The Massachusetts State Sandwich? Fluffernutter as Icon?
By Sally Steinberg
No serious eater, no gourmet, no culture vulture, no thinking person, no person of discriminating taste, no one interested in nutrition could……
But wait! The Fluffernutter might just be one of the secret food grails, its own Umami, all by itself, an elusive, indescribable, uncategorizable, euphoria-inducing sensation, with that je ne sais quoi …
Consider the Fluffernutter. It is Earth and Milky Way, united.
Can’t take it seriously? Close your eyes, inhale and ingest, stop your mind, eat. Think again.
What stroke of genius could have invented this ridiculous and yet sublime creation? This masterpiece of culinary matter? An inebriate of …food? Possibly only in the New England culinary nexus could something so eccentric and preposterous occur….
The Massachusetts legislature is taking it seriously, in a debate about whether to make it official, the Fluffernutter as State Sandwich. The bill was introduced by a real Representative, Kathi-Anne Reinstein, who called it a “really good childhood sandwich.” It has been vilified. Supporters and trashers are vehement. Nostalgia for childhood food plays a big role in its apotheosis, but sugar as villain is the armament of detractors. There’s a yearly festival in Somerville, of historic significance as the birthplace of Marshmallow Fluff.
It’s as good as the Simpsons stamp. Street food? Common? Lowdown? Pop culture yes, but subtly insistent in its attributes, with something ethereal about it. A food you forgot to remember.
And the name! Shakespeare couldn’t have named it better. Fluffer, Nutter, Tinker, Bottom.
The Fluffernutter, hotly disputed, but possibly soon-to-be triumphant State Sandwich! Capulet, Montague, for or against, you gotta love it. Or not.
Food Muse Notes on the Controversy:
Sally Levitt Steinberg is a writer, journalist and oral/personal historian. She has written several books, including “The Donut Book”, the world’s definitive book of everything-you-need-to-know about donuts. It was chosen twice as a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, it has been featured in all the media, including NPR, the Martha Stewart radio shows, and the film “Donut Crazy” for the Travel Channel, and its materials form The National Donut Collection at the Smithsonian Museum.
She has written a biography, “The Book of Joy,” as well as several personal histories and a book on interior design. Her essay, “Coffin Couture,” was cited as the best piece in the recent anthology of personal history, “My Words Are Gonna Linger.” She has written articles for many publications, including “The New York Times,” “The Boston Globe,” and “The New Yorker.” She lives in Boston.