Saturday, July 08, 2006


A proposed ban on a popular kids' food backfires

Jonathan Durkee has two words for state Senator Jarrett Barrios : Thank you. Durkee is treasurer of the Lynn company that produces Marshmallow Fluff, which Barrios targeted last month when he tried to ban the Fluffernutter sandwich from school lunches .

But Barrios did not realize how much of a New England icon sweet marshmallow spread slathered over white bread and twinned with peanut butter was. The bill to ban it drew legions of protective Fluffernutter patriots to arms. In a profile-in-courage counterattack, a state representative even proposed making the Fluffernutter the official sandwich of Massachusetts. The Fluffernutter Wars were on.

``Nightline" chimed in, along with Regis and Kelly and The Los Angeles Times. Red-state Americans who never heard of Fluff began to wonder what it was, and displaced New Englanders around the country started licking their lips with a Pavlovian reflex forged in childhood. Fluffernutter: Home. Eat. Happy. Good. Then the inevitable. Internet orders sent to the mother ship in Lynn skyrocketed 800 percent from 10 to 80 cases a day -- and not just from expatriate Bostonians. Curious Fluffernutter first-timers like James Harmon of Nashville dialed in. ``I read a couple articles and saw a story on CNN," he wrote in an e-mail. ``So I had to try [it]."

Durkee said it was too early to tell if the bump would carry through to the holiday season, when sales typically peak. In Lynn, fingers remained crossed. A thank-you letter to Barrios? Not yet in the mail


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