In 2006, the state of Massachusetts suffered a political debacle over the merits of Marshmallow Fluff, a beloved, locally made marshmallow paste. In an effort to combat childhood obesity, state Senator Jarrett Barrios proposed that Fluff be restricted in public schools. His fellow state legislator, Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, counter-proposed that the Fluffernutter (the fluff and peanut butter sandwich she and other locals grew up with) be named the official state sandwich. In the end, nostalgia trumped nutrition, revealing the cultural significance of this marshmallow treat. To generations of Massachusetts natives, Fluff symbolizes the innocence and irreverence of childhood. Furthermore, Fluff is an all-American icon: invented by an immigrant, it is the sole product of a family-owned company founded by returning WWI veterans. Since the political fallout, Fluff's populist heritage has been celebrated in an annual festival held in Somerville, Mass., birthplace of Fluff.
katie liesener is a freelance writer from Somerville, Massachusetts, who has written for the Boston Globe and other area publications. She enjoys teaching writing at Emmanuel College, talking to strangers, and romanticizing her life as an impoverished writer.
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katie liesener; Marshmallow Fluff. Gastronomica 1 May 2009; 9 (2): 51–56. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2009.9.2.51
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