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Rich Tea Review
Sorry to clutter up your inbox with my ramblings but I am a neophyte to this site and I have to get a few things off my chest. Having perused the site and I am puzzled as to why you harbour such a negative attitude towards the lovely Nice biscuit? When I was a toddler in the early Sixties, and my parents were struggling to raise a small family, we were fobbed off with a variety of cheap biscuits in the hope that we might actually eat them occasionally (if desperate, and at gun-point). They tried us on Rich Tea, which only demonstrate traces of something that might be described as "flavour" for the first 25 seconds after the packet is opened; they tried us on Morning Coffee, which were only a marginal improvement (and mainly due to the elaborate decoration); they tried us on Lincoln, which only provide pleasure through stroking the upper surface. Once we were given long, slim biscuits with a thin, hard, lurid, swirly pink icing on top which we liked but were declared "bad for the teeth". Eventually they hit upon Nice biscuits which were not only coconutty but had granulated sugar on top. And proper Peek Frean's Nice too, which were a lovely pure white colour and not the American Tan of the modern impostor.
I could eat an entire packet of Peek Frean's Nice right now, if you had a time machine and decided to use it for biscuit retrieval purposes, rather than world domination.
P.S. to this day my parents always have Rich Teas in our old biscuit tin with a Kingfisher painted on the lid. They are always soft and smell of damp flannels (the biscuits, not my parents). My children won't eat them either.
|Nicey replies: Its a coconut thing really. Some desiccated coconut is like wood shavings and the taste can be quite overpowering. Although in later years it seems my views on coconut may be softening somewhat I would still like to keep the Nice biscuit at a safe distance. I think this is much like old adversaries who are bound up with one another by historical events but cannot yet bring themselves to regard old foes as friends.
I can also see that given the selection of biscuits you were exposed to at a young age that something with sugar on top would have been magnificent and an instant hit. People often forget in our modern days of excess that such simple things were once genuine treats. I still think of the fruit shortcake in much the same way as biscuit whose cup runneth over with bountiful goodness.
At the risk of being shot down in flames of derision and contempt, I'm finally sticking my head above the parapet and expressing my astonishment at finding on your estimable site no mention of two extremely toothsome treats of my close acquaintance. Made by some esoteric outfit calling themselves The Biscuit Collection, and seemingly fairly widely available in supermarkets, (local branches of Sainsbury & Aldi to name but two widely diverse extremes of the retail spectrum) the treasures to which I refer are Apple Pie Cookies and their slightly less memorable stablemate Brownie Cookies.
Yes, I'm aware the unfortunate presence of the C word does them no favours with you and your many discerning contributors, but it's hard to avoid in a climate of US Cultural Imperialism and Carpet Marketing. However I truly believe these to be little gems and deserving of your attention. I'd defend their undoubted biscuity qualities before the highest court in the land.
I may of course have entirely missed an extended correspondence on the matter, and I can't help an uneasy qualm arising at Adam's oblique reference to 'those bloody awful Apple and Cinnamon jobbies from Asda', but I would welcome your expert assessment of these unsung delights at some juncture.
I can't imagine you'd have a problem tracking them down, but just in case the packet states that they're produced in the EC for JP Associates, St John's House, Exton, EX3 0PL. I very much look forward to the type of balanced and objective review on which your devoted readers can always rely.
Yours in hopeful anticipation
|Nicey replies: Hi Mart,
The things Adam was referring to were something else. A small batch of experimental biscuits which were so troubling that they even made it into our book, getting a mention in the section about keeping strongly flavoured and experimental biscuits away from innocent and law abiding biscuits. They were only around for about eight months.
As for the ones you mention, we have not had them yet so I'll keep a look out for them.
Fruit Shortcake Review
I though I would share my little problem with just you (and possibly hundreds of others) in case you have any ideas on how to help me. Like most parents, I have children - three of them to be exact - and, like most children, they like biscuits and cake. My problem, in a nutshell, is what do I buy to put in the biscuit tin? Before you suggest anything, bear in mind that I visit Tesco's once a week and I need the biscuits that I buy to be consumed in roughly one week, so that the biscuit tin is almost empty by day 7.
This is not a simple problem to solve. If I buy Jaffa Cakes, then they will all be gone within 30 minutes of putting them in the tin, sometimes even before I have unloaded the shoppping from the car. Likewise Custard Creams and Hob Nobs. However, if I buy Ginger Nuts, it is quite possible for only a few to be eaten during the week, meaning I have a biscuit-tin overflow situation when I come to replenish the tin with the latest buy. I have found Fruit Shortcakes to be an acceptable compromise between speed of consumption and biscuit-tin stock levels, but surely there must be another way? Perhaps once of those things people use for feeding cats and dogs, whereby a flap is released under the control of a timer?
Hope you can help,
PS Currently trying out Arrowroot
|Nicey replies: Paul,
This is a terrible responsibility to bear as young minds are very impressionable, and they will hold you to account over the decisions you make now in later life. Certainly if you have reached the stage of experimenting with Thin Arrowroots then things have gotten quite out of hand. I suggest you try a time honoured traditional system that utilises two tins. The best tin contains the biscuits that you don't give out lightly, and that are to be savoured. Produce the best tin on special occasions or when some great feat has been accomplished, such as a very long walk or joint effort washing the car. The biscuits in this tin will acquire a certain stature and respect.
Secondly you have your everyday tin in which you place shortcake, digestives, oaty biscuits and plain dunkers. I would have thought a fruit biscuit would be as glamourous as you wish to get here, and its important to draw a strict line in the sand. This is fairly much the course of action that you have adopted. Now it becomes a issue of biscuit management which is often aided by a very high shelf in the larder or cupboard, and supervised access to the tin.
The best tin should be smaller than the everyday tin. The two tin approach should instill a sense of values in your children who will then be able to help you choose biscuits to go in each tin, and through this learn true biscuit appreciation.
Its just an idea.
This morning with tea at elevensies we had some Mr.Kipling Apple pies with custard and a lattice pastry top which were quite superb. But by 3pm they had all gone so we (the management & I) tucked into our biccy tin. Our dilemma is now should we buy more of the apple & custard pies or should we think of our waistlines?
Regarding cream teas in devon & cornwall I can thoroughly recommend the ones served at the Lee Abbey tea rooms at Lee Bay near the Valley of Rocks by Lynton - they are so good that on occasions we have had to opt for the mini-tea which has only one scone if we to reserve room for dinner.
|Nicey replies: I always advise in these situations just steaming into them in the hope that you'll get sick of them. Mind you biscuit enthusiast Andrew who I used to work with tried that with Double Coat Tim Tams, but the whole thing got away from him. Last I heard he had enrolled in the local gym and lost two and half stone.
I'm sure I had a cream tea near the valley of the rocks years ago, it was a long time ago but it was a good one.