Everything you ever wanted to know about Fluff
Fluff turns 100 this year. The marshmallow blend has been smeared on a century's worth of schoolchildren's sandwiches. It has inspired a festival and other sticky remembrances.
Every year, between 5 million and 7 million pounds of the sticky cream invented in suburban Boston in 1917 is produced. It is sold worldwide. Half the supply is bought up by New Englanders and people in upstate New York.
It came of age in the 1960s. That is when generations of schoolchildren started clamoring for "Fluffernutter" sandwiches. They still are made by slathering peanut butter and Fluff between two slices of white bread.
Over the past decade, fans of Fluff have been staging an annual "What the Fluff?" festival. It is held in Somerville, Massachusetts. That's where the Fluff was invented.
Here is a fluffy look at its history:
Montreal-born confectioner Archibald Query crafted the original recipe. That was in 1917.
Query is said to have made the first batches in his own kitchen in Somerville. Then he would sell it door to door. There was a sugar shortage in the U.S following World War I. So Query sold the recipe for $500. He sold it to two war veterans. Their names were H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower.
The recipe has stayed with Durkee Mower Inc. ever since. It's the only product the family-owned company makes.
Durkee and Mower began producing and selling Fluff in 1920. They first named it Toot Sweet Marshmallow Fluff. The company then moved to a factory in East Lynn, Massachusetts. That was in 1929.
The original recipe hasn't changed. It contains corn syrup, sugar syrup, dried egg whites and vanillin. The jar is only slightly different. This is according to Mimi Graney. She is the author of a new book, "Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon."
Fluff lovers "associate it with their own childhood and image of home," Graney says. There are competing products, too. They are sold by Kraft, Solo Foods and others.
The 12th annual "What the Fluff?" Festival will be staged in September. It was started as a way to revive Somerville's now-trendy Union Square neighborhood. The festival draws about 10,000 people. They gather for activities including cooking and eating contests. They also include Fluff jousting, Fluff blowing, a game called Blind Man Fluff, and concerts.
Somerville residents tend to have a soft spot for Fluff.
"It totally takes me back to my childhood," said Amy Hensen. She is a 43-year-old. She lives in Somerville.
Mayor Joseph Curtatone likens the product to his community.
"It's original, creative, and a little bit funky. But that's why we love it," he said.
U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams spent 322 days in space. She was on two missions to the International Space Station. She made Fluffernutter sandwiches on board. Williams attended high school in Needham, Massachusetts. So Fluff was a comfort food.
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is Fluff connected to childhood?
Write your answers in the comments section below