Cracking History


There are Food Holidays for every day of the year. And usually, Spork is here to give you a recipe in celebration of these days. But instead, we’re offering up something a little different today.

For National Graham Cracker Day, we’re sharing a little about the history of the snack food that we all prefer to sandwich over marshmallow and chocolate.

Presbyterian minister Reverend Sylvester Graham is the man most attributed to creating what we’d come to know as the graham cracker.

It’s pretty easy to assume that graham crackers derived their name from his last name.

Graham believed in a vegetarian diet that was also high in fiber. He thought that sticking to this kind of diet would suppress sexual urges — which he saw as rampant in society. For him, “lust” causes physical problems like:

  • Pulmonary Consumption (aka Tuberculosis)
  • Epilepsy
  • Insanity
  • Spinal disease
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion
  • Child death (for kids conceived from “weak” parents)

Graham and his “Graham bread” became popular because he tapped into the health craze of the 1820’s and 1830’s. It was made from ground wheat flour, as he advocated for using (homemade) unsifted wheat flour instead versus refined white flour.

There is some dispute over when graham crackers actually came to be. While it’s agreed upon that they’re named after the Reverend, some say that graham crackers didn’t really show up until 1882. Whereas if you go with Graham as the inventor, then they’ve been around since 1892.

In 1989, Nabisco (known then as the National Biscuit Company) is credited with introducing the graham cracker into the market with Nabisco Graham Crackers product. And in 2915, Nabisco got closer to the graham crackers we all know with the Honey Maid line which added honey to the original graham flavor.

So while Graham is probably livid that we’re all adding sugar and sweets to our graham crackers, we here at Spork say if it’s sinful to eat refined flour, then we’ve committed a multitude of sins. And we’re ok with that.

Read more about the history of the graham cracker here
Photo credit: Unsplash