THERE’S a saucy secret behind the origins of Graham crackers.
The beloved base of delicious treats such as S’Mores and cheesecakes has anything but a plain, dry history.
Why were Graham crackers invented?
The humble Graham cracker was created with one purpose in mind – to put Americans off sex.
It was meant to be the opposite of an aphrodisiac, and repel people’s lustful drives.
The crunchy snack was created by prudish Sylvester Graham in 1829.
A health nut with a firm belief in abstaining from sex and masturbation, Mr Graham was adamant that a healthy, plant-based diet helped fend off physical arousal.
Who was Sylvester Graham?
Graham crackers creator Sylvester Graham was a devout Presbyterian Minister who lived in New Jersey in the 1800s.
The vegetarian promoted foods that he said people should eat to maintain physical, spiritual and mental health, explains Food Republic.
He was so charismatic that he attracted hordes of devotees.
His followers were dubbed ‘Grahamites’.
Like their leader, they dined on plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high fiber food.
Booze and animal products were a strict no-no.
Mr Graham – who stuck to eating two meals a day – died at the age of 57.
How has the Graham cracker recipe changed?
Apart from putting people off X-rated thoughts, Sylvester Graham’s original recipe was created as an antidote to factory-made white bread.
Mr Graham was vehemently opposed to this mass-produced staple of the American diet back in the 1800s.
“Thousands in civic life will, for years, and perhaps as long as they live, eat the most miserable trash that can be imagined, in the form of bread,” Mr Graham complained in his Treatise on Bread and Bread-Making.
He added that people “never seem to think that they can possibly have anything better, not even that it is an evil to eat such vile stuff as they do.”
His healthy and pure biscuit was made with unsifted flour.
This unbleached white flour was mixed with wheat bran and germ to create a wholesome, unsweetened and vegetarian biscuit, says Travel Better.
Over the years his crackers have become ‘less pure’, as sugars and other items have been added to them, the website adds.
They’ve long been used in classic recipes such as S’mores, cheesecake bases, or delicious pumpkin pie.
Food Republic describes the original Graham crackers as “kind of gross: Far from the slightly sweet and satisfying Graham cracker you buy today, the authentic article was actually rather bland, dry and unappealing.”
Nabisco brought out a cinnamon variety in 1986, low-fat crackers in 1995 and doubled the amount of whole grains in each serving in 2006.
What other foods were invented to stop masturbation?
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were originally invented as an “anti-masturbatory morning meal” to reduce the urge to pleasure yourself.
The bland cereal was designed to put people off sex and discourage them from pleasuring themselves, according to Kate Devlin’s book, Turned On: Science Sex and Robots.
Sex was a touchy subject for John H. Kellogg, the brains behind the household breakfast cereal in the late 1800s.
Mr Kellogg, a physician, Seventh-Day Adventist and anti-sex campaigner, believed that the key to curing pleasure cravings was through a bland and “healthy” diet designed to “reduce such urges”.
He claimed symptoms of masturbating including mood swings, bad posture, acne, epilepsy, palpitations and a fondness for spicy food.
Keen to stop the public from touching themselves, he went into business with his brother William to sell a tasteless breakfast dish.
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes have been a family favourite ever since.
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