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||Hi Nicey and all @ ANCTSD,|
I'm sure you've picked up on, and are currently gathering the fallout from this Cake v biscuit story as we speak / write / er…e-mail
Surely, this has implications for consumers, producers, the tax persons and many birds / pets around the UK - a full on debate in the Commons / Lords should be undertaken to tackle this, the great biscuit / cake debate, once and for all - as it's rumbled on long enough…
How are Tunnock's reacting to the news?
Are there any implications in the Jaffa 'cake' debate?
Will customers be reimbursed for the 'mis-classification' of these biscuits?
Are there any implications in the 'reclassify cannabis' debate?
I hope you can get to the bottom of the possible implications for all of us tea and biscuit (and occasional cake) fans.
Yours (eating a Bahlsen Dip It! - Milk Crispy type)
|Nicey replies: We'll I've just written a bit for the Guardian on this!|
||I'm writing to you as an American who has recently begun a love affair with tea and biscuits, to inform you that you are much to blame.|
Although I was born and raised in the American Midwest, I've always been a bit of an Anglophile - eschewing action movies and MTV in favor of staying up late watching old BBC shows on public television.
If you have any American readers ask you where they can buy proper biscuits in the states, you should tell them to see if they have a store called "World Market" in their area. It's a chain of about 300 stores, and really the only part of the country they haven't spread to yet is the Northeast. (http://www.worldmarket.com/) They carry furniture and goods from all over the world, plus lots of tasty imported foods. I became a regular at our local World Market a year or so ago, when I discovered that they had an amazing selection of tasty European chocolate bars. I confess to being a complete Ritter Sport addict, especially the "butter cookie" and "milk chocolate hazelnut" varieties.
Then, this summer I moved into an apartment across the street from the store, and I began visiting much more frequently and trying a lot of new things. Well, really I only got as far as the biscuit aisle and have gotten hooked. I started with the Jaffa Cakes and Jammie Dodgers, but was still skeptical of the Digestive. Then I somehow stumbled upon an article about Custard Creams online a few months back, and ended up at your website.
I have always liked tea, although it is a bit sacreligious in the coffee-obsessed Pacific Northwest part of the country, where I live now. I have to confess though, that until recently I mostly drank herbal "tea", not realizing how good proper tea could be. Everyone I had ever known brewed their tea the same way - by plopping a couple tea bags into a pot and just letting it sit there forever, resulting in bitter, stewed tea. I have since learned the error of my ways (thanks to encouragement from your website and book) and now drink loads of proper tea (with milk and one sugar). I have even procured some PG Tips, which certainly is better than any American brands of tea I've tried. I've become such a tea fanatic I've even bought myself an electric kettle (brilliant! why doesn't everyone else have these?) and my friends and family think I'm crazy.
I've learned to love the digestive, of course. It's the perfect companion to tea! The selection at World Market is varied and unpredictable, but they always have plain and milk chocolate McVitie's digestives, as well as Crawford's Bourbons and Custard Creams (yummy), plus usually Penguins and Cadbury Fingers. Occasionally they will have Gingernuts, Fruit Shortcake, Garibaldis, McVitie's Chocolate Caramel, etc. I recently picked up a packet of Plain Chocolate digestives, which only make occasional appearances on the shelves. My favorite biscuit though has to be the Hob Nob. Until recently I had only tried the Milk Chocolate, but I spied the plain ones on the shelf the other day, and my are they delicious. I prefer to eat the less chocolatey-sweet biscuits at work, as too much sugar makes it hard to type straight.
I have to say that as much of a fan of Cadbury's chocolate I am, I don't like their biscuits. Too sugary for me, and not in a good way. Don't get me wrong, I like my sweets, but Cadbury's biscuits make me feel like I'm just eating spoonfuls of sugar.
This is turning into quite a long message, but I just have one more thing to add:
Regarding fruitcake in the States - I saw an expat reader of yours mention that she had noticed a certain negative attitute towards fruitcake over here. That is certainly true. Fruitcake is legendary for being an horrifically dense, overly sweet dessert that little old ladies bake and give away as Christmas gifts. The story goes that when you receive a fruitcake as a gift, you should not eat it, but rather try to pawn it off as a gift to someone else - or failing that, stick it in the back of the cupboard until next year, when you dust it off and try to give it away again. I don't know anyone that actually eats fruitcake, except for possibly some little old ladies. I may have tried some at my grandmother's house as a child, but I don't really remember. However, I did try some at a fancy tea party that I attended at a fancy hotel last Christmas, and found that it had a very strong brandy flavor, which does not appeal to me at all, and decided to avoid it in the future. Your rhapsodizing about the perfect fruitcake might make me reconsider, though, and attempt to bake my own this Christmas. Maybe.
That's all for now. Keep up the good work!
|Nicey replies: You seem to making very good progress towards a completely well balanced tea and biscuits outlook. The fruit cake will come in time. Ours is a very tasty and relatively light recipe not like those dark tarry masses that appear to have given it such a bad reputation in the US. I would have tough the Pacific North West is probably ideal fruit cake territory, providing it doesn't attract bears.
||Just to add some officialese to the "cake or biscuit" query from Sue Resner, Snowballs, Teacakes and Coconut Mallows are legally defined as cakes and not biscuits at all. This means they are zero-rated for VAT, along with our old friend the Jaffa Cake. As you've observed, the clue is in the name. Well it is for Teacakes anyway.|
At last, a site that really demonstrates what the web is for. Congratulations. I discovered it today, a good friend passed on the details. Anyway, I am after some advice, as I am at a loss as to what to do with my aberrant daughter who simply refuses to listen to sensible advice on the etiquette of bisuit eating. The problem manifests itself with complex biscuits, such as penguins and yes, even extends into jaffa cakes. She has also been known to do it with crunchie bars too.
Despite my determined efforts to explain to her the chemical design of these biscuits, and that the designer intended the subtle mix of textures and flavours to complement and contrast, to work in harmony, to add up to more than the sum of the parts, she insists on eating the things sideways. For example, with a penguin, she will nibble and dissolve the chocolate first. Then carefully detach the biscuit layer from the filling using teeth, then eat the cream filling, and finally the second biscuit layer. Similarly, Cadburys mini rolls - chocolate, cake, filling, completely distorting the flavour and mouth feel at each stage.
Whilst I fully appreciate the challenge and dexterity she masters, despite my admonishments, threats, attempts to educate her calmly, demonstrations of how it should be done - she merely thinks it funny.
What can I do to improve this erratic behaviour?
|Nicey replies: There is not a lot you can do, it's a stage she's going through, she'll grow out of it during her mid thirties, perhaps.|
|Biscuit Enthusiast Mandy
Tim Tam vs Penguin Review
|I saw the mail from Tom Alred and can, indeed, confirm that I have tried M&S extremely chocolatey mini bites.|
They are extremely chocolatey, in fact exactly as described on the plastic tub in which they are packaged. and take the form of a growth stunted mini roll, coming in varieties of orange and milk chocolate. Very rich, very sickly; but very delicious. I'm sure there are all sorts of activities to which they might lend themselves! :-)
As for the totally chocolate covered Jaffa Cakes. I have never seen those, although they sound very good indeed.
Btw, Nicey. I have now eaten about four Tim Tams and am completely smitten. Were I not due to get married in three weeks, and in dire need of fitting in a posh frock, I might investigate some other flavours. Alas, that will have to wait. :-)
|Nicey replies: Yes whilst we were at the Tim Tam launch Biscuit Enthusiast Mandy, valiantly volunteered to supervise the younger members of staff. For her bravery she received a pack of Double Coat Tim Tams which we liberated from Australia House.|