Graham crackers are crisp, light brown crackers made from coarsely ground wheat flour. They are usually flavored with honey, cinnamon or chocolate and are best eaten with a cold glass of milk. For American children, graham crackers are a part of life; they are both healthy and delicious and are convenient for snacking.
If you've never seen a box of grahams, they usually come with 3 packages of 9 cracker sheets, each perforated for splitting into 4 small crackers. They are low in saturated fat, have no cholesterol and are a great source of calcium.1
The origin of the graham cracker is rather interesting. At the beginning of the cereal revolution, people turned to sanitariums for medical guidance. These sanitariums focused on diet as a means to cure physical and mental illness as well as social vices (such as drinking or masturbation).
Sylvester Graham, who had the good fortune to be both a minister and a farmer, couldn't let this trend pass him by. He began to look for ways to save people from the evils of sexual release, preaching about the virtues of a vegetarian diet and frequent baths. He told anyone who would listen "that all bread should be cooked at home and baked with whole wheat flour." 2 That might not have made him very popular with commercial bakers, but it certainly made him profitable when he introduced a coarse, whole wheat flour known as graham.
Graham breads and crackers caught on and, while we no longer eat them to curb sexual appetite, they have become an integral part of the American diet. Most commonly eaten as a light snack, you can also find graham crackers in many dessert recipes and around a campfire near you.