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Cookies on the Web

?Not the kind that pop up on the internet, asking for your vital statistics, but the kind you dip into tea and eat. There's now a website devoted to these kinds of cookies (or "biscuits," as the English call them), that rates which ones taste best.

The site features a "biscuit of the week" and helps people track down their childhood favorites or brands they didn't think were being made anymore. "Many people think if a supermarket does not carry a biscuit they will not find it anywhere," says webmaster Stuart Payne, "but what we find is that big supermarkets do not stock what you find in the corner shops."

He says, "I've been surprised by the interest and the level of emotion biscuits arouse. Biscuits were very much treats as a child and they have a disproportionate amount of worth attached to them." In other words, people get attached to certain brands and are willing to work hard to track them down. Payne's own favorite is McVities Abbey Crunch, which he describes as "groundbreaking."

Readers send Payne cookies from overseas and try to get him to review their favorites, and he?s invited to parties where new cookies are launched. Simon Mowbray, of The Grocer magazine, says more than 5,000 new products are introduced in the U.K. every year, and many of these are snacks. "Britons are huge snackers," he says, "particularly on confectionery and compared to other European countries that might have healthier diets than we do." You could say the same thing about most of us here in the U.S.

What's your pleasure? If you like our Dreamland theme music, get "The O of Pleasure" by Ray Lynch. And don't miss this week's Dreamland, when Whitley interviews a psychic who talks to animals.

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