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|Hello again, Nicey|
Well....what a turnup for the books! Further to my recent communication regarding the forthcoming demise of the Lincoln, I spotted a pack...in, of all places, Sainsburys in Godalming! There it was, sat all alone in about half a foot of shelf space...so I grabbed it! When I asked Customer Services about their stocks, they did seem to think that they may be getting more in but they couldn't guarantee anything.
A close examination of the pack revealed a BBE date of April 07, so it would appear that these biscuits have a potential shelf life of around 4 months. My plan then, is to buy up some reserves as and when I can and try to preserve them in edible condition for as long as possible. Your good self being, I presume, an expert on such matters - what advice can you give me for storage of biscuits in the best possible condition? My thoughts are an airtight biscuit tin with a sack of silica gel (several of which I shall, no doubt, find amongst electronic products under the Christmas tree this year!).
I remember my Granny, sadly departed from this life now, having a rather nice copper-coloured biscuit tin with a silica gel insert in the lid...every few weeks this would be popped in the oven to refresh it. This kept her biscuits in fine fettle and there was always something very special about being allowed 'something from the tin, Pet'. As the lid popped off the tin, the little puff of 'biscuity aroma' was a joy to inhale. My brother and I often fought over who would get first whiff. What with this and her saving up all the cards from the PG Tips (we only visited a couple of times a year due to distance), or Monkey Tea as it was known, stays with Granny were something special.
To this day, the smell of a well loved and regularly used biscuit tin still evokes happy childhood memories of Granny's kitchen...memories enhanced by closing my eyes and indulging in a little dunking session with a good cuppa and of course, a Lincoln!
Cheers Nicey, and my best regards to you and Wifey this Yuletide season.
|Nicey replies: Hello again Mike,
Yes its quite common to find 4-5 month BBE dates on biscuits when one actually has cause to take notice. It is in the nature of NCOTAASD's mission to have to sample biscuits which are very close to or have actually passed their BBE date. The simple truth is the fresher they are the better, and particularly for shortcake biscuits like the Lincoln which seem to hold up the least well compared such things as Garibaldis and Gingernuts.
I think you are probably doing about all you can possibly do. Excluding moisture, light and extremes of heat are about the best one could hope for. Maybe a protective atmosphere of pure nitrogen gas (as in crisp packets) if you have any compressed nitrogen and hermetically sealing vessels with valves to hand. Even with all of this the biscuits will still go off caused by inevitable and irreversible chemical changes. Indeed one of the arguments that kept biscuit manufacturers using hydrogenated fats for so long was that they prolonged the shelf life of the product.
These modern twilight Lincolns will have none of that. Devoid of hydrogenated fat, the last of a great and majestic dynasty of patterned shortcake biscuits. Like the giant Sauropods at the end of the Cretaceous Period 65 Million years ago, going about their business on the shelves of Sainsbury's unaware that they are about to be wiped out by the dispassionate comet of de-listing.
Perhaps they'll continue to find a place in that great seasonal biscuit assortment the Family Circle selection tin, (only its a plastic box nowadays) along side the Gypsy Cream
Just a quick one. I was perusing my local supermarket shelves just the other day, and from out of (apparently) nowhere, a thought popped into my head...Lincoln biscuits!
I remember these from my childhood, not for any particular reason other than they regularly appeared in the selection of biscuits lurking in the larder after me Mam had been shopping! I made a concerted effort to look for some in Sainsburys and Tescos but to no avail. The whereabouts of said comestible began bugging me so today (06/12/2006) I phoned the McVities Customer Careline for help.
I was informed by a very helpful young lady that the one factory manufacturing Lincolns suffered major flood damage a couple of years back, and that since then production had been moved to another plant but on a much smaller scale. Between the flood and the new production, major chains were unable to order these biscuits in 'mass' quantities, so took this product off their shelf-plan. When production in limited amounts resumed, major stores were no longer willing to introduce what they saw as a discontinued product - shelf layouts being very carefully planned months in advance.
I was advised that the biscuit IS still manufactured, but is only likely to be found in smaller independent corner shops or the smaller food chains. The bad news is that, according to McVities, they will be 'delisted' from their portfolio in early 2007.
If you can find a pack of Lincolns, and enjoy a 'dotty moment'....grab them while you can, for they will vanish in the next couple of months.
I urge Lincoln fans througout the UK to write to McVities and urge them to reconsider their decision to stop production and to pester their local corner shops to stock these icons of the British tea-break!
|Nicey replies: Mike,
Thanks for passing this on. Will this torment ever cease? I imagine that McVities moved production from flood stricken Carlise to their newly acquired Jacobs factories in Liverpool. Once again an object lesson in the extraordinary power of the large supermarket chains dealing with large manufacturers to actually snuff out products.
|The Lincoln biscuit is alive and well in our local Sainsburys, it is now called 'Lincoln Shortbread' but packet looks the same as always and they taste the same.|
|Nicey replies: Thank you for this important information.|
Biscuit memorabilia? This poses many questions, indeed the mind boggles as to what Alison Russell might have in her collection. Apart from some very nice tins and packaging, what could there be apart from the product itself?
Unless "memorabilia" is a euphamism for biscuit related memories, fondly stored in the deeper recesses of one's mind. As I'm sure I've told you, having worked as a sales rep for McVities in the late sixties (my first job, I'm not that ancient) I do have one or two. And had I had the foresight to realise that one day, physical items would become de rigeur to collect, I could have harboured quite a collection of artefacts, which no doubt would now fetch a fortune on E-bay.
The first item that comes to mind is the bowler hat I was supposed to wear. "Sets a McVities man apart from the rest" I was told (yeah, I know what you're thinking). Then the numerous product promotional offer gifts, where biscuit munchers were invited to enclose tokens from the packets and get a cheap bone china tea service, coffee pot, instamatic camera, etc. I also had a nice Digestive tea caddy once, with oriental decoration - I wonder what happened to it. Plus some interesting display material, enough to account for a large chunk of rain forest. Add to that a Mk 1 Ford Escort with 33,000 miles on the clock after nine months (apparently this was my fault, although I was relief salesman on an area stretching from Luton to the Humber) and you have the makings of a small museum.
I could have used my instamatic to take photos of all the village shops I visited which are no longer there, together with multiples with long forgotten names - International Stores, Liptons, Home and Colonial, Maypole, Key Markets, Cunsumers Tea Co - not to mention the Co-op, which was king. These of course, were gentler days, when you could take your girlfriend to the pictures, have a couple of pints afterwards and fish and chips, and still have change from a shilling (well, a pound note.)
I was sent up to Lincoln a few times, but I don't remember Lincolns selling any better there than anywhere else. There were some local preferences though. Rich Marie sold very well in Bedford because of the Italian community, and Digestives and Chocolate Homewheat in Cambridge because of the undergraduates. Thin Arrowroots sold well in Grimsby, but I never found out why. Perhaps it had something to do with fish.
Does anyone else have memories like mine? Or should I send for the men in white coats?
|Nicey replies: I too had slight boggling, which was a cunning sub-text to my suggestion that she sent a picture of her collection to us.
My Dad always maintained that he could go for a good Friday night out on 50p circa 1970.
|I come from Lincoln and am very proud of the Lincoln biscuit as it is very distinctive and has a unique flavour. I now live in Scotland and can have a slight problem in getting them locally although the supermarkets do sell them. I am interested in any memorabilia that you would have on the Lincoln Biscuit as I collect this and it would help me to further my collection. I fyou have any information that could help me please e mail|
|Nicey replies: I'm very impressed that you have Lincoln biscuit memorabilia at all, ours doesn't extend further than a few crumbs and the odd empty packet. Perhaps if you could forward a group photo of your collection it would inspire us all to biscuit memorabilia collecting too. Or perhaps some of us have some Lincoln biscuit memorabilia in the family and never realised it, presumably its covered in little bumps and has Lincoln written on it?|