- Graham Crackers
- The man responsible for the Graham cracker was first a temperance leader and then a nutritionist. His puritanical zeal was to eliminate the evils of demon rum, which he maintained increased the evils of the sexual appetite. Sylvester Graham (1794-1851), a graduate of Amherst and an ordained Presbyterian minister, went on the lecture circuit to cure those suffering from what he saw as these evils. He expounded the premise that human beings should eat food the way God grew it, "untouched even by salt and pepper, which would cause insanity." He then accented the need to avoid sinful eating habits such as eating meats and fats, because they aroused the libido. A cardinal point was to substitute baked unsifted wheat flour for white bread. He recommended coarser flour because refined white flour removed vitamins and minerals.Graham was considered something of a crackpot. He was driven off many platforms by irate bakers, butchers, and others. And mobs of believers and disbelievers had pitched battles. The war against white bread heated up. James Russell Lowell wrote, "I am becoming more and more inclined to Grahamism every day." Such distinguished people joined Graham's crusade as Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, suffragette Amelia Jenks Bloomer, Bronson Alcott, father of the author of Little Women, William Lloyd Garrison, and Horace Greeley. But after it was all said and done, meat and alcohol won the day. Though Graham could not deliver a knockout punch, he did leave for the American public a tasty comestible—the graham cracker.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.