John Blanding/Globe Staff
Rachel Martin had never tried the nearly century-old confection made from egg whites, vanilla, corn syrup, and sugar syrup, and as far as she knows, her son Xander, a second-grader at the Baldwin School in Cambridge, had not either.
But today, the 43-year-old Cambridge resident took Xander to Union Square to find out what the Fluff was about.
"It doesn’t seem very natural,” she said of the product that is to New England what Marmite is to her native England – something little known outside its borders but celebrated within.
“I am working up the courage,” she said of trying it for the first time at the ‘What the Fluff?’ festival held today to honor the white stuff created in 1917 by Archibald Query in Somerville. Its manufacturing has remained local, with its manufacturer, Durkee-Mower, based in Lynn.
Next to Martin, 10-year-old Ray Veatch, of Arlington stood in line with his father, Phillip, holding tight to his graham-cracker-and-Fluff creation called “Snow Falls on Fluffy Kittys.” Last year, he did the New York skyline and won a prize for "most creative" as part of a contest held each year to develop recipes that incorporate Marshmallow Fluff. This year’s structure took him nearly two days to complete.
Kate Doyle, 22, of Brookline spent about six hours cooking up her recipe: a ‘fluffle truffle,’ a chocolate cake crumbled with Fluffernutter - a combination of peanut butter and Fluff found in a popular sandwich - frosting and a chocolate glaze.
“It’s so cheap and tastes delicious,” she said of the gooey spread.
For four years now, Fluff fans have been gathering on Union Square to celebrate the gooey spread that became a lightning rod for discussions on food offered in public school after a restriction was proposed in the state Legislature about three years ago.
State lawmakers are now considering whether to make the Fluffernutter sandwich the state’s official sandwich and held hearings last week.
Mimi Graney of Union Square Main Streets, who helped organize the event, was one of those who testified in its favor. While the Fluff festival was in the works before the debate came up, she said, the furor over it in recent years has led the crowds to swell each year.
“I think that just put it over the edge,” she said of the recent hearings.
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