View Full Version : Rice Crispies - less or fewer?

24th Jun 2001, 13:20
The adorable Mrs NorthernSky and I were having breakfast in the garden this morning (beautiful day, birds singing, pheasants running around, fish cavorting in the pond, Mrs NorthernSky's wonderful fresh baking), when the conversation turned to the week's activities. I have been away flying the large aluminium death tube, and was keen to learn of the fun I had missed out on.

'Well,' said Mrs NorthernSky, 'Clare made white chocolate crispies this week, but they didn't go very well. They fell apart a bit when they had cooled. She said there hadn't been enough chocolate; I told her she should have used less rice crispies.'

'Shouldn't that be fewer rice crispies?' quoth I.

So, the conversation established a holding pattern around the question.

One view is that 'rice crispies' is in the plural and thus 'fewer' is more appropriate, the alternative view is that a lone rice crispy is conceptually difficult to grasp, that the trademark 'Rice Crispies' cannot be singularised, and thus 'less' is correct.

We didn't fall out over it, glad to say (we never do), but I thought it might be cause for debate........

24th Jun 2001, 13:36
I think Clare was right in the first place and should have used more chocolate.

[This message has been edited by sprocket (edited 24 June 2001).]

Send Clowns
24th Jun 2001, 13:39
Mmmmm. I would consider the lone item in the only natural habitat for such : dropped by careless individual serving himself. Then, personally I would call it a Rice Crispy. Therefore I would have to determine the tradename to be plural, and go for 'fewer'.

However, I think Mrs NS may have a point, and unusually I would put this down to personal preference (usually I despair of incorrect grammar, but this is a debatable case, I think).

'Me here at last on the ground, you in mid air'

Winston Smith
24th Jun 2001, 14:18
Undeniably the best thread to date! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/cool.gif

(I'd go for "less")

compressor stall
24th Jun 2001, 16:35
As Send Clowns correctly elucidated, the concept of a single Rice Crispy (or Rice Bubbles as we know them here as someone else had the name registered in Oz before the venerable Mr Kellogg) is not an entirely alien one.

Hence the debate really boils down to whether you consider yourself eating a collection of (bowl?) individual Rice Crispies, or eating Rice Crispies as a foodstuff (as one would say eat meat).

A. One would have fewer apples (or individual Rice Crispies).
B. One would have less meat (or Rice Crispies as a foodstuff).

In this turn-of-the-century-capitalist-make-products-under-the-one-tradename-to-become-a-multinational-and-increase-shareholder-return-at-the-expense-of-employees era it would be more apt to use "less" but I would not on moral principles. One of the joys of language is that it can offer some form of tangible connexion to the old times. :)

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
William Blake

compressor stall
24th Jun 2001, 16:41
Northern Sky, I deduce from your choice of verb that your family garden is stocked with Mexican Walking Fish. Are they hard to keep in the pond?

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
William Blake

24th Jun 2001, 16:52
In the specific linguistic context of a recipe, there can be no doubt that Mrs. NorthernSky's usuage is correct. :)

Ask any housewife:
Totally and undoubtedly and universally correct!! :) :)

Stallie and as for you; who says that to "frolic, bound about joyfully" is limited to creatures with legs? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

PS: Still think your signature is the best on PPRuNe tho! :)

compressor stall
24th Jun 2001, 17:15

According to my bible (the Oxford English Dictionary)[bendo...shhh]:

*Cavort, v.l. (sl.). Prance [orig. unkn]

Prance (-ah-), v.i. & t., &n. 1. (Of horse) rise by springing from hind legs; cause (horse to do this; ...

Hence my leg deductions!


PS. Thanks!

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
William Blake

[This message has been edited by compressor stall (edited 24 June 2001).]

Send Clowns
24th Jun 2001, 17:18
As usual the Dutch correct our English! I think I would have to accept flaps's use of 'less' in the context of a recipe, usually written in continuous quantities.

Mac the Knife
24th Jun 2001, 18:07
Ahem. This is what Fowler's "Dictionary of Modern English Usage" has to say.

"The modern tendency is so to restrict 'less' that it means not 'smaller', but 'a smaller amount of', is the comparative rather of 'a little' than of 'little', & is consequently applied only to things that are measured by amount & not by size or quality or number, nouns with which 'much & little', not 'great & small', nor high & low', nor 'many & few', are the appropriate contrasted epithet: 'less butter, courage; but 'a smaller army, table'; 'a lower price, degree'; 'fewer opportunities, people'."

"Plurals, & singulars with 'a' or 'an', will naturally not take 'less', 'less tonnage', but 'fewer ships'; 'less manpower', but 'fewer men'; 'less opportunity, but 'a worse opportunity', & 'inferior opportunities; though a few plurals like 'clothes' & 'troops', really equivalent to singulars of indefinite amount, are exceptions: 'could do with less troops' or 'clothes'. Of 'less's' antipathy to 'a', examples are: 'I want to pay less rent', but 'a lower rent is what I want./That is of less value' but 'a lower value ataches to this'./Less noise, please' but 'a slighter noise would have waked me./Less size means less weight', but 'I want a smaller size'.
Such is the general tendency: to substitute 'smaller,'lower','fewer', or other appropriate words, for 'less' except when it means 'a smaller amount of', and for 'lesser', & to regard the now slightly archaic 'less' in other senses as an affectation. There are no doubt special phrases keeping it alive even in quite natural speech, e.g. 'in' or 'to a less degree', where 'lower' is hardly yet as common as 'less'; but the general tendency is unmistakable, & is moreover, since it makes for precision, one that should be complied with."

So, if I read Fowler right, 'fewer' it is. Sir Ernest Gowers in "Plain Words" would probably be more tolerant - most of the time, if the sound is good and the meaning is clear and unambiguous the construction is acceptable.

Mrs. Mac (who makes radically good chocolate Rice Crispies) agrees with 'fewer', so I suppose that that settles it, in this house at least.

24th Jun 2001, 18:28
The concept of a single krispy is indeed a difficult one to grasp.

However, - if I don't put as much milk on them, I have less milk but fewer molecules of milk. So I go with fewer.

One way out of this would be to define 'Rice Krispies' as a collective noun. ;)

24th Jun 2001, 18:33
Ah I love this web site!! :)

I would personally add more chocolate!!
I love chocolate krispie things! oooer!! ;)

Keep it up ppruners!! :) :) ;)

Look Out Beloooooooooooow!

24th Jun 2001, 19:05
At breakfast this sunny morning I noticed that while listening to my large bowl on Rice Crispies, there were more Crackles that Snaps or Pops, which leads me to the following questions, has Crackle been speading his wild oats?, and are Snap and Crackle gay?.

24th Jun 2001, 23:12
I had no idea how large a can of worms I was opening with my innocent query!!!

To put your minds at rest, the fish are of the normal aquatic variety. We tried the Mexican ones, but they didn't get on with the pheasants, there was a terrible to-do over the sultanas and raisins in the morning, so Shebumpkins (spelling?) and Carp it is.

I'm searching for words to describe their elated behaviour, and now worrying that someone will come up with an argument about fish intelligence and whether they can experience elation, or whether it's just a matter of the temperature gradient in the pond or something, and Mrs NS is out there now with the thermocouple taking readings, which she says must be plotted against time and sunshine hours to establish a baseline against which assessments of activity (and thus perhaps elation) may be measured.

Clare is home again after being away last night and has forgotten all about her crispies; we have a modern washing machine which will take care of them, and we always use plenty of fabric conditioner so the possible itching shouldn't be severe.

I'll let you know how we get on..........

Odited for topogryphicol orrars.

[This message has been edited by NorthernSky (edited 24 June 2001).]

25th Jun 2001, 01:28
Oh I do love this Bulletin Board

Now if these rice crispies had been uncoated they would have been individual pieces of breakfast cereal and would have been counted as fewer, in that there would have been fewer in number.

However, having coated them in a substance and bonded them together they became a substance or mass and, therefore, if you reduce this, it becomes less.

So I'm with Mrs Northern Sky - use more not greater chocolate.

Send Clowns
25th Jun 2001, 01:38
Might I also suggest dark chocolate instead of white? I find the latter far too sweet.

25th Jun 2001, 02:16
A Single Rice Crispy can exist. When the delectable Mrs Fobotcso clears away my cereal bowl before serving me my kedgeree or kidneys, there is always one of the little buggers hiding under the lip of the bowl and affording Mrs F the opportunity to chastise me for being a messy eater.

DX Wombat
25th Jun 2001, 02:28
SC I agree with your choice of choccy, as to less or fewer the answer is simple. If she counted the crispies say 5,450 then she should use fewer next time. If, however, she weighed them, say 250g, then next time she should use less, or just add more choc. ;)
(Weights and measures are not intended to be accurate)

25th Jun 2001, 06:11
Just tell Clare to make individual crackles next time - you know - melt the chocolate in its bowl, then dip the Rice Crispies one at a time using tweezers or a pin. Set them on a tray to cool. Should keep her amused for hours!!!

Or use a smaller quantity of cereal.

Or use a bigger bar of chocolate.

And don't forget to send me some samples for a quality control check.

:) :) :)

I'd rather
25th Jun 2001, 14:42
"Fewer" is undoubtedly correct.

May I suggest a variation? Next time make the recipe with one half chocolate and one half peanut butter - absolutely DELICIOUS. I'm afraid I can't claim the recipe is original - it came from my invaluable "Winnie the Pooh Cookbook" - one of the recipes therein that had an asterisk by it, denoting that it was extra-easy (by the rigorous standards of that respected culinary tome).

25th Jun 2001, 15:51
I'd rather could you please consider reproducing the complete recipe on these very pages for those ppruners who, like myself, are culinary challenged but suffer from a terrible fondness for all things chocolate?
Pretty please........? :)

....half peanut butter...errrrm....sounds like those Reese thingies Mr40 used to buy for me when wooing me ........fond memories.......hope the lawyerboy posts the recipe in metric as well................

I'd rather
25th Jun 2001, 17:52
Flaps, I'd be delighted. Unfortunately, I don't have the book to hand, so I can't give quantities (in metric or otherwise) but I can give you a rough idea of the method.


rice crispies (or Coco Pops)
dark chocolate and half that quantity of
peanut butter


Half-fill a saucepan with water and put it on a medium heat on the hob. Place the chocolate in a bowl that will fit in the saucepan, and allow the heat from the water to melt the chocolate (this is known as a bain-marie, if you're into fancy cooking terms). Stir the chocolate continously until it melts. Do NOT use too high a heat or let the chocolate burn - you will have to start all over again.

When the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and combine the chocolate with the peanut butter. Pour the rice crispies into the mixture and mix gently to coat with the chocolate/peanut mixture. Grease a baking tray well and spread the mixture out in it. Cut into squares while still warm, then put the baking tray in the fridge, until the mixture has set.

Take out and eat too many at once...

Lon More
25th Jun 2001, 18:20
4pm local time, just woken up anfter a night duty and as the sun is wellover the yard arm put beer on my Crispies. They just lay there and hicupped.

Lon More,just an ATCO

25th Jun 2001, 18:32
Ahhhhhhhhh the old au-bain-Marie has no secrets for me; I'm a devil at making hot chocolate-mint sauce to go over icecream, so this will be easy-peasy! :)

Thanks I'd rather!! XXX

.........damn&blast....no £@%& crispies in the cupboard http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif.....put on shopping list........cooking chocolate in ample quantities as well.........

I can taste 'em already............. :)

DX Wombat
25th Jun 2001, 21:17
F40 any chance of the mint-choccy sauce recipe please? Grovel, grovel, please?

25th Jun 2001, 21:34
Personally, I should rather forego the Rice Crispies entirely and use MORE chocolate to spread over Flaps 40.

Unfortunately, as I get older, the opportunities for such a delightful pastime become FEWER.

25th Jun 2001, 23:15
Wombat The pleasure is mine, this stuff is so good!
But like I'd rather I don't have the book to hand (packed in preparation for moving house) so I can't give you exact quantities, but here goes:
Prepare the au-bain-Marie set-up as described above, making sure the water only bubbles a little bit and does not boil ferociously Pour as much cream into the top bowl as you want sauce Break up into pieces a good amount of dark (cooking) chocolate, and stir the whole thing slowly with a wooden spatula until the choccy melts and the cream heats, and stuff combines nicely. Add 2 spoonfulls of Mint Liquer, stir until smooth

Pitfalls can be too much heat as described by I'd rather, and then you have a total eff-up :) or getting hot water splashing into your top bowl. http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif
Haste is also a pitfall to be avoided when preparing this!
However if you take it nice and slow, you will have the most delicious mouth watering smooth tasting rich looking slow dripping mint smelling tongue kissing hot chocolate sauce! :) :)

Wholi am I supposed to read your bl**dy mind? :mad:

.....typical piluk....NOW he comes out with this kinda stuff......grumble.....never said a word when face to face......mumble............all talk and no chocolate....... :) :)

Tricky Woo
26th Jun 2001, 12:05
Here in Zürich, the use of Rice Crispies is seen as soooo passé. The trendy Swiss chef would rather die than be caught making crispies d'chocolat using anything other than Corn Flakes.

Still, this is the land of fondue, so what would they know?

DX Wombat
26th Jun 2001, 12:33
So the cornflake crispies have finally made it to Switzerland! We have been making them here in the UK for over 40 years. ;)

26th Jun 2001, 13:07
Whilst on the subject of fondue, Wombat have you ever tried melting en entire big Toblerone?
You thin it with a bit of cream and perhaps some brandy, then put it in a small fondue bowl with the little flame under it and dip in small pieces of fruit or entire strawberries, firm rasp berries etc, coating them in the Toblerone mixture.

A lascivious desert! :)

I'd rather
26th Jun 2001, 13:13
Cornflakes produce an entirely different texture to rice crispies - far be it from me to comment on the relevant merits. While purists may insist one way on the other, I think it's entirely a question of what you feel like at the time - crispies are more comforting; cornflakes can be a bit jagged.

Mmmmmm, who mentioned fondues....all that melty cheese and garlic, with wine and kirsch fumes floating upwards....could eat one right now, despite the fact it's about 80 degrees outside....

26th Jun 2001, 13:45
Wouldn't the crunchy bits in the Toblerone scratch while I was spreading it flaps :)

26th Jun 2001, 14:31
Not if you made it velvety smoooooooooooth Wholi hon ;)

Flaps I think we ought to defnitely have a cookery corner at the next bash (just think of the possibilities ;) )

26th Jun 2001, 22:00
Vel a great idea, I love watching other people prepare food...... :)

I wonder why I have this hunch that cooking might be against Hotel Lobby Rules though? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

Whol that would depend entirely on the deftness with which you'd wield your spatula mate! :)

26th Jun 2001, 23:49
<from : "Confused of Somerset">

Is the spatula for putting it on ----- or taking it off???? :)

See - told you I was getting old!

Now - anybody know where I put my keys? If you know, perhaps you could let me know where I left my car as well. Hmmm - why did I come upstairs again?

27th Jun 2001, 17:47
Getting back to the original question, "less" is an absolute where "fewer" is a comparison.

For example
"Flaps I will have less rice crispies this morning thanks love."

"Flaps, er, why have you given me fewer rice crispies in my bowel than yours today?"

Thats cleared that up! :)

27th Jun 2001, 18:23
Love anything mixed and covered with chocolate :) :)

Another delicious dessert is "zabaione". Anyone have a recipe for this sweetness. MORE Zabaione please!

27th Jun 2001, 19:19
Goldie the following Zabaglione will do for 4 normal people, or for you on your own when you're feeling miserable. :)

8 egg yolks, 160 g sugar, 8 spoons of dry white wine, 8 spoons of Marsala

Put the yolks in a little steel casserole, add the sugar and beat them for a long time with a whisk, till the whole thing is sort of fluffy & homogeneous.

While you keep beating with your whisk, add the white wine & the Marsala.
Put the casserole in a YES! :) bain-Marie.
Keep beating!!
Zabaglione will be ready when it's "light but dense". http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif
Serve it in 4 little bowls. (or bowels if it's for Slash :) )

Slash pet, please tell room service about your crispie requirements. The only place I serve breakfast is on comp A/C. :)

Everywhere else I get it served. ;)

28th Jun 2001, 17:48
Flappie I can kiss you for this (or for something else), hey you do have a choice :)

I knew I there was something wrong in the spelling, of course it is Zabaglione. Funny enough I took my Italian dictionairy and guess what: Zabaione is acceptable as well. Sono stato salvato da campanella!

And Flaps when I'm tutti di capo di zabaglioni, I'm happy to serve it to you anytime ;)

DX Wombat
28th Jun 2001, 21:31
Flaps I have not been around for a day or two so I have only just seen your suggestion for the Toblerone, it sounds delicious. As for your suggestion that there be a cookery corner, there is no need to worry about what the hotel bods might say - there must be plenty of PPRuNers with caravans or other camping equipment who could set up their stall nearby. No hassle for the hotel, cooking opportunities for those who wish, a little primitive maybe but who cares!
:) :) :)

28th Jun 2001, 21:33
Ik geloof niet dat kussen nog toegestaan is onder het nieuwe regime... ;)

Maar eet vooral smakelijk! :)

PS: Moet dat niet "campanile" zijn? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

Singularly Simple Person........

28th Jun 2001, 22:11
Als ongewenste intimiteit is het natuurlijk niet toegestaan! Maar gewenste intimiteiten mogen niet onder dit juk onder druk komen te staan ;)

ik bedoelde campanella (gered door de bel)

Ben je blauw, lichtblauw, rood of groen?

Even een tipje oplichten zelf ben ik groen. Oftewel morgen vroeg op naar Samos.

P.S. Dit uitstapje is leuk, maar de rest in Engels. Wel zo beleefd naar onze fellow PPRuners

29th Jun 2001, 00:25
Goldie, altenative no 1 :) 40 Euro capitals in 1 week, beats even certain oriental tourist groups that one. http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif

And for the other; thought you meant saved by the church bells, ie Campanile ;)

Wombat the cooking corner was Vel's idea; brilliant woman that she is! :)

DX Wombat
29th Jun 2001, 01:22
Sorry Velvet, I should have been paying more attention. I was so tired when I got home that I fell asleep trying to compose a message to a friend, fortunately there is a very short cut-off time set for my internet connection. I promise to try to be more alert in future. http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/frown.gif

29th Jun 2001, 11:48
GouweHandjes Have look at the Bashes Forum, yuu might want to join some of us next friday the 6th for a mini AMS Bash?

No Zabaglione at the Indonesioan I'm afraid though........... :)

29th Jun 2001, 18:29
Jeez I'm gonna miss out on some excellent food on fr(y)day. Well the good news is I'm gonna be at HER for a couple of days :)..........(working http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/frown.gif though)

Campanile might be better: the bigger the saving the bigger the bell

And flaps remember "domo aregato, ..foto,foto??" and join the orientals ;)