This comes from the Truth is Stranger than Fiction Department.
A couple of weeks ago, Massachusetts State Senator Jarrett Barrios announced that he would file legislation to outlaw Marshmallow Fluff in school lunch programs, because he was outraged that his son, in third grade, was served a Fluffernutter at school.
For the uninitiated, Fluff is a marshmallow spread and a Fluffernutter is a sandwich of Fluff and peanut butter.
A man named Archibald Query started making Fluff sometime before World War I in Somerville, MA, and sold it door to door. After the war H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower bought the recipe. Durkees are still running the company.
For more sexy pictures of jars of Fluff, history, and recipes, here’s the company’s site:
The day after Barrios’ announcement, State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, outraged at her colleague’s dissing a beloved, locally made product, announced that she was going to file legislation to make the Fluffernutter Massachusetts’ State Sandwich.
A major debate ensued between the anti- and pro-Fluff factions. The pros, along with simply loving it the way many of us love chocolate (and in fact, a spoonful of Fluff is a splendid topping for a cup of hot chocolate), point out that this is a home-grown article, made in Lynn, Massachusetts, that it is superior to all other marshmallow cream spreads in the known universe, and that to cast any sort of aspersions upon it is un-Massachusettsian, perhaps un-American.
Yes, I know at first glance this debate looks ridiculous, and Rep. Reinstein said so. Yes, there are far more important issues for our state legislators to tackle. And yet…
I have a lot of respect for any locally-owned, family-owned company that’s managed to survive and thrive in the era of megalithic conglomerates. And let us remember that a Fluffernutter, while not tops on the food pyramid (which by the way, represents a compromise between nutritionists and business) is not actively lethal, unless you are allergic to peanuts–but that’s not what the hullabaloo is about.
Now, a good deal of the food in my house is organic, and in the summer I buy as much as I can from the farmer’s market (all locally grown produce). I don’t eat fast food and almost no junk food–ice cream and chocolate don’t count. In spite of all this nutritional awareness,
I do love my Fluffernutters.
These days I might make them on organic whole wheat bread, but they’re still an occasional part of my diet. They make a splendid breakfast, lunch, or dinner in a hurry. A Fluffernutter is not empty of nutrients. After all, there’s egg white in the Fluff, and peanut butter has lots of protein.
So, as much as I am all for healthy eating, and would like to see a massive reduction in junk food served to kids, whether it’s in school or at fast-food restaurants, I was a little troubled by the prospect of a children’s world bereft of Fluffernutters. I found myself remembering the school lunches of my youth. From what I see under the School Lunch listings, many of the same meals are still served. The soggy pizza. The gristly hamburgers. Wasn’t ketchup designated a vegetable at one point? Has it been taken off the vegetable list? And let’s not forget that gourmet delight, American Chop Suey.
How much worse than those inedible school lunchroom meals is an eminently edible Fluffernutter?
Furthermore, the banning of the Fluffernutter raises another sticky issue. If it goes, some of us have wondered, wouldn’t peanut butter & jelly have to go, too?
Well, it turns out we’ll not be having that disturbing discussion anytime soon. This past Wednesday, State Senator Barrios dropped his opposition to Fluff. I ate a Fluffernutter to celebrate.
So what about you? Have you ever experienced the delights of a Fluffernutter? Have you a similarly quick, easy, and delicious meal item that might not bear the scrutiny of the Nutrition Police?