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Digestive Biscuits

785 of 1160 nominations


Digestive Biscuits

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Digestive Biscuits

Digestive biscuits go hand in hand (or should that be hand into mug) with another English icon, the cup of tea. (To read about how tea became iconic, click here.)  They were, however, invented and popularised in Scotland before they became a staple of English tea-drinking rituals. The digestive was cooked up in 1839 by one Alexander Grant, working for the bakery of Robert McVitie, and gets its name from the high proportion of bicarbonate of soda in the recipe, an antacid that aids digestion. Another theory as to the health-giving properties of the digestive is that it keeps you regular due to the coarse brown flour (a good source of roughage) used in its manufacture. This simple biscuit has never gone out of fashion. In the UK today, we consume a staggering 52 digestives a second! The key to this phenomenal success could be that the digestive is extremely versatile, it appears as the basis of several desserts (cheesecake and flans) as well as other biscuits (Homewheat, anyone?) and can be spread with any number of things: jam, peanut butter, cheese and – if you dare – salad cream.

Photo: Maria Gibbs


Your comments

Because we all ate these when we were kids, and it takes us back to simpler times when we used to have "elevenses".

LiZ Tamol

Although I am not English, I did grow up there. Digestive biscuits being the "bride" of "Mr. Tea" is very definitely an English icon. Somehow, the chocolate covered ones, though much enjoyed by those of us with a penchant for sweetness, seem too indulgent , too succulent and therefore very un-English. To be truly appreciated, one must have a little stoicism thrown in - so dry and plain thank you very much! Besides, how can one dunk a digestive successfully in one's tea, if one gets one's fingers all smeared with chocolate?! What would Hyacinth make of such vulgarity? Perish the thought. Besides licking one's fingers is so very American. England has the digestive biscuit ; America has the Oreo Cookie and ne'er the twain shall meet!
Heather Peynado

Britain britain britain, home of tea , biscuits an i luv the cake
I.P. Freely

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My nomination is the garden shed.