Why The Origin Of The Fluffernutter Sandwich Will Surprise You

Fluffernutter evokes thoughts of a quirky Dr. Seuss character or a funny-sounding word you might use to describe something nonsensical that's "pure fluffernutter." Despite its silly name, the Fluffernutter is not the product of a writer's imagination, but rather a sandwich filled with peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff (sliced bananas can also be added if one feels so inclined) layered between two slices of white bread.

It has also been used to reference other foods, most commonly desserts, that contain peanut butter and marshmallow creme (via Whats Cooking America). If you're curious about what Marshmallow Fluff is made of, the sugary confection contains corn syrup, sugar, dried egg white, and vanilla flavoring.

This regional sweet treat is traditionally eaten in New England, where it makes appearances in kids' school lunches or conjures nostalgic memories of childhood (per New England Today Food). Although the average American living outside of New England may be unaware of Fluffernutter Sandwiches today, variants of its signature ingredient Marshmallow Fluff were very much in vogue in the early 20th Century.

What's all the fluff about?

In the early 1900s, white sauces and frostings made from marshmallow were trending and people either concocted their own scratch-made versions of marshmallow creme or blended store-bought, melted down marshmallows with sugar syrup, (via What's Cooking America). Around 1913, Melrose, Massachusetts, company The Curtis Marshmallow Factory had developed a fluff-forward product named Snowflake Marshmallow Creme that the public loved.

It was field tested and used in an assortment of recipes, including as a topping for sandwiches accompanied by nuts and olives. During World War I, co-owner Emma Curtis (a descendant of Paul Revere according to the New England Historical Society) published a recipe called the "Liberty Sandwich," recommending peanut butter as a sandwich accompaniment to the marshmallow creme, the earliest-known combination of what would eventually become referred to as the Fluffernutter Sandwich. 

In 1917, Archibald Query of Somerville, Massachusetts, invented a formula for marshmallow creme and tried selling it door-to-door. His enterprise ultimately failed due to the war-induced sugar shortage, and he sold it for $500 to Allen Durkee and Fred Mower. Their Durkee-Mower Inc. company would popularize it, eventually dubbing the product Marshmallow Fluff (per New England Today Food).

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Durkee and Mower advertised Marshmallow Fluff heavily, including on a radio program called the "Flufferettes," which touted a recipe for the Fluffernutter Sandwich. It wasn't actually called the Fluffernutter until a Durkee-Mower 1960 marketing campaign, when, much like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth, the name stuck.