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Friday, December 30, 2011

My Mom's Fudge and the History of Fluff

Growing up in New Hampshire, I have fond memories of my mother's special holiday treats, including her famous fudge.

My grandfather on my Dad's side raved about it and was over the moon each time my mother brought it to him. After my parents divorced, she would even send me to my Dad's with a plate to give to him because she knew how much he loved it.

Years later, when I was living on my own, I decided to try to make a batch, as my mom had given me the recipe, titled, "Nancy's Never-Fail Fudge."

One of the main ingredients is Fluff, and when I bought it, I noticed on the jar, there it was, the recipe for "Never-Fail Fudge." I found it very amusing, as all this time I had thought this was a special recipe my Mom had made up. And of course, I had to tease her about it.

Sadly, my mother passed away last year, so during the holidays, making her special treats brings back sweet memories. And I am comforted to know that I can always find the special recipe, because it's right there on the jar. It is quite easy to make and really the creamiest, richest, most delicious fudge. 

Nancy's Never-Fail Fudge

2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 5-ounce can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) Marshmallow Fluff
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces 

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. Set aside. In large saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a full-rolling boil being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Turn into greased pan, and cool. Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

While I was never a kid to eat fluffernutters, the peanut butter and fluff sandwiches, I decided to do some digging into the history of fluff to see if I could find out where this recipe originated. So, along with the recipe, I thought I'd share some fun facts about this old favorite, which I pulled from its company website. Among the tidbits I found interesting were that some local housewives in New England were part of the reason for its early success. 

Fun Facts About Fluff
On May 14, 1920, a small article appeared in the Lynn, Mass., Daily Evening Item, announcing that two young men, H. Allen Durkee and Fred L. Mower, both veterans of the U.S. Infantry in World War I, had formed a partnership to manufacture Marshmallow Fluff. The company numbered two men in those days, and they started out cooking their confections in the kitchen at night and selling them door-to-door in the daytime.

An early receipt still in the company's scrapbooks records the sale in April 1920 of three 1-gallon cans to a vacation lodge in New Hampshire, where I grew up! The price at the time was $1 a gallon! The door to door trade gained a reputation among local housewives that eventually placed Fluff onto local grocers shelves. Retail trade spread from there to the point where in 1927, it was advertising prominently in Boston newspapers.

They started by redesigning the product's package. A survey covering a wide sample of New England housewives told them that the experts, their customers, thought the best jar for Fluff would be short enough to fit easily into the refrigerator to be used for leftovers (Fluff requires no refrigeration), and have a wide enough opening to fit a tablespoon. In addition, the jar was made with a stippled surface above and below the label to make it stronger and more easily gripped. The jar's longevity in a rapidly changing market is a tribute to its success: The same basic jar is still in use today.

Every conceivable measure is taken to protect the purity of Marshmallow Fluff. Because of the sanitary environment and practices, it is not necessary to refrigerate Marshmallow Fluff, even though it still contains no preservatives.

In 1956, when my Mom was just a toddler, the company collaborated with Nestle in a nationwide ad campaign that won the Promotion of the Year Award. They printed a recipe for fudge in Ladies Home Journal and other magazines. The fudge was quick and easy to make, and included Fluff and Nestle Chocolate Bits. The same recipe can still be found on the backs of Fluff labels and in the recipe book, titled, "The Yummy Book."

Durkee-Mower continues to market new uses for Marshmallow Fluff. In 1966, it co-promoted a new "Marshmallow Treat" recipe with Kellogg Co., utilizing its Rice Krispies cereal and Marshmallow Fluff. It presents an opportunity to share quality time by making it with your children and continues to be a favorite.

Business continues to expand with the recent growth of our young school-age population wishing to enjoy Fluff the same way their parents and grandparents did before them. Additionally, Fluff is now sold in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, South Africa, Belgium, and the United Arab Emirates.

Post submitted by Trish from The Mommies Network's Content Team

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