digestive biscuit

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The digestive biscuit, a slightly sweet biscuit made from wholemeal flour, seems first to have come on the scene in the 1870s, produced by the firm of Huntley and Palmers. Its name, no doubt intended to convey the idea of easy digestibility, evidently came to be regarded by the marketing men as too spartan-sounding to promote a biscuit that itself lacked excitement, and from the 1950s many manufacturers substituted sweetmeal biscuit. That term has never really made the leap from the biscuit packet to the general language, though, and if anything ensured the continuing existence of the digestive biscuit it was the post-Second World War practice of covering it with chocolate.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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