The cracker inspired by Sylvester Graham’s preaching was part of the temperance movement in the 19th century. The minister believed that humans must be free from pleasures and stimulations of every kind like masturbation by following a vegetarian diet. He encouraged a diet inclusive of bread made with coarsely grounded wheat so that it’s natural raw could keep people healthy.
Sylvester’s preaching was followed by many in mid-1829-51 during the cholera pandemic. Sylvester Graham’s followers were known as Grahamites who formed the first vegetarian movement in the United States and Graham Crackers was a significant part of it. Graham never profited out of Graham Crackers but wanted to serve the nation by providing his followers with a healthy food recipe.
Main ingredients and production process of Graham Crackers
Some of the main ingredients used for the preparation of Graham Crackers include Graham or wheat flour, oil, salt and molasses. During the late 1800s, Graham Crackers were produced in mass in the United States by the National Biscuit Company. The Loose-Wiles Biscuit Company too started producing Graham Crackers on a commercial level in the early 1910s. Even today, the U.S. continues to be the largest producer of Graham Crackers worldwide.
Previously, Graham was made free from artificial sweeteners or flavours to preserve the natural raw. They were made with yeast-leavened dough and the flavour was added with the process called fermentation. Modern-day process omits this step completely and replaced it with flavours. The dough is kept cold before rolling to prevent breakage during the baking procedure.
How do we use Graham Crackers?
Graham Crackers were initially consumed raw and on a short scale. However, today we use Graham Cracker crumbs to make cake and pie crusts or sometimes as a layer for cheesecake. Graham Cracker pie crusts are also produced on large scale in the U.S. which consists of Graham Cracker crumb mixture in an aluminium pie tray.
Why is the term Graham Crackers capitalized?
You must be wondering about the capitalization of the cracker as most of the biscuit names are not capitalized. Well, this is because this cracker’s name is actually the name of a person, unlike other snack foods. He was the minister and a preacher named Sylvester Graham who created its recipe in the year 1829. He was vegetarian and promoted healthy food to maintain a healthy mind and spiritual and physical body. His followers Grahamites adhered to this prescribed lifestyle and ate lots of fruits and vegetables along with Graham Crackers. They gave up animal-based food as well as alcohol. As a result, Graham maintained a charismatic leadership culture for more than a century.
The original Graham Crackers were not supposed to be sweet or flavoured
Instead of the crackers we get today, the original crackers were pretty gross. They were not sweet or salty but bland, dry and unappealing. The Grahams were made with unrefined coarse flour which looked like a biscuit after getting baked. The biscuits lacked flavour or finesse as compared to today’s products.
Graham Crackers were made to fight against sexual urges
Sylvester Graham used to advocate healthy eating and temperance. He believed that to stay healthy and calm, humans must abstain from sex and masturbation. The preachers believed that such desires arise because of the fatty and rich food which Americans consumed. Hence, he preached to maintain a plant-based healthy diet that could curb physical arousals. To promote good food, he invented Graham Crackers, and although there is no scientific study related to it, Graham Sylvester’s followers believed that consuming Graham Crackers could help them reduce romantic intimacy. Even today, people do not find Graham Cracker to be sexy enough!
In the United States, National Graham Crackers Day is celebrated each year
On the 5th of July, National Graham Crackers Day is celebrated each year to commemorate people’s love for this healthy snack food. The origins of National Graham Cracker Day may be attributed to the time when Reverend Sylvester Graham invented the Crackers as a potent deterrent to desire and overeating. Before the United States industries took control over mass production, just a small amount of the crackers was consumed in the 19th century.
Companies began manufacturing Graham Crackers on a huge and industrial basis over time, combining crackers with flavours such as honey and cinnamon. However, people enjoyed the legitimately behind the crackers combined with their actual authentic taste. Although we do not have information about the year when the National Graham Cracker Day was established, you can see them in funny shapes and sizes in front of the bakeries and supply shops on that day.