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The History of Graham Crackers

Graham crackers were inspired by the preachings of a 19th century Presbyterian minister named Sylvester Graham. Graham was a devotee of the Temperance Movement and believed that eating a bland diet of vegetables, water, and homemade whole-grain bread was beneficial. He recommended making graham flour (unsifted, unrefined, and unbleached whole-wheat flour) and using it to make breads and crackers, which led to the creation of graham crackers, making him the father of the beloved snacks. Specifically (and rather bizarrely), he believed that his recommended bland diet (which included crackers made from graham flour) would help quell sexual urges. He believed would in turn increase a person’s health, longevity, and serenity. While this seems strange today, at the time his ideas were so popular that he amassed a group of acolytes called Grahamites, one of whom was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of Corn Flakes cereal. Over time, graham crackers lost their reputation as a bland, anti-aphrodisiac food and instead became a popular treat made with sweeteners like honey and sugar. They are now most closely associated with s’mores (the first recipe for which came out in a 1927 Girl Scout handbook), campfires, and childhood summers.

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