When I reflect back on my childhood, I think of all the innocent moments that brought me happiness. I remember sitting on my mother’s lap with a box of graham crackers and a glass of milk dipping the crackers in the milk and giggling as the crackers would get soft and break in the milk and I would have to fish them out until I had milk dripping down my arm to my elbow. I remember endless nights around the fire outside as a child and a teen making s’mores with family and friends. These moments revolving around graham crackers makes me smile and feel warm to this day.
I believe as parents, we bring some of those symbols of our childhood innocence into our own children’s lives. I have a firepit in my backyard and any time we have friends over, or just as dessert after dinner, I and my three children wander out to build a fire and get lost in the sticky deliciousness of endless s’mores.
When mom says no more graham crackers pic.twitter.com/3Rejsko0FI
— Girl Prince Supreme (@CureGirlPrince) February 9, 2022
When we are experiencing these “fuzzy” moments of life, we often do not think of things such as the origin or the history of something so simple as a graham cracker. Now that I have looked into their origin, I am shocked! How could something that symbolizes such feelings as innocence and fond memories have such a twisted beginning?
Graham crackers were invented by a Presbyterian minister named Reverend Sylvester Graham. Graham was concerned about the physical and spiritual health of his parishioners and people overall. So much so, that he became obsessed with his beliefs. Reverend Graham believed that people who suffered from lust were going to develop epilepsy, diseases of the spine, and the early death of their children! Graham’s followers shared his beliefs and followed his dietary recommendations.
Reverend Graham was convinced what people consumed contributed to their sin of lust. He believed that meat and fat were “lust culprits” and pushed his followers to a high fiber, vegetarian diet. For these beliefs, he is considered to be the “Father of Veganism”. Graham created “Graham Bread” which consisted of flavored, unsifted flour.
Graham bread, along with these other dietary restrictions, according to Graham, would squelch excitement in general as well as the excitement that would lead one to masterbate. As we may have heard as an old wives’ tale in modern day circles, Graham believed that masterbation would lead to blindness and quite possibly, dying early.
Grahams followers were known as “Grahamites” and these followers and their beliefs last for a very long time, even decades. One of his followers, Dr John Harvey Kellogg, invented the cereal which consisted of bland flakes made of corn which he believed would also lead people to lives of purity.
Unfortunately for Reverend Graham, today’s version of graham crackers are a far cry from his original recipe and intended purpose. Today’s refined white flour, sugar, and corn syrup graham cracker that is paired with gooey marshmallow and creamy chocolate is enjoyed around campfires and sometimes parties that consist of alcohol and lovers. Has this knowledge changed my nostalgia which I associate with graham crackers? No! It actually now offers a fantastic story to share with others and makes my once seemingly boring cracker pack an extra punch of fun!