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||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
I was watching breakfast telly this morning and was surprised to see the presenters discussing a new nylon tea bag that is supposed to make the tea taste better.
I didnít get too many details as my concentration isnít the best first thing in the morning, but the tea bag was pyramid shaped, giving a strong indication of the manufacturer.
In a blind test (not carried out under scientific conditions) John Stapleton claimed to have preferred the tea from the nylon bag, although a much more in-depth study would be required in order to convince me of the merits of this new technology.
Iím all in favour of anything that makes my tea taste better, but Iím less keen on throwing lots of those little nylon bags on my compost heap.
|Nicey replies: Morning Keith,
That sounds like a giant leap backwards. Monkey in America sent us over some very dubiuos nylon teabags last year that were like tall four sided pyramids. The came in individually parcelled up adorned with gold coloured wire and ornamental leaves. I couldn't tell if the tea was any good or not as I was too annoyed. Much the same effect as wanting a cosy informal fireside pub lunch, and being forced to sit bolt upright in a draughty conservatory whilst some waitress chastises you for not booking and not fancying any of their ridiculously overpriced out of place and pompous menu.
John Stapleton should have known better than to endorse such nonsense, mind you I always thought that it was Lynn Faulds-Wood who wore the trousers. So maybe he is just making petulant statements whilst off the leash.
What am I going on about?
||I thought you may be interested to learn that the vending machine in the physics department of imperial college (a place at the very forefront of scientific invention) has a vending machine of the 'clix' brand which in addition to the regular vending machine issues you have highlighted also revels in giving you the 60p you get back from a pound in exchange for your steaming liquid entirely in 1p pieces.|
In continental tea issues my girlfriend is currently living in Germany where they seem to have pioneered a kind of halfway house between loose leaf and the tea bag. I'm not sure if you are aware of this development but essentially it is a very long teabag which is open at one end, the theory is you put your loose leaf into the bag and then put it into your mug. The teabag is just long enough that it stands in your mug without the contents spilling over into the tea when you add water. I think they're rather clever.
Yours Peter Burgess
|Nicey replies: No I'd not heard of those DIY teabags, they sound like they could be well received by 'ALL tea bags are filled with sweepings' brigade. One such lady last Tuesday tried to tell me that those little metal ball things on chains were marvelous, that I should go to India to see how tea is really made before having an opinion on it, and that as she was a wine writer she knew a thing or two about things and I was best advised not to argue with her. I told her that we drink PG and this seemed to annoy her sufficiently.|
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.
||As an ardent tea and biscuit fan living in the biscuit wasteland that is the American south I love visiting your site. I am sending a "recipe" of sorts for Liz who asked about chai. I found combining 1 bag of Bigelow Oolong tea, and one bag of Celestial Seasonings "Bengal Spice", made a decent chai. The Bengal Spice has all the proper chai spices, especially the pepper-very warming-and it is often left out in the pre-packaged sweet chai drinks. If you are a cardamom lover (another spice often deleted due to its cost) throw in an extra pod or two, or a pinch of the fresh ground powder. Top your cup of chai with milk, soy milk, rice milk or for a special treat almond milk. Hope this serves as a good starting point for Liz and any other chai do-it-yourself-ers.|
PS- Down here tea and biscuits refers to hideously oversweetened ice tea and doughy white bread dumplings that go in your box of takeaway fried chicken.
|Nicey replies: Yep, what ever it takes for you folks to survive, as I have said we drink PG Tips.
||Hi Mr Nicey,|
First let me say that your website is amazing, this is what the internet was invented for. Keep up the good work.... Now my reason for writing.
As an asian born and raised here in the UK, it's fair to say that tea is destined to be in my system. So I would like to share with you my genius invention of making indian tea in less than 10 minutes (It usually takes about 20).
Step 1: Boil water in kettle
Step 2: Pop your teabag and sugar into an empty cup
Step 3: Pour boiling water into the cup and stir 5 times and squeeze the teabag against the inside of the cup to extract the flavour.
Step 4: Pop the cup into the microwave for 1 and a half minutes (700 watt microwave).
Step 5: Add milk and reheat in the microwave until the mixture looks like its ready to boil over. (This is what the light inside the microwave was invented for).
Step 6: Stir the tea and take the teabag out the cup.
Step 7: Open a packet of hobnobs and enjoy!