Definitions

Graham cracker

Graham cracker

The graham cracker was developed in 1822 in Bound Brook, New Jersey, by Presbyterian minister Rev. Sylvester Graham. Though called a cracker, it is sweet rather than salty and so bears some resemblance to a cookie (American English) / biscuit (British English) (although the term is unheard of in the United Kingdom/Republic of Ireland - a digestive biscuit is the closest approximation). The true graham cracker is made with graham flour, which is unsifted and coarsely ground wheat flour.

It was originally conceived of as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen to suppress what he considered unhealthy carnal urges, the source of many maladies according to Graham. Reverend Graham would often lecture about the adverse effects of masturbation or "self-abuse" as he called it. One of his many theories was that one could curb their sexual appetite by eating bland foods. Another man who held this belief was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of the corn flakes cereal.

Modern Use

Many modern "graham crackers" are made of the refined, bleached white flour to which the Rev. Graham was implacably opposed. Some modern commercial graham crackers are no longer considered health food, but have remained popular as a snack food and breakfast cereal with greater amounts of sugar and other sweeteners than in the original recipe, and far less graham flour, often with no whole-wheat flour whatsoever. Cinnamon or chocolate may be added to enhance the flavor of the crackers. Technically, crackers are not really graham crackers unless they are made with graham flour, which is a hard whole-wheat flour in which the constituent bran, germ, and endosperm have been ground separately, the first two coarsely and the third finely.

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