A Brief History of the Cheez-It

The cheesy and delicious Cheez-It’s are turning 100 this year.

via Smithsonian

In 1841, Dr. William W. Wolf moved to Dayton to practice homeopathy, a branch of alternative medicine that believes in the healing power of food. Hailed Dayton’s “Cracker King,” Wolf concocted the Wolf Cracker, a curious hard-butter snack made for medicinal purposes.

“In the 19th century, crackers were linked to Christian physiology and sectarian medical practitioners,” says Lisa Haushofer, a senior research associate at the University of Zurich’s Institute for Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine. “Christian physiologists like Sylvester Graham, of Graham Cracker fame, were concerned about a modern diet that contained too many stimulating substances.” (In addition to being a cracker evangelist, Graham was also a pro-temperance Presbyterian minister who preached a vegetarian diet). Wolf echoed Graham’s concerns that food was far too rousing (though Graham also dubiously believed his crackers could cure licentiousness), so he launched the Wolf Cracker Bakery to churn out his wholesome snacks.

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