Have you done all your Christmas shopping? Thought of every gift possible to give this year? There's a very special gift that only 5% of the population give but all of us may at some point be in desperate need of receiving. Blood. I've been a Blood Donor since my student days and paid my 12 weekly visit to the Aberdeen Donor Center earlier this week to swap my pint of O+ for a Teacake.
The humble Tunnocks Teacake is a very important part of the whole donation process. For many it is the highlight. The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service treat their donors extremely well when it comes to food. After donating you must eat and drink. And if you've rushed to be there for your appointment and skipped breakfast or lunch they'll even feed you beforehand. As a student this was a great incentive to give blood, particularly at the end of term when the grant cheque had ran out. There are sound medical reasons behind eating and drinking before and after donating to ensure you are well hydrated and don't get lightheaded. The ritual itself of a 10 minute rest with a cuppa and biscuit is one that all donors know, enjoy and appreciate.
My own personal biscuit choice when donating is the double pack of Tuc cheese sandwiches, followed by a teacake (or two...) and washed down with a cup of tea. Coffee, orange and blackcurrant squash are also available. A recent survey on the SNBTS Facebook page found that the Teacake was indeed the top choice by a huge margin, second and third came Shortbread and Tuc. With over 700 donors through the doors each day that's a lot of chocolate and marshmallow consumed for a good cause.
Blood is required the whole year round but there are particular pressures on the service over the Christmas period. Attendance by regular donors drops off due to busy festive diaries and adverse weather can cause travel issues and cancelled sessions. As the Christmas decorations go up blood stocks go down. There are many good reasons to give blood apart from Teacakes. Just 3 teaspoonfuls of blood can save the life of a premature baby. It's a vital resource to treat a variety of health conditions including cancer, accidents and maternity care. You've got it in you to save a life.
The teacake itself is a Scottish icon and I'm not sure if you'll be able to swap your blood for it elsewhere in the UK. But please don't let that put you off - I'm sure there will be equally yummy biccies on offer. I'm a big fan of Gillian Kyle's take on the teacake with her a fantastic selection of homeware and clothing. And if you prefer a Caramel Wafer she caters for you also. I have the teacake apron and teatowel, the Creamola Foam teatowel and husband has the Glasgow Breakfast T-Shirt. I think my next foray may be into the seaside cafe range.
I was excited to discover via @gilliankyle on Twitter a festive Christmas Pudding Teacake creation from The Things She Makes blog. Such a clever idea. I am so going to be making some of these with boy and girl. Do check out the tutorial. Its much easier than you would imagine. No Great British Bake off skills required.Christmas is coming. If you can, please give the gift of life this year. After all its not often you get to have a guilt free biscuit. Please don't let giving blood slip to the bottom of your Christmas list.
England and North Wales www.blood.co.uk