Happy 100th Birthday, Marshmallow Fluff
No need to wait until the annual Union Square Fluff Festival this fall to get your fix of this unique sweet: The Somerville invention turns 100 years old this month, and its hometown is throwing down.
Mimi Graney, the woman responsible for 11 years of What the Fluff?, has authored a new book on the history of the stuff. Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon is officially fêted tonight at Somerville Brewing Company’s American Fresh Brewhouse at Boynton Yards.
Moving beyond the well-known story of Somervillian Archibald Query, who invented the sugary spread during World War I and sold it door-to-door, Graney dives into New England’s historic candy industry, and also discusses headier topics like changing social roles for women, modern advertising, and today’s grocery shopping landscape in the new tome.
“Marshmallow Fluff is like Forrest Gump. It’s everywhere throughout history—from the Great Molasses Flood to the development of grocery stores to the increase of advertising. It’s changed the way Americans eat and how neighborhoods are designed,” Graney told the Boston Globe.
The author, then the director of Union Square Main Streets, started the Fluff festival in 2006 as a way to activate local history in then-sleepy Somerville—and it worked beyond likely anyone’s sugar-fueled dreams. Eight hundred attendees stopped by that first year, and now the festival draws a crowd of 10,000.
Graney will be there tonight to sign fresh copies of the brand new, Union Park Press paperback, and there will be appropriate snacks, of course. Expect Slumbrew beer pairings with Fluff-filled treats, like spicy Thai peanut glazed tots with a Fluff drizzle.
The Fluff book tour continues throughout the month of March. Local makers are busy Fluffing up their products for this Saturday’s installment of the Union Square Winter Farmers’ Market. Ever had a Fluff-filled dumpling? No? That can change this weekend, thanks to Jaju Pierogi, which is bringing berry-chocolate-Fluff pierogi to the Armory. In addition to other Fluff specials, Graney will be there with books, and there will be vendor giveaways and discounts for those in the know—to unlock the sweet specials, wear a Fluff T-shirt, or say the password phrase: “I’m a friend of Archibald Query.” Plus, the usual spread of seasonal produce is available, for good measure.
Graney will be at Spindler Confections—part candy shop, part history museum—on March 10. On March 22, she’ll lead a talk at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation. The next week she returns to Somerville for a talk at the Public Library, and she’ll be at Davis Squared to sign books on April 1. Find all the details on Eventbrite.
Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon Launch Party, Thursday, March 2, 6-8 p.m., American Fresh Brewhouse at Boynton Yards, 15 Ward St., Somerville, Eventbrite.
Somerville Winter Farmers’ Market Celebrates Fluff, Saturday, March 4, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Avenue, Somerville, somwintermarket.org.