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‘What The Fluff?’ Celebrates A Century Of Peanut Butter’s Marshmallow Friend

Fans suffer a juicy provide done with Fluff during a 12th annual What a Fluff? festival in Somerville, Mass., on Sept. 23. The festival celebrates a 100th anniversary of Fluff, invented in Somerville in 1917 by Archibald Query.

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Fans suffer a juicy provide done with Fluff during a 12th annual What a Fluff? festival in Somerville, Mass., on Sept. 23. The festival celebrates a 100th anniversary of Fluff, invented in Somerville in 1917 by Archibald Query.

Carolyn Beans/Carolyn Beans

This year outlines a 100th anniversary of Marshmallow Fluff — peanut butter’s second many famous sandwich co-star.

An estimated 20,000 Fluff fans distinguished a centennial in gummy character final Saturday, in a New England area where a confection was initial concocted — Union Square in Somerville, Mass., usually outward of Boston.

If we occur to have led a Fluff-free childhood, here’s an intro: Fluff is a marshmallow cream done from corn syrup, sugarine syrup, dusty egg whites and vanillin. So yeah, it’s fundamentally sugarine — ooey, gooey, tawny sugar. It’s many famous for a pivotal purpose in a “Fluffernutter,” a lunchbox favorite consisting of peanut butter and Fluff slathered between bread.

But during a 12th annual Fluff Fest (this flurry of Fluff fandom indeed happens any year), people put a confection to reduction required use. People sipped a normal Mexican rice-based libation horchata surfaced with Fluff. Children changed pompoms opposite a theatre regulating usually their Fluff-covered faces. Adults and children experimented with Fluff as a hair (and beard, and eyebrow) styling product. A modern-day reincarnation of Fluff’s inventor, Archibald Query, oversaw a festivities dressed in his excellent plaid foe coupler and gingham pants.

The Flufferrettes perform during a 12th annual What a Fluff? festival, celebrating 100 years of Marshmallow Fluff.

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Carolyn Beans/Carolyn Beans

The Flufferrettes perform during a 12th annual What a Fluff? festival, celebrating 100 years of Marshmallow Fluff.

Carolyn Beans/Carolyn Beans

In 1917, a genuine Query began defeat adult marshmallow cream in his Union Square home, offered it doorway to door. Three years later, recently returned fight vets H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower purchased his recipe for $500 (about $6,000 in today’s currency). The organisation gave a honeyed muck a iconic name and done it a signature product of their new business partnership, a Durkee Mower Company, formed in Lynn, Mass., where a family-owned business still operates.

“Whether they grew adult in a ’80s, ’70s, or ’60s, everybody thinks of Fluff as their childhood treat,” Mimi Graney, Fluff Fest owner and author of Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon, told me during a event.And a fact that it’s been around for 100 years means that everybody is right.”

As a child in suburban Philadelphia, my marshmallow cream intake appearance any open when my mom would mix it with cream cheese and a strawberry (for color) and let my hermit and we thrust uninformed strawberries into a pinkish dip. we desired a stuff.

But New Englanders lay a special explain to Fluff. Paul Walker, clamp boss of production during Durkee Mower, says that his organisation produces 8 million pounds of Fluff any year and during slightest half is sole in New England.

Many generations of New Englanders came out for a festival.

Alecia Villa, a 19-year-old from Burlington, Mass., attended with her relatives and brother. Her favorite approach to eat Fluff? “With a spoon, out of a jar.”

Her father, Chris Villa, grew adult a integrate of miles from a square. He remembers teaming adult with other kids to assistance neighbors trowel snowy drives. His grandmother would prerogative them all with cocoa surfaced with Fluff.

Over during a Fluff Festival sell tent, one mom purchased a Fluff Fest onesie and hold it adult to her infant. By a song stage, another mom, Ann Kiely, was celebrating her birthday (some age over 65, she said). She wore a ski top sporting a Fluff trademark — a hand-knit present from a daughter station subsequent to her. With a mischievous smile, Kiely explained a “health benefits” of Fluff: “It is usually 40 calories for dual tablespoons and it indeed has egg white powder in it, so it’s a full protein.”

Not everybody sang such praises.

KC Cohen, a photojournalist and internal Californian, told me she hadn’t listened of Fluff until she came East for school. “I — don’t like Fluff,” she confessed. But as an artist, she is drawn to a iconic jar — elementary white and blue with a retro rise and a red lid. She hand-sewed 64 small Fluff jar ornaments to sell during a festival. Ninety mins in, they were gone.

Fluff was not a initial or final marshmallow cream on a market. In her book, Graney describes how a Massachusetts-based Emma E. Curtis Company was already producing a possess chronicle when Query got started. And it was Curtis who in 1918 initial published a recipe for pairing marshmallow cream and peanut butter on a sandwich. In 1957, Kraft Foods got in on a marshmallow cream market, too.

But a unequivocally subsequent year, Durkee Mower came adult with a name “Fluffernutter” and launched a inhabitant ad debate that landed a sandwich — and their Fluff — a durability place in American childhoods.

At Fluff Fest, there were copiousness of Fluffernutters to be had — like 3,000 of them. Students from Somerville High School’s song dialect circulated a throng offered sandwiches to lift income for propagandize trips.

For a non-traditionalists, there were novel recipes to try. Local restaurants setup emporium underneath tents offered Fluff widespread over doughnuts, folded into empanadas, and tucked into pierogis. At a Fluff cooking foe table, judges sampled all from a “Flufferita pizza” done with Fluff and jam (instead of mozzarella and sauce), to an Indian pakora boiled break filled with honeyed potato and Fluff.

Patrick Chhoy, 26, from Lowell, Mass., won “Most Inventive Recipe” for his Fluff Maki — deep-fried honeyed potato slices dressed with prohibited sauce, rolled in rice and seaweed, and surfaced with Fluff, avocado, bacon, and chili powder. He clinched a win with no before Fluff experience. “I grew adult on bologna sandwiches,” he said.

Over during a festival’s Fear Factor table, a brave were formulating furious (and mostly nauseating) Fluff-inspired finger foods. Festival guest picked from crackers dirty with Fluff blended with a operation of condiments, from chocolate syrup to salsa. They afterwards combined toppings like immature beans, Lucky Charms, capers, or Spam. we met Mike Bertolami of Waltham, Mass., as he and his 13-year-old son sampled Fluff churned with Tabasco salsa and surfaced with tuna and corn.

“Very engaging combination,” he told me with a devious smile. “I consider this competence be a future.”

For Graney, this expertise is unequivocally what Fluff Fest is all about. She combined a festival as then-director of Union Square Main Streets, a internal area group, as a approach to jump-start a internal economy by harnessing what she calls a “creative assets.” Many told her she should make a area some-more like circuitously Kendall Square, home to biotech startups and creation powerhouse MIT.

“But we wanted to uncover how Union Square does invention — off-beat, homegrown and a small quirky,” she said. The festival’s central pretension is “What a Fluff? A Tribute to Union Square Invention.”

But Fluff Fest is also about nostalgia.

One mother, Victoria Brenckle, sang me a Fluffernutter chime she remembers from aged TV commercials as her 2-year-old daughter sat wearing a homemade Fluff jar hat. The toddler had never attempted Fluff — though currently would be a day.

“We were anticipating to give her a Fluff doughnut though a line is crazy long,” Brenckle said. “We really have to get her some Fluff. She’s a New Englander.”

Carolyn Beans is a freelance scholarship publisher vital in Washington, D.C. She specializes in ecology, evolution, and health.