Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Digestives- United Kingdom

Please forgive me for my super random blog entries. I really thought I would be better at balancing the food writer/PA student gig. But, it is a tricky task to STUDY medicine, attend class, read for pleasure and pain, sleep, eat, power nap, watch Gossip Girl/Revenge/Shameless and find time to blog about food. But, I promise, my lovely fans random readers, I'll get better once I begin rotations. Plus, I will be starting a new blog around that time. It is, in fact, about medicine! Pourquoi pas?!? So, favorite the google blogger homepage, darlings: is officially in the works!*
I understand many of you might not be familiar with these delicious chocolate biscuits. But, if you live in Texas, do yourself a favor and try some immediately! They are available at Central Market. Cookie aisle. On the end. Third shelf from the bottom. You. Are. Welcome.

Today I'm eating cookies/biscuits called Digestives.** In America or across the pond, it is something I can always count on to appease my cookie addiction.***
I guess you could say my love for Digestives started in the summer of 2006. I spent a college semester in London, and it was then I fell in love with the city's beauty and atmosphere-- and Chocolate Digestives.
Nearly every day after class, my friends and I sauntered to the local Sainsbury's for the food we would be eating for dinner. We got so much pleasure from walking the sidewalks together. What transpired was laughter, random conversations, deep discussions, coffee pit stops at Costa, and, inevitably, shopping for groceries. Sainsbury's time was celebrated! (Even though we were mostly just buying TV dinners. Livin' on my own, Freddie!)

The Sainbury's grocery chain branch we frequented was housed on the first floor of a modern-style building. The edifice screamed corporate climate. It was cotton white and had two sun-faded, red banners monogrammed with “ESPIRIT” lining the span of multiple windows. We would walk in, grab a hand-held basket, and immediately split up. The inside of the store was small but not cluttered; a coziness that I found quite nice. It reminded me of a super clean and English-y Gristedes.
As a customer, I was often dressed like an easygoing college student: tank top, torn jean shorts, disheveled hair salted with sweat (It was really hot outside!), au natural makeup and Old Navy flip flops. I liked to start shopping at the frozen food section on the left. I would trace the perimeter of the store and carefully pick out my TV dinner of choice before heading to the snack food.
One day, after picking up flash frozen manicotti and Laughing Cow cheese, I was perusing the bounty of carbohydrates in the center aisle of the store for bread and crackers. Then I became distracted. I looked down and saw a bright and colorful package of cookies called, “Digestives.” The brand name fascinated and disturbed me. I had to try them as soon as possible.
When we got back to our flat, I started up my Slow-As-Christmas laptop, re: Pre-Macbook stage of my life. Once you go Mac you never go back! Ya heard? A quick Wikipedia search explained how commonplace Digestives are in the United Kingdom. Digestives date back to 1876! They were believed to have had “antacid properties” when they were initially developed; this was due to the “sodium bicarbonate.” Today they are still prepared in a special manner (cathartic?) and served as a traditional tea time cookie.
So, how do they taste? I am so glad you asked.

The first time I bit into a Chocolate Digestive, I was instantly smitten. The flavor is a sweet kiss of milk chocolate and graham cracker. The graham is super thick and crumbly while the chocolate coating is thin and has a smooth texture. The two ingredients come together in one haute Honey Maid-y bite. Further bites cause the cookie/biscuit/cracker to turn into a mix of crunchification that, in a weird way, melts in your mouth. Yup, it is a splendiferous cookie. After you finish one, you are already looking forward to another. (Why I became an addict!) Maimmm!
Once I returned to the States, I had withdrawals from my British cookie fix. Years past without any Digestives in my life. I began to forget the taste. Then something fantabulous happened! I discovered them perched on a shelf in the over-priced section of my local Central Market. Bloody marvelous.
Yes. Digestives are amazing. They should totally be on every shelf in America! 
Hold on...

Scratch that...

These cookies would not be able to exist in Wal-Mart's across our fair nation. You see, in my opinion, the British get away with shit that would fly in America! If we had a cookie called a “Digestive” on OUR grocery stores shelves, it would cause uber-controversy and a crap ton of lawsuits. I can see the headline now, “Texas Woman Diagnosed With Colon Cancer, Blames Chocolate Cookie.” Dr. Oz would do a prime time expose! Kathy Lee would sympathize. And after a year or two, Court TV would feature Jane Velez-Mitchell working the court yard floor like an alpha-agonist dosed Chihuahua i.e. Casey Anthony style. Charges for the plaintiff. Bam! Digestives branded a carcinogen.

I hope this never happens.

*Seriously, please support/read the new blog. K, thanks. Loveeee. 
** I'm fairly certain these (and other 'cookies') are technically called, “biscuits” in the UK. But, whatever. That is really dumb.
*** Cookie rehab is for quitters. Plus, Digestives are necessary for my life!