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York Bakers offer Dyspepsia

I came across the two ads above in an 1856 York Gazetteer and City Directory. I understood the wheat and rye bread and the rolls and cakes. I wasn’t sure about the rusks and the Dyspepsia completely stumped me. I thought dyspepsia meant indigestion, which wasn’t something I thought bakers would mention, even if their wares didn’t agree with the customers.
It turns out that dyspepsia really does mean indigestion, or disturbed digestion. So what were the bakers advertising?

They were baking dyspepsia bread, a slightly sweet, somewhat bland wheat meal bread meant to sooth the digestive system (as opposed to bread dyspepsia, which is indigestion caused by bread). Wheat meal is coarsly ground, unsifted flour–think cornmeal. Most dyspepsia bread recipes seem to be for a quick bread sweetened with molasses and using baking soda for leavening. Some do call for sugar or yeast instead.
Rusks probably refer to a sweet raised bread that is sliced and baked again to make it dry and crisp, kind of like biscotti. It would also be the same as zweiback, produced for many years for older babies to chew on. (Zweiback is German for twice-baked.)
You can imagine the odors of fresh-baked breads perfuming the air each morning in the first block of North George St. where the two bakeries above were located.
Want to make dyspepsia bread yourself? The link below with take you to a recipe.
Molasses and baking soda bread.
I don’t know if you can find wheat meal, but it seems to be somewhat similar to Graham flour, which is available. Graham flour was named for Reverend Sylvester Graham, an early 19th century healthy eating advocate. Ah-hah, so that’s where graham crackers come from.
Click here for more wares with unfamiliar names.