Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“What the Fluff?” (All hail, Archibald Query!)

Somehow along the way, I missed the fact that this is the centennial year for a local delicacy.

Yes, Marshmallow Fluff is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year.

I try to stay loyal to local brands: Worcester’s own Polar Soda; Teddie’s peanut butter; sometimes even Prince Spaghetti (“Anthony……). And if I were still a Fluff consumer, I’d of course be buying the very Marshmallow Fluff that Archibald Query first created (discovered? invented?) way back in 1917.

But although Marshmallow Fluff was a staple of my childhood, I can’t remember the last time I had a Fluffernutter.

In Galway last May, I did pass a sweetshop that hFluffad Marshmallow Fluff (among other American sweet stuffs) on display in its window. And I was tempted to go in and buy a jar, no doubt paying triple what it would cost back home. But what was I going to do with it? Lug it back through Customs?

I eat peanut butter pretty much every week. It’s one of a handful of items – it may, in fact lead the list – that I always have on hand, but the idea of eating a Fluffernutter (on white bread, of course) just does not appeal. This was, of course, not always the case.

Growing up, I loved peanut butter and Fluff. One of the worst feelings on earth was taking that opaque jar of Fluff off the shelf and discovering that there was so little of it left, it had hardened to a cement like consistency. Honestly, just as Elmer’s Glue started out as a dairy product, you have to wonder whether Marshmallow Fluff originally began life as mortar.


My mother put Marshmallow Fluff to a couple of other uses.

When we didn’t have marshmallows to float in a cup of cocoa, she plopped in a spoonful of Marshmallow Fluff. And since we seldom had “real” marshmallows in the winter, which was when we drank cocoa, a cup of cocoa generally meant a dob of Marshmallow Fluff.

And she used Marshmallow Fluff as a filling for some sort of fake Devil Dog/Whoopie Pie she made on occasion.

Anyway, spotting it in Galway aside, I don’t think of Marshmallow Fluff all that often, other than when I see the news about Boston ex-urb Somerville’s annual “What the Fluff?” Festival, which was held last Saturday. The Festival paid special tribute this year to Archibald Query, the immigrant (from Canada) confectioner who invented this delightful item. Query lived to be 90 (he died in 1964), perhaps on a diet rich in Fluffernutters.

I went to grammar school with a fellow named Roger Query. It was never mentioned, but perhaps Roger Q was related to Archibald. It’s an odd enough last name. And I certainly hope they were related. The only other famous kid I went to school with was Mary Shea, who wrote to the Arthur Godfrey Show to ask what makes hula dancer Haleloke’s belly wiggle, and got her letter read on the air. Of course, my friend Bernadette’s father once stopped and helped Rex Trailer (star of a local kiddie cowboy-themed show) change a flat tire. So there was that brush with fame.

It didn’t take much to impress us back in the day. If we knew that Roger Query’s grandfather or great-grandfather had invented Marshamallow Fluff, well…

Sorry I missed the “What the Fluff?” Festival. Maybe next year.

Meanwhile, all hail Archibald Query.


For more on my love affair with Marshmallow Fluff, see Fluff (2015).


1 comment:

trixie said...

Well, I have all the fixin's for Fluffernutters at my house, so you can have one this weekend! Actually I almost always have Fluff in my cabinet, as I sometimes get a hankering for it. Maybe it's a throwback to grammar school when that's pretty much what I had each and every day for lunch (Fluffernutter + jelly!) since I was such a picky eater. Plus, I think it's better than marshmallows for putting on cocoa - it's all melty and gooey - delish!