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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.

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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