He's beloved by vegetarians and plenty of s'mores-loving camp-goers. But back in the early 1800s, Sylvester Graham was a bit unconventional and believed that meatless health foods such as his fiber-filled creation known as "graham bread" (now commonly known as the graham cracker) had a loftier purpose than just being a snack. In his mind, they served to combat urges for meat, alcohol and other indulgences.
Today would've been Graham's 213th birthday, and while views on dietary reform and drinking have changed with the times, he's still honored with National Graham Cracker Day.
To celebrate the occasion, PollyStyle's Polly Brown has prepared a treat for Best Bites Blog readers. Visit Modern Times (the Politics and Prose coffeehouse) between today and Sunday, July 8th, and when you mention this blog post, collect two free grahams, baked and wrapped by Brown, with any coffee drink order.Since Graham's 1829 recipe would be awfully "dense and cardboardy" by today's standards, Brown mixes whole wheat flour with unbleached white and cake flours, but still tries to preserve that original "special nuttiness" flavor. (Many commercial brands stick to just bleached white flour). Brown, who started her career as the founding pastry chef for Teaism, has been making artisanal shortbreads and grahams since 2004.
Brown's goodies, including her shortbread and cookies can be found on a regular basis at Modern Times (5015 Connecticut Avenue, NW), Dean and Deluca, Teaism, Cheesetique, and elsewhere. You can reach Polly Brown at email@example.com.