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|Pete aka Sadistician
I love tea (as the title of this email may suggest slightly), and I also produce music... Hence or otherwise I have made a tune all about Tea! You can download it from www.thecentrifuge.co.uk if you're interested. Let me know what you think if do...! The track is called 'Tea Fetish' and features my mate's mum...!
Pete aka Sadistician
P.s I was watching an episode of 'Father Ted' recently,and it involved a visiting preist being offered the choice of 'biscuit or cake' with his tea... What would you go for? (given the prerequisite of having to choose one or the other...?)
|Nicey replies: Hey Pete aka Sadistician,
Well done on the long kettle coming to the boil intro to your song, I enjoyed that part. Your friends mother however sounded a bit like she had been burning the candle at both ends.
In such a situation as cake or biscuit always go with the cake, as you'll get offered the biscuits again after you have finished the cake, in a kind of main course / pudding thing.
Also as it is St Patrick's day well done on bringing up the Farther Ted reference. I must away now to get Wifey her Guinness.
||Wonderful site - but has making tea really come to this? A tea bag? Dreadful. For instructions on "real tea" (in the same manner as "real ale") please visit our tea page|
Also a tea quiz - see link at bottom of page.
Keep up the good work.
Philip & Catheryn
|Nicey replies: Philip,
Whilst I'm very pleased to use at least four of our tea icons to go along with your mail, I would urge restraint on your part and not to descend into full blown tea fascism. A live and let live attitude is the enlightened path unless of course you are having to drink somebody else's ropey tea, then its all right to have a go especially if you are having to pay for it.
One pound forty on the P&O Dover Calais ferry for half a cup of warm water drizzled over a one cup bag with a small plastic pot of milk, now that's something to get upset about. These vessels are now effectively the very edge of British tea culture. Leaving our shores they are the last chance for a cuppa in a place that should recognise the significance of such a thing. They are also a welcoming sight for the weary travelling Brit and should be a stronghold and embodiment of mass tea provision, in a way that we can be both grateful for and proud of.
Of dear you appear to have set me off on one now.
||Hi Nicey and Wifey,|
I bought the book from Ottokars and keep randomly dipping into it for my amusement. I did not see the name of Gray Dunn with caramel wafers but my reading method might have skipped over it. I think they did a popular advertising campaign on TV at least ten years ago. Not that I like them any more than cardboard/Rivita. I endorse the assessment of the fig biscuits, they are some kind of perfection but they can go rock hard if not kept properly in a sealed biscuit tin. They don't normally last long enough to find that out.
It would be interesting to know what your readers use for biscuit tins. I have an old round one with a flower pattern on the lid but I also keep them in a modern sealable plastic container. I hear you screaming the word 'sacrilege'. I also have an old chromed biscuit barrel that I think goes back to my parents' wedding day in 1947. It has an inner container, like a little bucket, but does not hold a sufficient quantity of biscuits and it does not feel right to separate them into two places.
I hope that you don't mind but I have attached a photo of our workplace brewing area, exactly as it is every day, with its industrial teapot and messy fridge below. Mine is the KitKat mug. Note the rusty spoon and build-up of tannin in the teapot. The cleaning lady is under very strict instructions NEVER to clean the insides of the teapot. We always think it keeps the tea away from the metal and, anyway, it is probably bad luck if someone cleans it out. Out of the picture, there is a box of 100 Tetley teabags from the 'pound shop'.
The custard picture from your website is now my computer background picture. Yum!
Keep up the good work. I am enjoying the book.
|Nicey replies: Hello Jack,
That's a wonderful photo of tea making equipment, just the sort of thing I was after when I took the photos for the book. I like the brown tray underneath it all too and the reflections in the kettle. The teapot is glorious, I'm particularly impressed with the black wire handle over the spout to aid pouring. I'm also enjoying the old 10Base2 networking points behind the fridge.
Sadly we were informed a while back that Grey Dunn ceased trading in 2001 so I suppose I should really put an entry up or them in the missing in action section.
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 have recently moved jobs and am in somewhat of a dilemma. My new office has most inadequate tea making facilities. They provide PG Tips, whilst not my favourite, makes a decent brew. Instead of a kettle there is a boiler and worst of all there are no mugs or cups. Everybody uses little plastic cup that are fine for water, but donít work for tea. I like a fine bone china mug with a white inside by preference, but any old mug will do in a storm. I tried hard to get used to it, but after a week of drinking very average tea I have given up and now use the Cafť Nero across the road who do an excellent black coffee.
I am only here for a short time so I donít want to ruffle any feathers by supplying a kettle and bringing my own mug. There is a danger that my new colleagues will think I am looking down my nose at them.
Perhaps you could point me in the right direction before I become a hardened coffee drinker.
Many thanks in advance.
|Nicey replies: Mark,
Not only are little plastic cups bad for the environment but they can also lead to tea spillage, and bring that unwelcome fragrance of injection moulded Polyethylene Terephthalate to your tea. I would make a stand, point out that their tea is not up to scratch and if you upset anyone it's OK because you'll be out of there soon. I would be surprised if a few people didn't rally to your cause.