Sandwich from New England, an unusual treat, has fascinating story, 5 fun facts

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Sandwich from New England, an unusual treat, has fascinating story, 5 fun facts

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Across New England, children and adults have enjoyed Fluffernutter sandwiches for more than a century. 

The humble sandwich is about as basic as it gets. Two slices of white bread, with peanut butter on one side and marshmallow “fluff” on the other are — well, sandwiched together and then cut in two for easier eating. 

Despite its simplicity, though, and high sugar content, the sandwich has remained a comfort food staple and a lunchtime treat even after all these years. 

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While the concept of a “marshmallow crème and peanut butter sandwich” may conjure up images of “nightmare retro foods” from the 1960s, the Fluffernutter’s origins actually date back to World War I, according to the New England Historical Society’s website. 

At that time, a woman named Emma Curtis – Paul Revere’s great-great-great-granddaughter – and her brother, Amory, developed a product they called “Snowflake Marshmallow Crème.” 

While the Fluffernutter sandwich was invented during World War I in Melrose, Massachusetts, the current name “Fluffernutter” would not come around for nearly a half century. (David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

They initially made the product in their kitchen in Melrose, Massachusetts, said the New England Historical Society, before demand increased so much that they moved to a factory. 

The product sold very well, and Emma Curtis began writing recipes that used marshmallow crème and printed them in brochures. During World War I, she printed a recipe for the “Liberty Sandwich” — a peanut butter and marshmallow crème sandwich served on oat bread, said the same historical society. 

While other companies had similar marshmallow crème products, the Liberty Sandwich is believed to be the first published recipe for what would eventually become known as the Fluffernutter, said the New England Historical Society. 

Around the time the Curtis siblings were making marshmallow crème, two other people in Massachusetts were also making a spreadable marshmallow product. 

Although the Fluffernutter has stood the test of time, the Curtis siblings’ company did not. An arsonist destroyed the Curtis Marshmallow Factory in 1962, said the New England Historical Society; the company folded shortly thereafter. 

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Around the same time the Curtis siblings were making marshmallow crème, two other people in Massachusetts were also making a spreadable marshmallow product. 

On May 14, 1920, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower, both of Swampscott, Massachusetts, announced they’d created a partnership for their production of Marshmallow Fluff, according to the website for the product. 

A Fluffernutter sandwich is shown on a plate as a jar of Marshmallow Fluff is visible in the background.

Durkee-Mower Inc. has been making Marshmallow Fluff for more than a century in Massachusetts, which is the birthplace of the Fluffernutter.  (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Durkee and Mower had purchased a recipe for Marshmallow Fluff from a man named Archibald Query — and they began to sell it door-to-door, the website said. 

Marshmallow Fluff was a huge success, and Durkee-Mower Inc. managed to survive the sugar rationing of World War II and keep its business afloat, according to the website. 

In 2024, 104 years after Durkee and Mower announced they were joining forces to make Marshmallow Fluff, it is still being made in Lynn, Massachusetts. 

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Jon Durkee, H. Allen Durkee’s grandson and current president of Durkee-Mower Inc., told Fox News Digital in a phone interview last week that he had eaten a Fluffernutter sandwich that very day for lunch. 

A Fluffernutter sandwich and a jar of Marshmallow Fluff are displayed.

The president of Durkee-Mower Inc., Jon Durkee — which makes Marshmallow Fluff — said he still enjoys a good Fluffernutter sandwich. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

“It’s just the combination of the sweetness of marshmallow fluff and the saltiness of peanut butter. And, you know, there’s just two basic flavors that go really well together,” he said. 

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Durkee does, however, eschew the traditional white bread in favor of whole wheat. 

“I try to make it a little bit more nutritious,” he said. 

“But, honestly, with the calorie count, the Fluffernutter is actually not that bad. So, it’s actually a reasonable, decent sandwich,” Durkee said. 

Now, check out these fun facts about the Fluffernutter. 

5 fun Fluffernutter facts

1. The name “Fluffernutter” was developed in the 1960s by an ad agency nearly 50 years after the creation of the sandwich, said the New England Historical Society. The word is trademarked by Durkee-Mower Inc. 

2. “National Fluffernutter Day” is observed each year on Oct. 8.

3. The “What the Fluff? Festival” takes place each year in Somerville, Massachusetts. 

The event is a “madcap festival honoring the invention of Marshmallow Fluff and features an Archibald Query impersonator, “Fluff Jousting” and a marshmallow toss contest, according to its website. 

woman feeding another a fluffernutter

The annual “What the Fluff? Festival” takes place each year in Sommerville, Massachusetts. Among its activities, seen here, is a competition to make a Fluffernutter sandwich while blindfolded. (Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

4. Multiple astronauts have eaten Fluffernutters aboard the International Space Station. 

In 2011, Massachusetts native Richard Linnehan chowed down on the treat while in space, and in 2012, Cmdr. Sunita “Sunny” Williams showed off a jar of Marshmallow Fluff during a video tour of the International Space Station. 

“I like Fluffernutters, and so I got sent up – some fluff – so I could make my Fluffernutter with peanut butter,” said the native of Needham, Massachusetts in the video, letting the jar of Marshmallow Fluff float in zero gravity while she spoke. 

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5. Merriam-Webster added “Fluffernutter” to its dictionary in 2021. 

It is defined as “a sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow crème between two slices of white sandwich bread.”

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