Once You Find out Why the Graham Cracker Was Invented, You’ll Never Want One Again

Hint: It wasn’t for s’mores.

01-Once-You-Find-Out-Why-the-Graham-Cracker-Was-Invented,-You'll-Never-Want-One-Again_189142112-Brent-HofackerBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Graham crackers were invented for s’mores, right? Wrong. Their original purpose wasn’t to hold together a gooey toasted marshmallow and warm chocolate; it was actually to keep people from masturbating. Ummm, what?

It dates back to the 1800s. In those times, sex was very taboo, to say the least. So taboo that people were told if they gave into any sexual desires they were evil and would suffer from headaches, epilepsy, and in extreme cases, insanity. (This is what actually happens to your body when you stop having sex.)

Luckily, a Victorian guide to purity, gave some helpful suggestions to resist certain urges. Some of them were finding a hobby, engaging in outdoor play, and eating bland foods such as oatmeal, brown bread, and boiled wheat.

Enter Reverend Sylvester Graham. He fully supported the movement that sex should be forbidden and decided to invent the graham cracker to help out his fellow citizens. But something to note is that the original graham cracker was extremely bland. It didn’t have the brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey that they do today; they were just a brown hard square of flour.

Still, he gained a following. They called themselves “Grahamites” and they said that eating a bland diet had cured them of the evil that was having sexual urges. But then, as one would expect, he was mobbed because of his far too extreme views on sex and because he was hurting a lot of bakers business.

So ditch the graham crackers and try out these other aphrodisiac foods instead. The s’mores can wait.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.