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Wagon Wheel Review
I am writing to ask if you could please make wagon wheels suitable for vegetarians and with no gelatine as i love it and am unable to purchase them now because they contain gelatine.
So could you please make them suitable for vegetarians.
Yours Sincerely T. Maryam.
P.s I look forward to your reply.
|Nicey replies: Hello T. Maryam,
I'm flattered that you think that I, a mere bloke with a website, could hold sway over the contents of the legendary Wagon Wheel. I share your enthusiasm for it too, however, it is not within my limited powers to grant you your wish, nor I suspect Burton's who actually make them. The gelatine based mallow of the Wagon Wheel which has already in recent years undergone significant revisions to both its biscuits and coating is the last bastion of retro biscuit engineering left in the product. To fiddle with this bit because of your dietary choices would be the straw that broke the camels back. So I'm afraid you will have forgo them along with, strawberry jelly, trifles, fruit fools, marshmallows, chocolate teacakes and pigs trotters.
|Dan and Laura
Wagon Wheel Review
I have been a fan of your site (and book) for a long time, and today I took some time to peruse more of the fantastic site - including the 'your views' section, which previously I had avoided (why would I want to read the views of a bunch of amateurs when so much wisdom from a connsumate professional is on offer?). But today I did, and enjoyed the experience so much I was drawn to email you on a couple of topics.
As I drifted into the debate on wagon wheels, I was reminded that my mother hated them. 'They taste stale, with sickly horrible marshmallow and a yukky coating' she used to say, on the few occaisions when we coudl persuade her to buy them for us as children. Re-reading your review, I laughed out loud, becuase that is indeed exactly what they taste like - but then somehow transcend all that to become rather nice. I guess my mum just never got through the individual bits to appreciate the whole. Anyway, I also remembered that she discovered another interesting property of wagon wheels when she was young - and that is that you can't flush them down the toilet. She was given one once at a party as a treat, and being too scared (or polite) to say she didn't want one in case it sounded ungrateful she took it. After one bite she realised that she was going to be unable to finish it, so took it to the bathroom and tried to dispose of it down the toilet. However, it remained floating in full view despite more and more frantic attempts to flush it away. I'm not sure if the more recent model has a similar property; it would seem rather a waste to find out though.
We have recently moved to Australia, and I have used your site a few times to educate Aussie's about the various elements of British tea and biscuits. Luckily Australia is far from a barren land when it comes to biscuits, with Arnotts making some really rather good examples. Good tea is harder to come by; we actually get friends to bring out PG Tips from the UK when they come and visit. Interestingly the Australians I work with really like it too, pronouncing it nicer than their local brands. Perhaps there is a ripe export market there?
Finally, on the topic of Arnotts biscuits, I am always very excited when an Arnotts review appears on your site. Whilst I can understand you want to limit the number of reviews you do of biscuits not widely distributed in the UK, it would be great if you culd include a few more - I'd be happy to send some over to you (and yes, Queensland Ginger Nuts are quite different to NSW ones; we bought some when there on holiday to see if it was true). In fact, I ate an entire packet of Arnotts Lemon Crisps for lunch today - a sensational biscuit featuring a genius touch of salt on the top. The missus thinks they are revolting, and taste like washing-up liquid, but I think they are nice and lemony. I think biscuits that spark such fierce debate are interesting, don't you?
Anyway, keep up the good work, and many thanks for creating such an entertaining site that is refreshingly free of banner ads.
|Nicey replies: Dan,
Thanks for sharing your Mother's difficult and somewhat embarrassing adolescent Wagon Wheel memories with us. Although this has obviously left its mark on her and indeed is now something that the whole family must bare, I feel that such information could be put to good use. Perhaps the plot for a movie in which desperate souls escape a sinking ship by clinging to its buoyant cargo of Wagon Wheels. I hope it's not necessary to unwrap them first as that could be tricky in an unfolding disaster scenario. Then again it could add dramatic tension.
We are always happy to review Arnotts biscuits when we get our hands on them, and yes we like biscuits that get people talking.
Also glad to hear that your supply of PG Tips is being appreciated down under.
Wagon Wheel Review
I was fortunate enough to discover your wonderful book on the back seat of a friends car and I have never enjoyed a 30 minute car journey more. The next day I went out and bought a copy on Amazon (well not so much went out then more diverted 10 minutes when I was at work to go on line, but you get the point)
Anyway I digress from the purpose of this e-mail. When my brother and I were younger and had packed lunches to take to school we would have some kind of sweet biscuit snack, the usual penguins, clubs, wagon wheels etc. well we found that in summer and in an age of no aircon we would open our lunch snacks to discover that the chocolate had melted and therefore spoilt our sweet snacks (please note that we still ate them though). Now my mum is a resourceful woman and came up with the idea of freezing our lunch bars, then in the 3 or so hours between them being added to the morning lunches and us opening them at noon they would have defrosted enough for us to eat them chilled and un-melted.
When my brother and me were on school holiday we discovered that or mum did not revert to keeping the biscuit treats in the cupboard but kept them in the freezer! This meant they were not available to eat off hand but had to be defrosted first, until my brother one hungry day at home discovered something that still baffles me to this day. You can eat frozen Wagon Wheel! Where we were expecting a cold and frozen biscuit and centre, we just had good old Wagon Wheel, granted it was cold but it was not properly frozen! And what’s more it was very nice indeed because the chocolate was flaky, the biscuit slightly more resistant and the marshmallow was perfect. At the end of our holiday we went back to school and mum soon discovered that instead of several multi packs of wagon wheels there were only two loose ones left.
And finally the point of the e-mail, being a man of science I was hoping that maybe you could explain why Wagon wheels do not freeze?
All the best
|Nicey replies: Hoorah! for our book sculling around in the back seat of cars.
Anyhow as you know Wagonwheels of old were quite unlike anything else on the planet before or since. So it comes as little surprise to find out that they had unique physical properties. Perhaps if you had thought of it at the time you could have continued your investigations and seen if they fluoresce under ultra-violet light or if finely divided Wagonwheels (technically crumbs I suppose) could act as the catalyst in something like the Haber-Bosch process.
I doubt if a modern Wagonwheel would be any good as they are made with conventional components like chocolate and so forth.
Wagon Wheel Review
|A few years ago I visited the Opie Museum of Advertising and Packaging at Gloucester (closed now, I understand). In the 50s gallery there was a large collection of biscuits in their packaging, including wagon wheels. I announced in a purposefully loud voice "It's true, they were bigger in those days!", a view readily agreed to by other contemporaries in the gallery. For, yes, the proof is out there. The Opie Collection has an original wagon Wheel, and it is vast.|
|Nicey replies: We have heard anecdotal evidence that the initial 1950's Wagon Wheels were bigger, and so you have lent this considerable credence now. It would be interesting to know if it did have the same diameter as the primal Australian Westons Wagon Wheel that we got hold of a few years back.|
Wagon Wheel Review
Love the site and the book (only about halfway through).
The reason I'm writing is my dad used to work for Burtons / Westons in Slough, so I have knowledge of the dark arts of biscuitry from these climes.
I'll start with a nice simple one :
The used to sell reject wagon wheels to the staff. They came in bags of 30! And the defects were such things as too much chocolate on, so there was at least 5mm of chocolate on the top or "offsets" where the two wafers were out of whack. We also used to get "test" batches like Strawberry, Butterscotch and other flavours. At one stage our fridge had about 90 wagon wheels in it!
|Nicey replies: What a enchanted childhood and fridge you must have had. I think that comfortably trumps 'My Dad's a traindriver/fireman/astronaut'.|