National Graham Cracker Day is observed annually on July 5th. The graham cracker was originally invented as a “health food” as part of the “Graham Diet”. Developed by Presbyterian minister, Sylvester Graham in the early 1800s, graham crackers were originally made from whole-wheat graham flour with added bran and wheat germs. The minister believed this snack would curb a variety of sinful cravings.
- Back in the 1800s sex was very taboo. People were told if they gave into any sexual desires they were evil and would suffer from headaches, epilepsy and in extreme cases, insanity
- The Reverend Sylvester Graham believed carnal desires were inspired by the rich, fatty foods that Americans were consuming. So, his push to maintain a healthy, plant-based diet was in part to curb physical arousal.
- His popular Graham crackers were part of this, and while there is no scientific evidence to back up the correlation between eating this food and a lack of romantic intimacy, Graham amassed thousands of followers who believed in it.
- Enter Reverend Sylvester Graham. He fully supported the movement that sex should be forbidden and decided to invent the graham cracker to help out his fellow citizens.
- Graham was, in fact, a real person: You may have noticed the name Graham is always capitalized when referring to the cracker, unlike other snack foods, this is named after a real person: The evangelical minister who created the recipe in 1829.
- Sylvester Graham believed in diets and healthy eating. For one, he was a vegetarian, a strange concept at the time, and promoted foods one should eat to maintain physical, spiritual, and mental health.
- He even had followers called the Grahamites, and they adhered to his special lifestyle that promoted eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and high fiber foods.
- In 1837, Graham published a pamphlet entitled, “A Treatise on Bread and Breadmaking,” and was hailed by the philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson as “the prophet of bran bread.”
- The original Graham crackers were kind of gross: the authentic article was actually rather bland, dry and unappealing. Made from unrefined flour, this biscuit-like substance lacked the flavor and finesse of its contemporary descendant.
- Modern graham crackers are made with bleached white flour and come in a variety of flavors including honey, cinnamon and chocolate. While Sylvester Graham preached temperance and eating healthy, he also was a firm believer in abstaining from sex and masturbation.
- Commercially made Graham crackers date back to the 1900s: Before Honey Maid dominated the Graham cracker market, this snack was made by bakeries all over the United States.
- In 1898, many of these independent operations joined together to form the National Biscuit Company, aka Nabisco. It was through this merger that, by 1925, the Graham cracker we know and love today was created and sold under the name Sugar Honey Grahams. The name was changed to the currently recognized moniker Honey Maid in 1976.
- One of the most popular treats made with graham crackers is the S’more.
- Graham crackers have been used in s’mores for 96 years: Ever since s’mores were supposedly created by the Girl Scouts in 1927, the tasty treat has involved the famous Graham cracker, as well as a toasted marshmallow and hunk of chocolate.
- The first recorded recipe for this dish appeared in the publication Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts, though it didn’t gain mainstream popularity until the late 1960s and early 1970s.