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Sylvester Graham and His Crackers

February 2, 2014 , , , ,

The son of an older Presbyterian minister and his much younger wife, Sylvester Graham became an orphan early in his life.  His mother was committed to an insane asylum and his father died.  He was admitted to Amherst, but left without graduating.  He met the Reverend William Metcalf, founder of the first vegetarian church in Philadelphia, known as The Bible Christians. He was convinced to try vegetarianism and soon pronounced it to be the remedy for alcoholism. Graham was a crusader for the use of whole grains.  He was outraged that beer and distilled spirits were using grains to create alcohol rather than whole grain foods.  He was angry with bakers for using what was known as the “bolting cloth” a process that removed the bran from the flour.  In 1837 he called physicians vampires in lectures given to his followers in Boston.  He denounced the butchers and the bakers of the city, causing a revolt on the part of the aforementioned.

Today we know his name because the graham cracker is part of our American cuisine.  The corn flake and other whole grain cereals followed the lead of Graham crackers.  He became an ordained Presbyterian minister and an ardent opponent of the consumption of both alcohol and flesh.  Since legal prohibition had been repealed in 1933 his views on alcohol were out of step with the times, and certainly nobody wanted to hear him go off on vegetarian diet when it was more unpopular.  His hatred for the “bolting cloth” moved him to call it America’s shroud.  Now that so many suffer from saccharine disease, his extreme beliefs that the removal of bran may seem prophetic.  What is crazy is that the Graham cracker of today contains no whole grain.  Unbleached white flour and sugar are the tasty main ingredient in our key lime pie crust, which would have made Sylvester freak out all over the place.

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comments

hehehe, we don’t have graham crackers here unless you pop into an American specialist store/ I always wondered what the fuss was about

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London-Unattached.com

February 4, 2014

wow that’s quite a story and one I *never* would have associated with that cracker (and I eat them frequently enough. VERY cool

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Stevie Wilson (@LAStory)

February 6, 2014

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