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My husband Mike spent most of his childhood in Maine, which means that he says "soda" instead of "pop" and didn't eat a deep-fried cheese curd until adulthood. His New England roots also gave him a nostalgic love of Fluffernutters, which I discovered while I was paging through The Lexicon of Real American Food by Jane and Michael Stern. "Hey Mike," I asked when I saw that the Fluffernutter, a sandwich of peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff on white bread, is a New England favorite, "Have you ever had a Fluffernutter?"
Mike's eyes lit up. Apparently, Fluffernutters were the "alternative lunch" served at his elementary school, for the students who didn't like the entree of the day. Intrigued, I wanted to try one, but unfortunately you can't find Marshmallow Fluff in Midwestern grocery stores (we have a similar product by Kraft called "Jet Puffed Marshmallow Creme"). However, on a trip to Cost Plus World Market we found a jar of authentic Marshmallow Fluff in the food section.
"So we've got the Marshmallow Fluff, and we have some peanut butter," said Mike on the drive home. "Now we just need to get some really crappy white bread. Let's stop at the gas station!"
Now, I am all for culinary authenticity, but within reason. I wanted a Fluffernutter, but on my terms: on decent bread. I made a loaf of Buttermilk White Bread, since it has a nice soft texture, and I thought the tang of the buttermilk would balance out the sweetness of the Marshmallow Fluff.
Marshmallow Fluff was not at all what I was expecting. I expected it to be sickeningly sweet and fluffy, like a jar of whipped frosting. Instead, has a gooey texture, and although sweet, it doesn't make your teeth hurt. I spread peanut butter on one slice of bread, Marshmallow Fluff on another, and then assembled my sandwich.
The verdict? The salty-sweet combination of peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff on fresh homemade bread was surprisingly good, and I felt slightly cheated that the first 25 years of my life were Fluffernutter-free. Mike and I are even now: I introduced him to the deep-fried goodness of cheese curds, and he opened up my taste buds to the Fluffernutter.