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[3]:29[5], The main ingredients in its earlier preparations were graham flour, oil, shortening or lard, molasses and salt. Since the cracker had no sugar or spice, you can imagine how plain it tasted. [12], Graham cracker crumbs are used to create graham cracker crusts for pies and moon pies, and as a base, layer or topping for cheesecake. His followers were called Grahamites and forme… [17][18], A box of National Biscuit Company graham crackers, c. 1915, which was priced at ten cents, Mango float, an icebox cake dessert from the Philippines using graham crackers, cream, and ripe Philippine mangoes, Cracker confectionery usually sweetened with honey, "Tasting Ready-Made Graham Cracker Crusts", "S'mores: How this American campfire snack came from the Industrial Revolution", 7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Graham Crackers, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Graham_cracker&oldid=989107711, All Wikipedia articles written in American English, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 17 November 2020, at 02:29. [2], The graham cracker was inspired by the preaching of Sylvester Graham who was part of the 19th-century temperance movement. In many respects, Graham predated the mania for wellness and spiritual renewal that would suffuse the later 19th Century in America, and—along with other cultural phenomena like the invention of breakfast cereal—lead to a revolution in the diet of a nation. Lessons from History is a platform for writers who share ideas and inspirational stories from world history. Graham Crackers represented to Graham all that was good about the earth and its bounty; he believed that a high-fiber diet was a cure for a variety of ailments. Graham neither invented nor profited from these products. He combined bran, wheat germ, and unprocessed wheat flour to make his now world-famous Graham Crackers. Who actually produced the first graham crackers so named because they were made of the unsifted wheat flour that Sylvester Graham promoted is the subject of dispute. His early life was marked by such poor health that he chose the ministry as a less stressful profession. Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham invented Graham Crackers in 1829 as part of a radical new dietary philosophy. Therefore, he encouraged the sole consumption of bland, tasteless food among his … ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Graham's beliefs included an idea that sugary, spicy, or otherwise flavorful foods led to an increased appetite for evil human desires. Graham crackers were created by a man named Sylvester Graham who was kind of a health nut back in the 1800s. Graham believed that consuming sugar, alcohol, and meat made people lustful, greedy, and sick. The product took off and eventually versions with cinnamon and chocolate made their way to the markets. They may seem like an innocuous treat today, but Graham crackers were once on the front lines to save America’s soul. It is eaten as a snack food, usually honey- or cinnamon-flavored, and is used as an ingredient in some foods. Take a look, Enjoying South Asian Food with a Muslim in China, ‘Twin Peaks’ and a Damn Good (Vegan) Cherry Pie, The rise of ghost kitchens and not so ‘fast’ food, 10 Easy Cooking Hacks Every Vegan Should Know. In the era in which he grew up, commercial bakers followed a trend for white flour that removed all fiber and nutritive value from wheat which many people, including and especially Sylvester Graham himself, believe sickened a generation … His followers distanced themselves from the movement shortly afterwards. In the 1830s, Graham was a minister in Newark, New Jersey. Silvester Graham was born in West Suffield, Connecticut in 1795 and died in 1851. His followers were called Grahamites, and they were famous for their odd Graham “health practices.” These practices included taking cold showers, sleeping on hard mattresses, and a bland vegetarian diet. In the hard-drinking, hard-smoking, and hard-breakfasting 1830s, vegetarianism was regarded with deep suspicion. [8] The Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company also began mass-producing the product beginning sometime in the early 1910s. Many opened Graham boarding houses where his dietary ideas were enacted. From sex, sure, but also from meat (he helped to found the American Vegetarian Society), sugar, alcohol, fat, tobacco, spices, and caffeine. Today, Graham may be best remembered for his promotion of unsifted and coarsely ground wheat flour, which he liked for its high fiber content, and for the fact that it was free of commonplace additives alum and chlorine. Unfortunately for Graham, there has been no proof that his diet curbed sexual appetite. His preaching was taken up widely in the midst of the 1829–51 cholera pandemic. He believed that minimizing pleasure and stimulation of all kinds, coupled with a vegetarian diet anchored by bread made from wheat coarsely ground at home, was how God intended people to live, and that following this natural law would keep people healthy. Some sources assert Graham himself invented the snack in 1829; others claim the graham cracker did not come into being until 1882, 31 years after Grahams death. The flour was nicknamed "graham flour" and is the main ingredient in Graham Crackers. Ironically enough, Sylvester Graham made the world a sweeter place, although he certainly meant to do the opposite. He also insisted on bathing and brushing the teeth on a daily basis (before it was necessarily commonplace to do so). There he formulated his radical ideas about diet and health—much of which he adhered to for the rest of his life. Before they were used for S’mores, people ate Graham Crackers to stop masturbation and other sexual urges. Graham was a fan of abstinence in many forms. [9][10] The product continues to be mass-produced in the U.S. But his message hit home with Americans, many of whom harbored a puritanical streak.

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