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SarasWhimsy's avatar

Why are cookies called "digestives" in England?

Asked by SarasWhimsy (1637points) January 25th, 2010

Is it just certain cookies? Do “digestives” just look like cookies? Have I misunderstood and they’re not cookies at all?

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28 Answers

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

In my understanding, they are more commonly called biscuits. I did find a wiki article about digestive biscuits though.

marinelife's avatar

Cookies are actually called biscuits in England I think.

Digestives are a special type of biscuit served after meals with an oatmeal base.

The_Idler's avatar

Big doughy, sugary biscuits are called “cookies”, because they’re American, and that’s what the Americans call them.

normal sized (what you would call cookies, like i dunno an oreo) biscuits are biscuits.

Digestive is one particular type of biscuit (delicious dipped in tea, oh god, oh god)

TheJoker's avatar

Not really. A digestive is a type of biscuit & can be eaten as both a sweet or savory. A cookie is only sweet & tends to be bigger, crumblier & ideally, crammed with chock chips & hazelnuts, mmmmmmmm!

marinelife's avatar

@The_Idler I know. I love them!

chocomonkey's avatar

Because the ones covered in dark chocolate would be so irresistible otherwise that they needed to make the name as unappetizing as possible or the population would eat nothing but cookies.

The_Idler's avatar

Ha I wouldn’t say they were served after dinner. i eat them only with a cup of tea.
I drink about 7 cups of tea in a whole day at home.

yeah, the dark chocolate ones are on another level.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’ve lived all over the world, and “cookie” seems to be a uniquely American term. Ask for a “cookie” in Australia, Philippines, Pakistan, Norway and they have no idea what you’re talking about. You have to say “biscuit”.

trailsillustrated's avatar

with red rose tea. yomomomomyum

OpryLeigh's avatar

Digestives are a type of biscuit. As far as I am aware biscuit is the British name for cookie although we do call certain biscuits (especially ones that have chocolate chips in them) cookies. Chocolate Hob Nobs are the way forward in my opinion!!!

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Mmmmm… I love digestives. Great with tea. Although, ew, the name is kind of gross sounding.

The_Idler's avatar

“Digestive biscuit” is probably about as gross sounding to the Americans, as “cookie” is childish sounding to the British.

Perhaps that is just because it is an American term, and so associated with American global media influence, which is generally pretty childish.

God, how I laughed, the first time I saw Fox ‘News’. We have news programmes especially for children in the UK, which are far more serious and balanced, than that ridiculous comic-strip of spin.
It was so showy, I felt like I was at the circus.

I’m not entirely sure about the point of it;
is Fox created by stupid conservatives, or are the stupid conservatives created by Fox…?

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I love the English digestives or Scottish shortbread with espresso.

The_Idler's avatar

scot shortbread is great, i agree.
probably one of the Scotch nation’s greatest achievements… =P

SarasWhimsy's avatar

@The_Idler I completely agree with your comment about FOX “News”! Such a joke!

janbb's avatar

Digestives biscuits are quite similar to our graham crackers in compostion and flavor. As has been said, biscuits are the generic word for cookies in the UK.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Thank you, Fairway Supermarket in Red Hook, Brooklyn, because there I can get these!

The_Idler's avatar


how utterly absurd!

this is what you want:
McVities Chocolate Digestives

aprilsimnel's avatar

Hahaha! I went to a brunch last week at at the home of a British expat friend of mine and she had those!

OpryLeigh's avatar

@janbb If the American Graham’s Crackers are like Digestive biscuits I assume that the American Graham’s Crackers are very different to the Graham’s Crackers we have here in the UK?

janbb's avatar

@Leanne1986 Haven’t had the Brit ones and the American ones are not exactly like digestives but are are a similar kind of crunchy, not too sugary biscuit.

marinelife's avatar

@janbb I have to respectfully disagree that graham crackers are like digestive biscuits in taste. i don’t find them at all the same. there is no taste of graham in digestive biscuits.

janbb's avatar

@Leanne1986 @marinelife I could be wrong – it’s been a while. Luckily, I will be in England next month and will make it my business to investigate further.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@janbb Cool, are you here foor business or pleasure? Where will you be visiting?

chocomonkey's avatar

@janbb, @marinelife – I’m with marinelife. McVities Digestives are to Graham Crackers what Mrs. Fields is to Keebler. Graham Crackers have their place, sure, but mostly under melted marshmallows and chocolate. McVities are a feast unto themselves.

at least, when I was in college, I managed a half a pack for dinner on occasion. proud and yet not proud now

marinelife's avatar

@chocomonkey I have to ration my consumption too!

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