Before I became the proud owner of a stove with a non-functioning ignition switch, I never gave a lot of thought to the topic of matches. However, over the last year of cooking, I’ve discovered that not all matches are created equal.
When I first started using matches, I bought long-stemmed cooking matches, because that is what was on the shelf at the grocery store. However, it soon occurred to me that I might be way over paying for these ‘fancy’ matches. Instead, I started buying matches from my local shop and newsagents, who stock them mainly for smokers. These little boxes cost about 1/6 to 1/8 of the price of cooking matches. True, they are much shorter stems, but they are still long enough to light several eyes on the stove.
There are two brands of matches that seemed to be carried in the shops around here: England’s Glory and Ship. For several months, I used England’s Glory, but after picking up my first box of Ship, I think I’m a convert. Ship matches are about £0.10 more per box, for an equivalent number of matches. What makes them so much better is how much easier they ignite. With England’s Glory, I often had to strike the box a couple of times to ignite the match, and occasionally broke off the match head. Also, by the time I was down to the last couple of matches in the box, I’d pretty much worn out the rough strip on the side of the box. Ship matches on the other hand, ignite with only the gentlest pressure. Also the box has strips running on both sides, encase one wears out.
According to the boxes, both matches are manufactured in Sweden, though England’s Glory gives a UK address in High Wycombe (pronounced ‘whickem’) , just down the road in Buckinghamshire.
While England’s Glory is slightly cheaper, and comes in a more attractive little box, it is not enough to make up for the much better quality of Ship.