• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

  • Biscuit Encounters on Twitter

  • The Synod of Biscuitry

    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

Storm On A Digestive

When I was little, my grandmother used to make a delicacy known – in our household at any rate – as Thunder and Lightning. This was a plain digestive biscuit* (McVities, of course) spread with butter and jam.

I suppose you could use any jam, but in our house, it was usually blackcurrant for some reason. I still hate blackcurrant jam, but I still like Thunder and Lightning. Today, I make it with strawberry or raspberry jam.

Someone once told me that instead of butter, one should really use cream cheese, or even clotted cream. We never had cream, clotted or otherwise, when we were children. My mother and grandmother still had a wartime mentality when it came to treats and the closest we came to cream was Carnation milk (the evaporated kind, not the condensed version). It accompanied, almost inevitably, tinned peaches.

As for cheese, I was quite prepared to believe that the 11th commandment stated: “Thou shalt have no other cheese but Cheddar.” Because that’s all there ever was.

It’s funny how one’s childhood experiences shape one’s palate. I was once sick after a party where I’d been eating Dairylea cheese spread and cucumber sandwiches. For years, I couldn’t look at a nice healthy cucumber without feeling ill, but Dairylea – which is truly disgusting – remained a favourite until I was old enough to know better.

Although I can’t stand blackcurrant jam, I love Carnation milk. And although cream (even clotted cream) is readily available in supermarkets, I still prefer butter on my Thunder and Lightning, rather than anything more sybaritic.

Does anyone else know about Thunder and Lightning? Do tell.

Victoria Summerley

*For American readers, digestive biscuits (or as my children call them, dig. bix.) are similar to Graham crackers.

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3 Responses

  1. Marvellous. I don’t know about Thunder and Lightning Im afraid but I do know of a variation. When a new kid arrived at our school we hit it off straight away. He was a punk and the only other kid I knew who liked the UKSubs. We were 13 so I shouldve known better. The first time I went to his house his mum opened the biscuit tin and in it were digestives and ginger snaps with something that was between icing and cream spiraling out from the centre of each biscuit. Some of this icing/cream was even coloured blue. This was the height of sophistication as far as I was concerned. Im sure it leant me towards being better friends with him, as well a good biscuit should.

  2. I am very concerned about the Digestive. People are forever trying to improve them with cheese or jam or cheese and jam or cheesey Jan. What’s wrong with eating them plain?
    They are excellent dunkers. But you can’t dunk a Digestive that has been ruined by various additions. Kindly stop.

    On another note, regarding Mr MarkD and his friend’s biscuit tin.
    If I went to someone’s home and they had any kind of white spiral “icing” or “cream” on their Digestives, I’d stay well clear of them.

  3. I have to say that I am with m’learned colleague Mr Uku here.
    I think that anybody who ices – or creams – a digestive (or a ginger nut) is just one step away from the locked wards of some of our rougher prisons.

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