Unusual Ingredient of the Week - Fluff


Yes Fluff. Not bellybutton fluff or fluffy Easter Chicks, but just Fluff.

If you're American you will know exactly what I mean. If you're British, you will have been denied access to this most sickly sweet of all confections.

Fluff is white and, well, fluffy. When you peer, bleary-eyed and more than a little unravelled, out of an aeroplane window after 7 hours in the sky, you see fluff. If only you could open the window, you could step right out onto it, hopping from one fluffy cloud to another, pausing only to grab a sticky handful of....Fluff.

By now you are probably crazed with curiosity as to what Fluff actually is. Well, remember how when you were a kid, your mum would give you a teaspoon of Lyle's Golden Syrup if you had a sore throat or if you'd been whining for some chocolate? Golden Syrup is pure inverted sugar syrup. If you had a more health conscious mum, you might have had a teaspoon of honey instead. American kids have a far more exciting sickly sweet tooth-rot in a jar - Fluff. Or, in other words, Marshmallow Fluff. Yes, marshmallow fluff.
It is exactly what it says. Marshmallow in cream form. Apparently, a nationwide famous American sandwich is the Fluffernutter - peanut butter and Fluff. That's peanuts and marshmallow. In A Sandwich.

I have seen the retro styled jars (apparently they have not changed the artwork since Fluff's inception over 75 years ago), lined up on the shelves in American supermarkets and had to be physically restrained from purchasing it for fear of it becoming another disused pantry item (see below).

Ahh, well the Fluff can run but it can't hide. Yesterday I found it for sale in that oldest and most respected of supermarket institutions - Sainsburys. For £1.65. I furtively snatched a jar off the shelf and tucked it surreptitiously under the healthy vegetables and organic chicken that I had bought. I coveted Fluff and I got it.

Actually, all shame aside, as a very special treat, Fluff, just like Schmaltz or Kentucky Bourbon, has its place in every kitchen. It can be used as a sticky but traditional topping for Thanksgiving and Christmas Sweet Potatoes. Us Brits balk at the idea of serving something sweet like marshmallows with our meat and gravy but it actually is really very good. And you are getting some vitamins from the sweet potatoes.

You can also make Whoopie Pies which have a different connotation here but the name apparently alludes to children exclaiming 'whoppee!' when they see them being served. Whoopie Pies are soft chocolate cookies filled with a cream made with - wait for it - Fluff, sugar and butter. And some Vanilla Extract for extra nutrition. Well, no one ever said that chocolate filled cookies had to be packed with healthy goodness.

I have an intention for the Fluff that I briefly mentioned in an earlier post: Grasshopper Pie. Whilst researching this retro diner pie, I found various methods of preparing it, but the most prevalent is the one that combines Fluff with Peppermint Extract, topped with Dream Whip. Possibly the most chemically inhanced dish ever. Because all the elements of this dish scream of the atomic age, the use of consumer-convenient products, the space-age lime-green colour and the bad taste name (after a cocktail), I have to make it the way 1950s housewives all over America would have made it. This pie has the potential to be even easier than my previous world's easiest pie, the Banoffi.

I shall keep you posted.

1 comment:

Saffron said...

oh Freya! this fluff is one of the favourite ingredients of my mum! she loves marshmellows!
have a nice weekend!! Baci