There’s a condition which appears to affect a surprisingly large number of people, including myself, yet hardly anyone knows about. It’s known informally as dysfunction of the burp (or belch) reflex, or DBR. Yes, that’s an inability to burp. This may sound like a blessing to long-suffering partners of loud and proud belchers who can burp the whole alphabet, but it deserves more attention than it’s currently getting, which is usually just scoffs of derision and a prescription for antacids.
Want DBR explained in pictures instead (with some words)? Check out my Illustrated Guide.
At the weekend I ended up near Spitalfields Market, which meant that I had to pop into Konditor and Cook. The draw for me isn’t their legendary brownies, which really are sinfully delicious, but their gingerbread men. Or gingerbread people, as they put it in a very PC way. They won’t win any prizes for the decoration frankly, but they have the best tasting gingerbread in London in my opinion. It’s much softer than the usual supermarket teeth-breaker consistency and has a buttery, less intensely gingery flavour. This might disappoint the real ginger lovers, but it’s an unbelievably tasty, moreish biscuit that smacks of home baking – especially nice for those who can’t be bothered to make their own or who are just crap at biscuits (I fall into the latter. Ok, and the former). I might be tempted to try though after finding this recipe that the bakery placed in the Telegraph a while back. Will mine be like the ones in the shop? Past experience says it’s doubtful. Really, really, doubtful.
The crown for the best gingerbread I’ve discovered in this country has to go to the magnificent crumbly ginger slabs from Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop in Cumbria. It’s so good that they even sell bags of the leftover crumbs for people to make crumble toppings with. Or just pour into their mouths with a funnel, possibly. Sadly since they’re so far away (and the delivery charges for small online orders too steep) for regular indulgence, I’ll have to fill the gingerbread void with Konditor and Cook’s. Yeah yeah yeah, first world problems.