Sylvester Graham loathed sex. The puritanical minister of the century preached this carnal desire, caused headaches, epilepsy and even insanity. To stop his followers out of getting frisky, he devised a biscuit such as a cracker to cure, masturbation and quell urges. T’s name: the graham cracker, the bite that to become stuff from s’mores and kindergarten classrooms. How a cracker went out of an anti-sex propaganda meal at the spine of America’s favored campfire treat is among the meals world’s most bizarre stories. The narrative comes with a major corporation, angry mobs of protesters, a fad diet and ancient medicine, in all of its quackery.
The man behind the cracker was born in Suffield, Conn., in 1794. Graham’s parents died when he was young, so he switched to the Presbyterian Church. He became obsessed with health, in part because he was a sickly and delicate boy. He went on to examine the human body but dropped out because several people liked him. After working as a farm and also a tutor, he climbed the ranks of the church, preaching that sex, materialism, and gluttony made individuals ill. Masturbation was the worst. He said, because it inflames the mind over natural stimulation, and amounts to self-abuse.
Eating and drinking tasty foods, such as meat, spices, and coffee, sparked those sexual urges. He maintained. He was on a strong anti-masturbation crusade. He said, If you are eating beef, you’re behaving as an animal and you must steer clear of these kinds of primal instincts, such as the impulse to have sex,’ said Adam D. Shprintzen, who wrote about the cracker’s odd origin story in his book, The Vegetarian Crusade: The Rise of an American Reform Movement, 1817-1921. The minister urged that his devotees to help establish one of America vegetarian movements by swearing off meat. He believed healthful food made healthy people. He set out to produce a snack that represented his values: a wheat biscuit that was flavorless. He spoke about how a cracker can help suppress sexual desire, especially in adolescent boys. And he gained a few hardcore followers, stated Shprintzen, who’s also a professor of history at the University of Marywood in Scranton, Pennsylvania.