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McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive Review
Having just read your book, I was concerned that you had kept well clear of the 'which way up' issue concerning the chocolate digestive (and other such biscuits). Having just discovered your website for the first time, I am relieved to learn that there has been some debate on the matter.
I have two points to raise on the matter: Why should the top of an ordinary digestive become the bottom when there is a chocolate coating? In my opinion the delay factor of the chocolate reaching your tongue is greatly reduced if they are eaten chocolate side down, and the chocolatey taste sensation prolonged. The business of grip and grasp of said biscuit is merely a diversion: what is important is the eating/tasting experience.
To conclude, isn't it about time that the NCOTAASD website took the lead cleared the matter up once and for all? After all, you are the undisputed authority on such matters? The solution is simple: an online trial and survey. Readers should be asked to try eating a chocolate digestive one way up, and then the other; then complete an online form where they might indicate the way up that they have traditionally eaten their chocolate digestive, and their preferred way up based on the trial. If it were agreed that the experience is even better chocolate side down, then you could be responsible for changing biscuit-eating discipline for ever - and perhaps even name the process?
It has also occurred to me that there are other edibles out there suffering similar confusion, e.g. how many of us automatically open a packet of crisps so the writing on the bag is the right way up when you are eating them? Do we actually read all the small print on the bag? So why do be bother always opening it at the 'top?' Indeed, when we eat crisps communally at a pub, the packet usually sits flat on a table, and if being able to read the packet were really an issue, in such situations it should be opened at the 'bottom.'
My final plea: tasting notes for good everyday teabags (we can tackle Earl Grey etc. at a later date). Buying teabags these days seems to be like tip-toeing through a mine-field. There was a time when Sainsbury's Red Label was the answer - sadly those days are long since gone. Yorkshire teabags are not as good as they used to be, even though Taylors claim that they do not change, and even blend according to which region of the UK they are destined for. I wonder if any readers have discovered Punjana teabags which are blended in Belfast? I am happy to assist with these tasting notes.
|Nicey replies: Hello James,
When we polled people as to the right way up for chocolate biscuits we had 582 votes, 86.08% thought choc side up 8.25% were with you and 5.67% seemed to think it didn't matter. Perhaps a few of the 86% can be convinced to try them 'inverted', but we did have reports of some people trying that last time we talked about it. They said it felt disturbing.
As for tea, I notice that like ourselves you live in Cambridge and so maybe you might want to consider some form of water filtration for our grim old tap water before you start worrying what is or isn't happening to teabags. It might buy you a big margin of tea improvement, our kettle thread had lots of messages from people saying it had really worked for them.
I note the recent vigorous debate around the sound made by the teaspoon on the side of the cup. I must say I like the scientific explanation, and it makes sense to me. I’ve never noticed it on coffee, as I don’t drink the stuff, but I have noticed it on hot chocolate (generally from a single serve sachet, for experimental purposes), which has a markedly different “clunk”-type sound when you stir it. Obviously hot chocolate is, as a rule, much more viscous than a cup of tea, and so the fact that the sound is effectively trapped in the gunk of the drink stands to reason, now it has been explained to me. I’ll have to think of something else to ponder whilst stirring a cup of hot chocolate now …
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.
||Dear Biscuit People,|
I find your site a truly informative resource and am in awe of the sensible and relaxed website you have built; well done! I was particularly intrigued when I happened upon the review of the "Mikado" as I recently experienced a packet of the straw-type Mikado while on holiday in Venice. When on vacation abroad I take great delight in experiencing the everyday life of the natives, this means taking a little break from the usual fare of cafes, bars, museums, galleries and sex shops (perhaps that last one really only applies in Amsterdam) to explore the fare on offer in the local
Being a great admirer of the biscuit as a culinary genre I usually make straight for the sweet section; thus has been the case in Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and most recently Venice. When settling down at the end of a hectic day exploring the art of that most watery of Italian cities, my dear boyfriend and I sat down to try the selection of biccies I had bought from the local supermarket. There was a packet of strange Kinder things, a little like a Twix gone horribly wrong, but pleasant as a change, and a packet of Mikados.
The Mikado, in its non-marshmallow form, is a very interesting confection. Anyone who has carried out heavy-duty arc welding or has played with a sparkler on Guy Fawkes night will be at home with the general form. The milk chocolate covers a thin straw about 2mm in diameter by 8cm long leaving about 1cm uncovered at the end. The material comprising the straw is
reminiscent of a pretzel, or twiglet with all the marmite licked off, and the taste experience is indeed similar to those chocolate covered Pretzels that we saw a few years ago. The taste is pleasant, but nothing special; a little dry - the central straw seems a little "doughy" when chewed, and not completely cohesive with the chocolate covering, although the covering is quite generous. However, this would make a very sophisticated accompaniment to a cup of tea where you want to impress without risking your guests or your self becoming engrossed in the biscuits or the whole thing ending up in a pig-out. Dainty nibbling is the order of the day with the Mikado.
A packet contains some thirty or so in packaging similar to a cigarette pack, plastic covered foil retaining the biscuits freshness. I was also pleasantly impressed by the fact that only one or two had suffered damage; when one opens a box of Matchsticks, one is usually presented with a few
breakages, anything up to 15%, I would say that the Mikados suffered fewer than 5% damage. One flaw of employing the Pretzel centre is that it is no good for sucking up tea (I must admit that I took a stash of Sainsburys Red Label teabags with me, English Breakfast Tea, as sold abroad, leaves a great deal to be desired - flavour for one thing...) as it doesn't conduct the fluid.
All in all this is an intriguing take on the biscuit as it totally eschews many of the traditions of biscuit making - volume and shape being completely outside the normal parameters of most. I only wish I knew of your site before I went away as I would have brought back a selection of foreign biscuits to share with other appreciators of biscuitry. Keep up the good work, and dunk!
I do not know how you feel about hybridised biscuit/confectionaries, but I would have to heartily recommend the practice of sucking tea through a Twixel.
My Girlfriend and I tried it last night for the first time, and it was rather splendid.
My apologies if this is not considering decorum.
|Nicey replies: Yes, you are really discussing something on the very fringes of the biscuit time space continuum there. Its a confectionary matter really.|