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Fluffernutter sandwich is good, but is it the state sandwich?

Posted by Your Town  September 23, 2009 09:05 PM

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The Fluffernutter, once defamed by a state legislator, may soon become the official sandwich of Massachusetts.

"Well, it's very flattering," said Don Durkee, co-owner of the Marshmallow Fluff company, based in Lynn. "I can't think of any other sandwich that has the equivalent association with Massachusetts."

Marshmallow Fluff was invented in Somerville and has been produced in Lynn for 80 years. The sandwich is one of three foods that a legislative committee will consider for official state status Thursday. The others are Necco Wafers, for official state candy; and Charleston Chew, for candy bar.

Marshmallow Fluff was invented in Somerville and has been produced in Lynn for 80 years. The sandwich is one of three foods that a legislative committee will consider for official state status Thursday. The others are Necco Wafers, for official state candy; and Charleston Chew, for candy bar.

"A lot of these bills are filed by school groups," said Lainey Titus, chief of staff for state Representative Steven Walsh of Lynn, who is co-chairman of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, which is holding the hearing Thursday. "In general, a couple of these sometimes go through every year."

The committee will also hear requests to designate the elephant as the official state mammal, "Fever Pitch" as the official state movie, and 6 as the official state number.

Representative William Brownsberger of Cambridge, who sponsored the "Fever Pitch" bill at the request of some Cambridge eighth-graders, said most of these efforts do not pass.

Each bill needs to pass in the House and Senate to become official. "Moby-Dick" almost became the state's official novel last session, but died in the Senate.

"The Legislature is sometimes respectful but it doesn't want to get too distracted," said Brownsberger, who has never seen the Red Sox-themed movie he's backing.

Massachusetts already has five official state foods, among the most in the country: the baked navy bean, corn muffin, chocolate chip cookie, Boston cream pie, and Boston cream doughnut.

Children pushing the legislation often appear to testify, lawmakers said.

"Lots of students came and testified over the years," said Representative Antonio Cabral of New Bedford, the former cochairman of the oversight committee. "It can be a great educational tool."

Representative Mark Falzone of Saugus, who sponsored the Charleston Chew bill, said a group of Wakefield Girl Scouts appeared at a mock hearing in April to support the nougat treat.

"They testified not only on the tastiness of the candy bar, but they also danced the Charleston," he said.

One student will speak at the hearing in support of the elephant. The origin of the choice was unclear, and the species is not known to flourish in the wilds of the Commonwealth.

"[The students] felt there should be a state mammal I guess," said Representative James Miceli of Wilmington, who sponsored the bill. "I know very little - we signed on and it's their bill."

Another student sent a personal letter to state Senator Stephen Brewer of Barre, advocating for the number 6.

"The number six is involved in much of our state's history, and is part of many interesting state facts," wrote Tyler Gibbs, 14, of Rutland, whose love of history and not school credit drove him to write. "After I started my research I learned that we have a state polka song, so why not a state number?"

Massachusetts was the sixth state in the union and is the sixth smallest state in region, Gibbs wrote.

The three foods up for official state status also have Bay State ties.

Necco Wafers were formerly made in Cambridge and now are created in Revere. And Nat Sloane, the man who made Charleston Chews famous, was born in Belmont. The candy bars were also later produced in Everett.

In 2006, former state senator Jarrett Barrios attracted national attention when he sought to limit the serving of Fluffernutters in school lunch programs statewide.

This year, Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein of Revere filed legislation to honor the Fluffernutter, the second attempt by a lawmaker.

"I associate the Fluffernutter with a really good childhood sandwich," she said.

If the peanut butter and fluff concoction gets a positive reaction from the committee Thursday, it may mark one of the sandwich's best weeks ever. The fourth annual Fluff Festival is scheduled for Saturday in Somerville.

Readers, tell us whether you think the Fluffernutter should be the official sandwich.

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3 comments so far...
  1. Its harmless and teaches children how to be involved in politics. Even if it doesn't become "official" I like their thinking...

    Posted by Jen September 23, 09 09:33 PM
  1. I think it's fantastic! A few years ago a kindergarten class lobbied for the state insect as the lady bug and I think this will stay with them forever and give them a better understanding of our government than any book or class lecture can! Plus fluffanutters ROCK!!! What better childhood stable!

    Posted by Mickey September 23, 09 09:55 PM
  1. I think this is a great idea, that's all my little son years ago would ask for for lunch,he's grown now and still eats them. I think it's fitting for Massachusettes.

    Posted by Sophia September 25, 09 03:30 PM