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May 12, 2010: Too Much Fluff

May 12, 2010


“A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.” (Shakespeare: “Much Ado About Nothing”)

Well, I haven’t had meat in many a year, but you could easily swap “sweet” for “meat” and that would just about define my recent experience with that American treat: Marshmallow Fluff.

Creating the Bento lunchboxes the other night was an all night affair. I didn’t mind, as Yoshio is always great company, I learn a tremendous amount about his Japanese-fusion style of cooking and he feeds me very, very well! We took a break half way though and he made me a delicious tomato sandwich with melted boursin cheese on Italian bread. There were great snacks available from what he was creating. That night it was fresh mango, perfectly blanched fresh asparagus, and his delicious gourmet rice, all with the constant green tea. All very healthy fare, until, after dawn, he pulls out a jar of “Fluff” and decides (with his mischievous sense of humor) that we take a “Fluff Break!” [It should be explained that Yoshio had never had it before, but living in New England for so long, he knew of it, and he always has a sense of adventure to try a new foods.] Familiar with Fluff (but not having had it since my youth) I suggested why not make a “Fluffernutter Sandwich” and have the real “Distinctly American Treat!”

To those of  you not familiar with Fluff: Marshmallow Fluff was invented in 1911 by Archibald Query in Sommerville, Ma. Originally called “Toot Sweet (hah!) Marshmallow Fluff” (they quickly dropped the faux-french part.) It is  a mixture of corn syrup, sugar syrup, vanilla flavoring, and egg white. OK, let’s break that down: sugar+more sugar+a little vanilla+egg white+air= Fluff. Essentially it is a more malleable marshmallow, one shade denser than the spun candy you get at fairs…only not pink (unless you buy either the strawberry or raspberry varieties of Fluff.) It is the essential ingredient of traditional American snacks like: the “Fluffernutter Sandwich” (Fluff and peanut butter usually on Wonder Bread, with the optional banana slices); “Whoopie Pie” (two small chocolate cakes with Fluff between); “Rice Krispie Treats” (Rice Krispies cereal stuck together with Fluff and baked.) Not to mention “Smores” (slab of chocolate on a graham cracker, topped with Fluff and heated to a gooey puddle of sweetness.) Modern recipes using Fluff are the “Fluffacino” (espresso, amaretto, with spoon of Fluff on top) and the aptly named drink “Coney Island Men’s Room” (a blue martini with a scoop of strawberry Fluff on top) Brrrr!…the thought makes me shudder!

As the quintessential comfort food, Americans love their Fluff. 2006 was big letter year for Fluff: Massachusetts Senator Jarrett Barrios lobbied a proposal to limit Fluffernutter sandwiches to reduce the amount of junk food served in our schools. The proposal just…well…went away! The same year State Representitive Kathi-Anne Reinstein made a proposal that the Fluffernutter be designated the official sandwich of Massachusetts. 2006 was also the first celebration of Fluff called “What the Fluff” in it’s hometown of Sommerville:

http://www.unionsquaremain.org/committees/Special%20Events/fluff%20alt.html

Sweet, versatile, Kosher and gluten-free. That’s Fluff. For me, it was a good “blast from the past” to try it again. I don’t think I will make it a main part of my diet anytime soon, though. As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Of course, I could eat anything then and be OK. With the excess of sugars, alcohol, meat, and carbs finally eliminated from my diet, I feel pretty good. Part of a healthy adult life is getting rid of too much fluff!

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One comment

  1. Oh my gosh, I found a jar of fluff in the kitchen and was wondering why in the world my dad had bought it. Thank you for the explanation!



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