Monday, August 1, 2011

Marshmallows and Graham Crackers

Ancient Egyptians were the first to enjoy a gooey treat now called marshmallow as early as 2000 BC. The treat was considered very special and was reserved for gods and royalty.

Marshmallow was made from the mallow plant (Athacea officinalis) that grows wild in marshes. The term marshmallow was derived from the native home of the plant and the plant name. Mallow is native to Asia and Europe and has been naturalized in America. The Egyptians squeezed sap from the mallow plant and mixed it with nuts and honey. However, no one knows what the candy looked like in those times.

The French were introduced to marshmallow in the early to mid-1800s. Owners of small candy stores whipped sap from the mallow root into a fluffy candy mold. This time-consuming process was typically done by hand. Candy stores had a hard time keeping up with the demand. Candy makers started looking for a new process to make marshmallow molds made of modified cornstarch. At this same time, candy makers replaced the mallow root with gelatin and this created the marshmallow stable form.

In 1948, Alex Doumak revolutionized the process. He created and patented the extrusion process. This process involves taking the ingredients and running it through tubes. Afterwards, they are cut into equal pieces and packaged. Today, Americans are the main consumers of marshmallows. According to experts, Americans buy more than 90 million pounds annually.

History of Graham Crackers

Sylvester Graham invented Graham Crackers in 1829. Graham was a Presbyterian minister and avid vegetarian, who promoted the use of unsifted and coarsely ground wheat flour for its high fiber content. The flour was nicknamed "graham flour" after Minister Graham, the main ingredient in Graham Crackers.

Sylester Graham was born in West Suffield, Connecticut in 1795 and died in 1851.


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