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Fluff is nearly pure metaphor. With small amounts of sugar and egg whites.

Take a marshmallow. Take out the air. Beat it to add air back in. Then you have fluff.

Take two slices of bread. Use bread that is mostly air. Put the fluff between the slices. Now you have a sandwich.

Sugary nothing between airy nothing. Gooey sweetness in the middle. It's a metaphor you can use.  

For something delicious
You know well enough
You will get your wishes
With Marshmallow Fluff

And each and every serving
Of this tempting fluff
Will bring praise deserving
Of Marshmallow Fluff

Radio Jingle

In the Best Food Writing of 2009, Fluff comes just before Spam. Spam is about email, not food, of course. And Fluff is not about food, but politics.

The politics in the essay was a debate, and the debate was about the nothingness. One side thought that servings of Fluff should be limited in the local schools.

Barrios says Marshmallow Fluff is about half sugar, and he's not even sure it should be considered a food. So Barrios plans to file an amendment to a bill that would already curb junk food from school vending machines. This would limit public schools to serving Fluff just one day a week.

Lawmaker Takes Aim At Marshmallow Fluff, Associated Press, June 19, 2006

The other side thought that Fluff is a local identity, and that if you think Fluff is not a food, you are not from around here.
“I associate the Fluffernutter with a really good childhood sandwich," said Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein of Revere, who filed a bill in the Legislature that would elevate the status of the sandwich.

Marshmallow Fluff was invented in Somerville and has been produced in Lynn for 80 years.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Angers Mass. Senator, Associated Press, June 20, 2006

A political sandwich, with Fluff in the middle.

All sides stood for symbolism. No side stood for literalism. That Fluff is sugar and egg whites. That of course Fluff is a food. Beating it to add air merely makes a meringue.

French meringue uses granulated sugar. Italian meringue uses sugar syrup. Making Italian meringue is more involved than making French meringue, but it holds longer. If you beat egg whites, French style, then beat them more with sugar, the egg whites might weep.

American Fluff is like the better-holding Italian meringue. That's why Fluff can come in a can.

Fluff is now national, not local. Fluff no longer stands for just Somerville, Mass. The Fluff can is made in America. Fluff now stands for us all. But questions about what it means to be from around here were a pretty strong subtext in the political debate.

The guy who made Fluff was a cigar smoking, beer drinking man. Who also liked peanut butter and Fluff sandwiches. I prefer sugar and butter sandwiches, myself. The sugar provides sweetness, but also provides some grit. The Best Food writer sprinkles in the cigar chomping bit for this reason. Or maybe it's a bit of tart relish with the peanut butter. The food writer knew that even fluff needs some added tartness or grit. And that for cutting the sweetness of an essay, throwing in a stoogie will certainly do. A cigar is just a technique that a writer can use.

No side in the political debate was for taking the emptiness of Fluff out of the local schools entirely. Only that there ought to be limits.

Once a week might be OK, one side said. But too much gooey emptiness is too much.

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