The State That Claims The Invention Of The Fluffernutter Sandwich

The fluffernutter doesn't seem like something you invent, but like a sandwich that just happens. Some enterprising child finds a cupboard with only peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff, decides that dessert for lunch actually sounds pretty good, and makes the only type of food they know how to make. It turns out that, mouth-gluing consistency aside, it actually tastes great. They tell their friends, they keep eating them into adulthood as nostalgia takes hold, and an accidental sandwich takes a step towards wider recognition. But food doesn't always work like that, sometimes it's an act of deliberate calculation, and sometimes it comes to symbolize a whole region — or in this case, a bit of both.

Almost every part of the country has at least one dish that it holds up as a local pride and joy, but that people who didn't grow up in the area might find suspicious. Minnesota has its hotdish, that hearty casserole variation that Eater states originated as a Midwestern way to stretch canned food and save a penny during lean times in the early 20th century. Cincinnati has its chili, the result of a melting-pot immigrant city and working-class ingenuity (via Food & Wine). Locals can forgive outsiders for not knowing how tasty these things actually are because they know the truth and don't need to prove anything to anyone. The fluffernutter has much the same story, from a place with a unique food culture all its own.

The fluffernutter is a product of Massachusetts

When you think New England, you might think clam chowder or baked beans, but the fluffernutter is a Massachusetts tradition that might be just as beloved. The New England Historical Society credits the invention of the sandwich to Emma Curtis, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Paul Revere. Emma and her brother, Amory made Snowflake Marshmallow Creme, which was just one of a number of marshmallow creme companies in the area at the time. With tough competition, they needed to distinguish their product, and Emma came up with the idea of printing recipes that included the sweet, creamy goop. The one that most caught on was a recipe for a peanut butter and creme sandwich, which during the first World War was called the Liberty Sandwich, and is the first known example of the fluffernutter.

Of course to use the word "fluff," in reference to a fluffernutter is to invoke another creme brand that was around at the same time, Marshmallow Fluff. Mental Floss reports that as theCurtis family was selling their creme, an entrepreneur named Archibald Query created his own. He sold his concoction to a company named Durkee-Mower, which named it "Marshmallow Fluff." The sandwich name was created by a PR agency the company hired in the 60s, and the fluffernutter was popularized in large part by its catchy advertising jingle. Sometimes a couple of moments of marketing ingenuity can go much further than anyone ever intended.