Monday, February 11, 2008

Fluffing With Inventions

"Spread one piece of bread with Fluff.
Then spread another with peanut butter.
There you have it: a Fluffernutter!"
The Yummy Book

I had big plans for today's post and then I got side tracked. First I was going to celebrate the debut of one of the first TV cooking shows, The French Chef created by Julia Child. The French Chef made its debut on February 11, 1963. Although "the Mother of French Cooking in America" was Dione Lucas, in the eyes of Julia Child, Julia Child pioneered a television platform that endeared her viewers while introducing them to a form of cooking which they were not comfortable with and thought they could not afford. Viewers were eager to experience what they had read in her already published books Mastering the Art of French Cooking, volumes 1 and 2. There's a wonderful tribute to Julia Child's show at PBS, American Masters Series. Here's a nibble:

"Scooping up a potato pancake, patting chickens, coaxing a reluctant soufflé, or rescuing a curdled sauce, Julia Child was never afraid of making mistakes. "Remember, if you are alone in the kitchen, who is going to see you?" she reassured her television audience." source

My next idea was to celebrate today as the birth date of Lydia Maria Francis Child. Lydia Maria Child made her living as a novelist, short story writer, school teacher, editor, writer for children, and abolitionists. She was born on February 11, 1802 in Medford, Massachusetts. She was encouraged by her brother to write, and publish her first historical fiction titled Hobomok when she was in her early 20's. The "daring" novel featured romance between a Native American man and a white woman. This was followed by The Rebels, The Mother's Book, The Girl's Book, and The History of Women. Although her novels were not her most successful works, she created and edited The Juvenile Miscellany, the first major children's journal which was quite popular. In 1828, she married David Lee Child, a lawyer with the a prominent future. The state of the newly weds finances can be seen in the title of her book The Frugal Housewife. Lydia Maria Francis Child life deserves to be shared and savored more carefully and so today, I think it would be best to lead you over to Baking History where Manuela has just prepared Lydia M. Child's 'Loaf Cake" from the American Frugal Housewife. As I write this post, Manuela teases me like this...

The cake dough is really wonderful, spiced with cinnamon and a little bit of rose water and I expect it will turn out really great once baked.

Detour...Today is Inventor's Day.

In recognition of the enormous contribution inventors make to the nation and the world, the Congress, pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 140 (Public Law 97 - 198), has designated February 11, the anniversary of the birth of the inventor Thomas Alva Edison who had over 1,000 patents, as National Inventors' Day. source

Fluffernutter CookbookInventor's Day is one of my favorite days to celebrate at Months of Edible Celebrations. So much so, that I didn't want to wait until Inventor's Month in August to create my new inventor's blog. I've named it Tasteful Inventions and it has been updated with new inventors and their inventions. It is still a work in progress (I suppose it will always be as such) but I plan on using it as a sort of launch pad for one place visitors can go as a resource for more research if they get a "hankering." As I was preparing the "starter" list for Tasteful Inventions, I became a little too stuck on the origins of Marshmallow Fluff. I kid you not. This is what I found.

The origins of Marshmallow Fluff actually go back to 1917. Before World War I, a Sommerville Massachusetts man by the name of Archibald Query had been making marshmallow crème in his kitchen and selling it door to door, but wartime sugar shortages forced him to close down. By the time the war was over, Mr. Query was no longer interested in restarting his business but, he was willing to sell his formula. Mean while, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower had begun making candy together and had set up a company in 1920, Durkee-Mower. They pooled their savings and bought Archibald Query's recipe for $500. Having just returned from France, they renamed their product "Toot Sweet Marshmallow Fluff" but "Toot Sweet" didn't stay on the label for long. In the 1930s the company became a pioneer in radio advertising when it sponsored the weekly "Flufferettes" radio show on a regional network in New England. source

But, the real story on this "gooey, sugary substance" can be traced back to around 1912 when a company by the name of Limpert Co. was selling a version of marshmallow crème to pharmacies.

The back story on this gooey, sugary substance is that in the early 1900s, it was very much in fashion to use white sauces to dress up foods. Marshmallow crème was already in existence; this semi-liquid version of marshmallow, which had been made for centuries, first as a derivation of a flowering plant called the marsh mallow, and later mostly of sugar, corn syrup, vanillin and egg whites, was developed sometime around 1912, when a company by the name of Limpert Co. was known to have begun selling a version of marshmallow crème to pharmacies. source

I suppose it was after reading these pleasantly surprising beginnings that I had to once again "hit the books" to see if I had my Yummy Book here with me in New York. Lo and Behold! I did. I haven't enjoyed a fluffernutter in ages. "What's a fluffernutter" you say? Well, as I recall, the Fluffernutter is a sticky concoction typically made with peanut butter, white bread, and Marshmallow Fluff. Some say, a Fluffernutter can't compete with a good old fashioned Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich, but there are those who beg to differ. Without getting into too much detail, I was one of those women who craved Fluffernutters during pregnancy. Perhaps, that's why I couldn't resist mentioning the invention of Marshmallow Fluff today. Below, you will find a couple of recipes included in the book. One is for Lemon Meringue Pie with Fluff Meringue and the other for Fluff Filled Cookies sort of a Moon Pie recipe. I'd also like to include a few Fluff sandwich fillings from the booklet.

Fluff Sandwich Fillings
Cheese & Ginger: Mix 1 package of cream cheese with minced preserved ginger to taste. Add Marshmallow Fluff by the teaspoon until mixture is good for spreading. Spread on Boston Brown Bread or Orange Nut Bread. Enough for 6-8 sandwiches.
Apricot & Nut: Mash 1 cup stewed apricots with a fork. Addd 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1 heaping tablespoon Marshmallow Fluff. spread on whole wheat bread. Fills 6-8 sandwiches.
Maraschino Fluff: Mix finely chopped Maraschino Cherries with Marshmallow Fluff. Spread on white bread 2 tablespoons chopped cherries and 1/4 cup Fluff. Fills 4 sandwiches.
Fluff & Peanut Butter: Spread one slice of bread with Fluff, another with peanut butter and put together for a sandwich.
  • 1. The Online Yummy Book (recipes)
  • 2. Have a fluffernutter
  • 3. "What the Fluff"
  • 4. Williams-Sonoma sued over 'Fluffernutter'
  • 5. Tasteful Inventions


  1. All great events to celebrate - but I have to agree that as a Fluffernutter addict from way back, you made the right choice today. It's been a while since I've indulged, but with the additional spread recipes you've provided, I've got a wealth of new options!

  2. Thanks T.W.
    You know what I'm buying at the grocery store today?

    Marshmallow Fluff! I counted Fluffernutter sandwiches last night, instead of sheep!


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