Sunday, August 28, 2011

Graham Cracker Crumbs

Graham Crackers: We're Always Crushing Them Up

I can't think of another product quite like graham crackers.

There's no other cracker, cookie, chip that we crunch up as much as graham crackers.

I write this not doing research, but just with the experience and knowledge that it seems like at some point every year I'm crushing up graham crackers.

Occasionally, I crunch up some Oreos or chocolate wafer cookies - but graham crackers take the cake.

This past weekend my wife was making a cheese cake and I was the official graham-cracker-cruncher. I thought to myself - why don't they just sell graham cracker crumbs themselves instead. It probably wouldn't be an extra production cost other than new exterior packaging. I'd think you'd just have to sweep the floor at the graham cracker factory and throw it in a bag.

So, when I bought graham crackers the other day, I actually bought two packages. Each package had a recipe on it (neither, for graham cracker crust). One recipe was for crunchy ice cream topping (with a graham cracker crumb base). The other recipe was for graham cracker cookies (also with a graham cracker crumb base).

The Crumb Product DOES Exist

Well, I did a little online searching and apparently you can buy graham cracker crumbs - but clearly, these recipes indicate that most people are probably crunching them up themselves (I checked my local store, and they don't sell this crumb product).

But, I know for certain, I have never bought the crumbs themselves. I have bought a pre-made pie shell, but not the crumbs in a box. Nor do I think I've ever seen this product available despite it's existence.

What is a Graham Cracker and the Graham Diet

But this online searching lead me to ask even the most basic question, "What's a graham cracker?" since the first ingredient is wheat, why in the world are we grinding this thing up in the first place.

This little graham cracker search led me to learn all about Reverend Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister who invented the graham cracker as part of the Graham Diet that was a unique form of puritanical vegetarianism that was designed to ward off bad thoughts and sexual urges. Which his food philosophies among other influences crept into the thoughts of two brothers Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and Will Keith Kellogg, who's religious and health roots led them to create corn flakes, a food that stemmed from the Graham Diet.

Honestly, you read this well over a century later when graham crackers and corn flakes continue to be a part of the American food experience and you could hardly believe the origins, religious roots, and initial intentions behind these products.

And I sense that the current graham cracker is a little more flavorful than Rev. Graham's initial design, and he certainly wouldn't like that I crunched it up, added a little sugar and butter to make a cheese cake crust.

1 comment:

mae said...

I was going to tell you that thee is such a thing as prepackaged graham cracker crumbs, but you found that out yourself. I imagine that the price is higher, for the "convinience factor". haha, great post!!