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  #1  
Old 02-10-2007, 07:37 AM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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What are the crumbs on the bottom of an English Muffin?

Does anyone know what the crumbs are on the bottom of an English Muffin? You know usually you fin them on the Thomas' English Muffins...the little white flecks of salt looking things... What the heck are they?
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2007, 07:57 AM
Sarahfeena Sarahfeena is offline
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I think it may be corn meal...a lot of bread-type baked items are baked on a sprinkle of corn meal to keep it from sticking to the baking sheet. Very common with pizza and certain types of bread, like French or Italian.
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2007, 09:00 AM
twickster twickster is offline
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Yup, it's cornmeal, for the reasons stated.
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  #4  
Old 02-10-2007, 09:46 AM
Common Tater Common Tater is offline
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Oddly enough, when I mentioned that I liked English Muffins to someone who'd lived in Great Britain, they had no idea what I was talking about. Incredulous, I described them again "you know, split in half with a fork, toast them up, slather in butter??".
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  #5  
Old 02-10-2007, 09:48 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Common Tater
Oddly enough, when I mentioned that I liked English Muffins to someone who'd lived in Great Britain, they had no idea what I was talking about. Incredulous, I described them again "you know, split in half with a fork, toast them up, slather in butter??".
So what do Brits call them?
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Old 02-10-2007, 09:52 AM
scotandrsn scotandrsn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Common Tater
Oddly enough, when I mentioned that I liked English Muffins to someone who'd lived in Great Britain, they had no idea what I was talking about. Incredulous, I described them again "you know, split in half with a fork, toast them up, slather in butter??".
The information I've read (in the ever-so-credible-and-authoritative Uncle John's Bathroom Reader), is that Mr. Thomas arrived in America and began selling "tea muffins", based on his mother's own recipe. The name later changed to "English Muffins".
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  #7  
Old 02-10-2007, 10:26 AM
According to Pliny According to Pliny is offline
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scones
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  #8  
Old 02-10-2007, 11:41 AM
Chum Chum is offline
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Don't they just call them "muffins"*? Scones are totally different.

*I must admit, my only reference for this is the scene in The Importance of Being Earnest where Rupert Everett eats all the "muffins."
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2007, 11:46 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by According to Pliny
scones
No, scones are much closer to American style biscuits.

The closest they have to English Muffins in England are called "crumpets".
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2007, 11:59 AM
scotandrsn scotandrsn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlosphr
Does anyone know what the crumbs are on the bottom of an English Muffin? You know usually you fin them on the Thomas' English Muffins...the little white flecks of salt looking things... What the heck are they?

Hey, what do you know? The internet is your friend!

From the Thomas' FAQ page at George Weston Bakeries

Quote:
What is on the bottom of our Thomas’ English Muffins?

The small white particles on the bottom of THOMAS'® English Muffins are farina. This is used to prevent the doughball from sticking to the oven plate and also to give the product its unique taste.
And here's the official corporate history of the muffins.

Last edited by scotandrsn; 02-10-2007 at 12:00 PM.. Reason: fixed name of holding company
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2007, 12:02 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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According to wikipedia:

Quote:
The word "muffin" appeared as a word in Britain around the 11th century A.D., derived from the Old French Moufflet, which meant "soft" in reference to bread.

Instructions for cooking a similar flat bread have existed since at least 1747, although credit for the phrase "English muffin" is often given to Samuel Bath Thomas, an English baker who emigrated to New York City and began producing his "muffins" around 1880. The Merriam-Webster dictionary, however, names the origin as 1902.

Before the popularity of baking powder raised muffins, English Muffins were referred to in England simply as "muffins", however the word "muffin" now refers to both muffins and English muffins in the UK, but usually context makes it clear which type is being talked about.

So-called "English muffins" are, in fact, usually referred to as teacakes in the UK, and not eaten for breakfast.
So, it would seem that either "muffin" or "teacake" would do in the UK. This picture of teacake looks like what I would call an English muffin. Also, according to wikipedia, an Enlgish muffin is a bit different from a crumpet:

Quote:
The crumpet is circular in shape (usually; long and square varieties also exist) and has a distinctive flat top covered in small pores. It has a resilient, slightly spongy texture and a rather bland flavour which, when eaten hot with a topping (usually butter), together make crumpets crisp on the outside and very succulent on the inside. They differ from the English Muffin, which is cooked on both sides, in that the dough is usually more moist to start with, so that a muffin ring may be required to hold the batter's shape.
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2007, 12:09 PM
Quiddity Glomfuster Quiddity Glomfuster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
According to wikipedia:

So, it would seem that either "muffin" or "teacake" would do in the UK. This picture of teacake looks like what I would call an English muffin. Also, according to wikipedia, an Enlgish muffin is a bit different from a crumpet:
English Muffin

Crumpet

See the big holes in the crumpet? Crumpets are less bready - almost a little like pancakes. It's quite a different texture. All the big holes hold butter and jam very nicely.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2007, 12:19 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Farina is ground wheat, not corn, by the way. Thomas's uses wheat, which probably looks nicer on their nice white product in its nice white sleeve, but many recipes call for corn, like this one.

Teacakes, in my experience, are either more breadlike or more cakelike (including things like eggs, which English Muffins don't) than English muffins. One that I had was just like raisin bread, only round. But you're absolutely right that the distinguishing difference between in English muffin and a crumpet is the cooking method. That's why I said it was the "closest", not "the word for".

English muffins are weird, much like bagels. There's lots of things that are similar, but not quite identical to, an English Muffin. But I'll certainly accept teacake as a contender - it's at least as close as a crumpet is.

Quiddity Glomfuster, that is the saddest looking English Muffin I've ever seen! It's not even toasted! This is what a good English Muffin should look like, all warm and toasty and full of holes like a crumpet.
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2007, 12:31 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quiddity Glomfuster
English Muffin

Crumpet

See the big holes in the crumpet? Crumpets are less bready - almost a little like pancakes. It's quite a different texture. All the big holes hold butter and jam very nicely.
Well, that's what the wikipedia article does say, but it's hard for me tell from that particular picture-- it looks like an English muffin to me. This looks a bit different from an English muffin, and this looks a lot different.
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  #15  
Old 02-10-2007, 01:18 PM
daffyduck daffyduck is offline
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I'm Leftpondian, but I lived in London for two years and never once encountered anything very close to Thomas's English Muffins by any name. Had plenty of scones and teacakes, though. Mmmmmmmmm scones with clotted cream. Americans have no idea what they're missing.
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  #16  
Old 02-10-2007, 01:58 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
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Crumpets have larger and more holes and tend to have a more rubbery texture (though not in a bad way) in my experience.

Probably all three are descended from a common ancestor.
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  #17  
Old 02-10-2007, 02:15 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat
Crumpets have larger and more holes and tend to have a more rubbery texture (though not in a bad way) in my experience.

Probably all three are descended from a common ancestor.
Alternatively, they could all have been created just as they are sometime within the last 10,000 years.
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  #18  
Old 02-10-2007, 03:38 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quiddity Glomfuster
English Muffin

Crumpet

See the big holes in the crumpet? Crumpets are less bready - almost a little like pancakes. It's quite a different texture. All the big holes hold butter and jam very nicely.
The English muffin photo isn't a real English muffin. That site is selling replica food for things like photography, educational purposes, etc...
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  #19  
Old 02-10-2007, 03:43 PM
Quiddity Glomfuster Quiddity Glomfuster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayjay
The English muffin photo isn't a real English muffin. That site is selling replica food for things like photography, educational purposes, etc...
And this matters because? It looks exactly like the English muffins I eat regularly. I wasn't posting claiming that it was an actual English muffin, nor do I care. I was just trying to find photos to show the difference for the crumpet-challenged.

Yeesh.
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  #20  
Old 02-10-2007, 04:15 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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WhyNot, I regret to disagree with you, but I assure you that "English muffins" are indeed available here, and have been since I was a tiny wee lad at least, and almost certainly a whole lot longer. They are, of course, just called "muffins" (for the same reasons that you call "American football" merely "football").

As you observe, a "crumpet" is texturally nothing like a muffin, more like a bathroom sponge, and is cleverly designed to allow the melted butter to drip through the bottom, all over your shirt.

A "teacake" is a different shape to a muffin - rounder edges; a flat bun - and a different texture - much lighter - and usually studded with raisins. Hot cross buns are slightly smaller teacakes, with a pastry cross across the top.

A "scone" is indeed like an American biscuit, but it's often denser, sweet, and sometimes studded with raisins or dried fruit.

Muffin nomenclature in the UK has been somewhat skewed recently by the introduction of American-style sweet cupcake-style muffins, which are rather different beasts.
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  #21  
Old 02-10-2007, 04:18 PM
Quiddity Glomfuster Quiddity Glomfuster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm
a "crumpet" is texturally nothing like a muffin, more like a bathroom sponge, and is cleverly designed to allow the melted butter to drip through the bottom, all over your shirt.



OK, LOL damnit because I AM!
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  #22  
Old 02-10-2007, 04:32 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm
WhyNot, I regret to disagree with you, but I assure you that "English muffins" are indeed available here, and have been since I was a tiny wee lad at least, and almost certainly a whole lot longer. They are, of course, just called "muffins" (for the same reasons that you call "American football" merely "football").
Obviously, the next time I come to the UK, I'll have to stay with you, 'cause I couldn't find them ANYWHERE! It became sort of a running joke that English muffins weren't English.

Durn it. That's it. Y'all have English Muffins AND clotted cream. The fact that I thought the two were forever separated by an ocean is the only reason I've stayed here this long.
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  #23  
Old 02-10-2007, 10:50 PM
Queuing Queuing is offline
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What is clotted cream?
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  #24  
Old 02-11-2007, 04:09 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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Clotted cream is a different thread. And it's yummy.
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  #25  
Old 02-11-2007, 05:53 AM
Sir Doris Sir Doris is offline
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I just thought I'd add that bread product nomenclature tends to be regional and can lead to confusion and debate.

Crumpets may be known as pikelets, a bread roll may have various names according to shape and texture and where in the country you happen to be.

However, in my experience a muffin is a muffin, wherever I've been. And is commonly available is pretty much any supermarket or bakery.
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  #26  
Old 02-11-2007, 06:27 AM
WotNot WotNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
Obviously, the next time I come to the UK, I'll have to stay with you, 'cause I couldn't find them ANYWHERE! It became sort of a running joke that English muffins weren't English.
Where were you looking? It may seem a little odd from US perspective, but the British food market still has quite strong regional variations, particularly in the area of baked goods – an everyday bread product in one region will be entirely unknown (or at least hard to find) in other parts of the country.

Muffins in particular seem to be a bit of an odd case: they were very popular with the Victorians, but seem not ever to have been home-made, but rather bought from the muffin men who sold them in the street and door-to-door (Mrs Beeton gives a recipe for them in her 1861 Book of Household Management, but then immediately says “Muffins are not easily made, and are more generally purchased than manufactured at home.” which seems oddly self-defeating). As far as I can tell, they lost a lot of ground with the general disappearance of street-traders around the time of the First World War, and then suffered a second blow, and all but vanished, due to the shortages of WWII.

They were revived in the 70s by the larger national and regional manufacturers, looking for speciality products to add to their range, in order to increase their market.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that the best place to look for them is the pre-packaged baked goods section of a national-chain supermarket.
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  #27  
Old 02-11-2007, 06:29 AM
Rayne Man Rayne Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quiddity Glomfuster
English Muffin

Crumpet

See the big holes in the crumpet? Crumpets are less bready - almost a little like pancakes. It's quite a different texture. All the big holes hold butter and jam very nicely.
And just to confuse matters, we call them Pikelets in my home town of Coventry.
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  #28  
Old 02-11-2007, 06:30 AM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Doris
Crumpets may be known as pikelets, a bread roll may have various names according to shape and texture and where in the country you happen to be.
Yeah. Nobody outside of the North West seems to understand what a barm cake is.
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  #29  
Old 02-11-2007, 06:38 AM
Rayne Man Rayne Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominic Mulligan
Yeah. Nobody outside of the North West seems to understand what a barm cake is.
Bread rolls are called batches in Coventry.

Last edited by Rayne Man; 02-11-2007 at 06:38 AM..
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  #30  
Old 02-11-2007, 06:43 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominic Mulligan
Yeah. Nobody outside of the North West seems to understand what a barm cake is.
That's funny - in Ireland at Hallowe'en they traditionally serve "barm brack", which is a fruit cake.
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  #31  
Old 02-11-2007, 07:05 AM
Muffin Muffin is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace
Probably all three are descended from a common ancestor.

. . . .

According to wikipedia:
Quote:
The word "muffin" appeared as a word in Britain around the 11th century A.D.
That would be my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmuffin, Sir Thomas Culpeper the Recognitor (c. 1170) http://gen.culpepper.com/ss/p8398.htm

Last edited by Muffin; 02-11-2007 at 07:09 AM..
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  #32  
Old 02-11-2007, 07:23 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WotNot
Where were you looking?

<snip>

All of which is a long-winded way of saying that the best place to look for them is the pre-packaged baked goods section of a national-chain supermarket.
And there's the problem. I actively avoided such stores, under the philosophy that if I was enjoying small town life, I'd shop locally at small town stores. I can go to mega-marts at home.

Ignorance fought!


(Does this mean I can't go shopping with jjimm? Oh well, probably for the best.)
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  #33  
Old 02-11-2007, 09:52 AM
Muffin Muffin is online now
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But small town stores get old Wonder Bread.
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  #34  
Old 02-11-2007, 10:01 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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A 'pikelet' in these parts is very similar to a crumpet, however its about half as high as a crumpet, which means it toasts rather faster, but doens't hold as much butter.

Of course, despite what thehealth fascist may say, it is quite impossible to eat crumpets or pikelets with margerine, its butter or not at all, unless you have clotted cream with lashings of strawberry jam.
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  #35  
Old 02-11-2007, 10:06 AM
Quiddity Glomfuster Quiddity Glomfuster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
And there's the problem. I actively avoided such stores, under the philosophy that if I was enjoying small town life, I'd shop locally at small town stores. I can go to mega-marts at home.
I always go to grocery stores when I'm travelling. They have different stuff! In Switzerland, we found mayonnaise and ketchup in tubes . To me, it's one of the treats of travel to see what kinds of foods other folks eat and how it's packaged and presented for the regular consumer.
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  #36  
Old 02-11-2007, 10:06 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muffin
That would be my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmuffin, Sir Thomas Culpeper the Recognitor (c. 1170) http://gen.culpepper.com/ss/p8398.htm
Really? Or are you just punning on your handle?
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  #37  
Old 02-11-2007, 10:16 AM
Common Tater Common Tater is offline
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[QUOTE=Quiddity Glomfuster]I always go to grocery stores when I'm travelling. They have different stuff! In Switzerland, we found mayonnaise and ketchup in tubes

I took quite a liking to the Thomy brand of mustard-in-toothpaste-tube, the "scharfer senf" is to die for. Ditto for the sweet fancy mustards. The mayo 'n ketchup with stripes left me underwhelmed though it was very good product.
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  #38  
Old 02-11-2007, 11:51 AM
Muffin Muffin is online now
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat
Really? Or are you just punning on your handle?
Punning on my handle. My ancestor is real, but has nothing to do with muffins other than passing is DNA down to me.
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  #39  
Old 02-11-2007, 02:11 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
(Does this mean I can't go shopping with jjimm? Oh well, probably for the best.)
I assure you I'm a perfectly charming shopping companion.
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  #40  
Old 02-11-2007, 02:21 PM
Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party Capt. Ridley's Shooting Party is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casdave
A 'pikelet' in these parts is very similar to a crumpet, however its about half as high as a crumpet, which means it toasts rather faster, but doens't hold as much butter.
This seems to be the position that Marks and Spencer have adopted, too. Their pikelets are very thin but wide, whereas their crumpets are thicker and smaller in diameter.

Quote:
Of course, despite what thehealth fascist may say, it is quite impossible to eat crumpets or pikelets with margerine, its butter or not at all, unless you have clotted cream with lashings of strawberry jam.
It's impossible to enjoy anything with margarine.
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  #41  
Old 02-11-2007, 02:40 PM
Quiddity Glomfuster Quiddity Glomfuster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominic Mulligan
It's impossible to enjoy anything with margarine.
Interesting. I got tired of butter long ago because it tasted different every time and because it picks up tastes even when it's well-wrapped. I've been using non-hydrogenated canola oil marg for years and it's great.

I think I'm going to have to buy some crumpets. I haven't had any in a long time.
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  #42  
Old 02-11-2007, 02:51 PM
jjimm jjimm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quiddity Glomfuster
I always go to grocery stores when I'm travelling. They have different stuff!
Ooh, me too. That's one of the pleasures I take in visiting different countries. I always go on a shopping trip the day before I'm leaving, and stock up on weirdness to take home. I am still using the mayo in a tube I got in Lyon last year, and I also got a can of "noix de saint Jacques", which are scallops in some kind of sauce The brilliant thing was that the can came with a load of real scallop shells taped to it in which to serve the "noix" propely. How French can you get?
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  #43  
Old 02-11-2007, 03:33 PM
Muffin Muffin is online now
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"A nice bit o' crumpet."

(I feel like a dirty old muffin just thinking that phrase."
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  #44  
Old 02-11-2007, 03:40 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjimm
The brilliant thing was that the can came with a load of real scallop shells taped to it in which to serve the "noix" propely. How French can you get?
On a mad whim I bought some snails in oil in a posh deli in Edinburgh, and the packaging contained empty snail shells. Beat that!
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