the book, its meant to be small and cuddly.
Those biscuit boxes look really handy. Some rectangular ones for Custard creams, Bourbons, Shortcakes and Garibaldis would be good as well. A brief case with a moulded foam insert that could hold say 24 of them would be nice. That way you could always travel tooled up with a full selection of biscuits which could be deployed at a moments notice.
I read with distress the plight of Michele Simkins of Portland in Oregon. Through your fine website I thought I might offer her some suggestions.
Decent biscuits are available here, though you will have to do a little hunting for them.
The real classics (Hob-Nobs, Digestives etc) can be found at a small shop in Lake Oswego, just off the main street ('A' Street I think it is imaginatively named). It is called "Lady Di's" or some such twee name, but they do have the goods. They also sell some proper choccy, so I would hurry round before I nab it all. There is also a shop on the main street in Newberg (heading East) that has all kinds of things British. I can't remember the name of the shop, but they have a Scottish 'Lion Rampant" displayed in the window.
You can also buy decent biscuits at "Cost Plus" in Washington Square, just across from Barnes and Noble.
As for tea; Winco sell Tetley teabags. I know they are not the best, but they are light years ahead of Liptons.
If you keep your eyes peeled, you can also pick up the odd gem at Grocery Outlet. This is one of the few, though very intermittent, sources of blackcurrant jam in the US.
|Nicey replies: Thanks Ian very helpful.|
McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive Review
|Dear Nicey (if that's your real name),|
I thought you might appreciate this tale of a visit to Waterstones, a copy of your book "A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down", and the power of coincidence. It happened this lunchtime, and I am still in shock.
To cut a long story of aimless ambling short, I was flicking through said book in said Wasterstones, and stopped to read one completely random page. Imagine my astonishment to find that it contained an in-depth discussion of a Bagpuss episode featuring the Marvellous Mechanical Mouse Mill, a horror story that I consider the equal of anything by Poe. I remember to this day the severe trauma I felt as a child when the whole enterprise was revealed as an Enron-style fantasy. In fact, it is my only memory of that portion of my childhood. I attribute this to the sheer power that biscuits have over the brain. To know that someone else has suffered like myself is more reassuring than you can imagine. For that, I thank you sir. Perhaps you should set up a support group?
I ought to add that I didn't buy the book in question, but it has been placed firmly atop my Christmas list, and that's pretty much legally binding.
I remain, etc.,