Chances are, you never stop to think about how graham crackers came to be.
You hand them out to your toddler as a snack or crush them to create the base of your all-time favorite, pumpkin pie.
After all, there’s not much to these sweet, honey-flavored crackers. Or, is there? Turns out, graham crackers have a pretty intriguing history.
The origin of graham crackers
The concept behind this snack, which has become quite popular recently, started with Reverend Sylvester Graham.
Graham was a Presbyterian Minister who went a little too far with his religious principles. He, and his followers- who were nicknamed Grahamites- regarded it a sin to eat certain foods, namely sugar and meat.
So to prevent people from consuming these products, he invented his own diet regimen. Apart from sugar and meat, he was also against alcohol, tobacco, seasoning, butter, spices, and processed flour.
Taking caffeinated drinks was also sinful. According to Graham, these were just as bad as opium, tobacco or alcohol, primarily because they increased the urge for stimulation.
Graham’s steely ideology was based on the underlying notion that eating habits influence people’s character.
As such, he believed that some food products created an “overstimulation”, causing the victim to have ill thoughts and passions, such as sexual desires.
Graham was convinced that these thoughts and emotions were not only sinful, but they could also result in physical ailments. Examples of the alleged medical problems that would arise were:
- Spinal disease
- Premature death of an infant
To combat these emotions, he, therefore, advised his followers to swear off inappropriate foods and products. He even banned milk, claiming that it was “too exciting.”
So what food choices did his followers have? Well, the key element in his proposed diet was bread. But not just any kind of bread. It had to be made from coarsely ground rye or wheat, which was very different from the refined flour loaves sold back in those days.
This same flour was used to prepare crackers and muffins, which were mainly eaten for breakfast. This is how Graham’s crackers were invented.
Years later, people rejected the Grahamite ideology and his strict diet. The Graham crackers were reinvented into the edible form that we now recognize them for.
Graham crackers are named after their inventor, Graham. The Presbyterian Minister believed that diet had a massive influence on people’s behavior.
According to him, eating certain foods- such as processed flour, sugar and meat- gave one sexual urges. He thus advocated for products made of unrefined flour, and this is how the Graham crackers came to be invented.