Marshmallow Fluff: You know it, you love it, and it’s officially been a staple in your lunchbox for one hundred years.
This is a fluff piece. And by that, I don’t mean a bunch of superfluous information—I mean that sticky, gooey, sweet marshmallow concoction that as New Englanders, we all hold dear in our hearts in one way or another.
From The Fannie Farmer Cookbook to the everlasting Fluffernutter (a most harmonious matrimony between the treat in question and ever-lovable peanut butter), this mysteriously tasty pantry essential has made its way into every facet of culinary necessity. I, for one, have enjoyed a multi-decade love affair with Marshmallow Fluff, beginning as a daily feature alongside carrot sticks and a Capri Sun juice box in my Tickles Tapeworm lunchbox (christening my borderline unhealthy relationship with irony). In college, the addictive white goop was almost solely responsible for my “Freshman 15” (damn you, toasted plain bagel Fluffernutters). Alas, this Lynn, Massachusetts-born confectioners spread is celebrating its 100th-year anniversary.
The fact of the matter is that everyone has their unique preferences when it comes to Marshmallow Fluff. Take the strawberry and raspberry flavors, for example, the latter of which has been discontinued and is, in my humble opinion, a complete sacrilege to the impossible-to-improve-upon purity of good ol’ fashioned original Fluff. One thing we can say for sure is that the Durkee-Mower gentlemen, inventors of Marshmallow Fluff, were seriously onto something, and finally there has come a proper testament to their infinite confectionary brilliance.
Mimi Graney, founder of What The Fluff?, an annual festival celebrating Marshmallow Fluff in Somerville, MA, has done us all the favor of chronicling the century-long legacy of this timeless spread. FLUFF: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon is her masterpiece and a tribute to Fluff in all its sinfully sweet glory.
To Graney, Marshmallow Fluff is more than just a melting spoonful of heaven in a mug of hot chocolate. In her historical rendition, she delves into the booming New England candy industry at the turn of the twentieth century, evolving social roles for women, the onset of modern advertising, and commercial habits of how we buy our food today. Ten decades of changing trends later, the tradition of Marshmallow Fluff has survived the adversity of time with flying colors, and remains one of the primary food groups in every self-respecting New Englander’s diet.
I fully expect a distinct spike in Marshmallow Fluff sales across New England following this piece. Happy snacking, motherfluffers.