National Fig Newton day
January 16th, 2013
09:00 AM ET
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While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.

Cheers to the cookie that thinks it's a fruit! January 16 is National Fig Newton Day.

When you open a package of Fig Newtons (or Newtons as they're now called), you might take it for fact that the little fruit rolls are a modern American invention. You’d be wrong.

The fig roll is actually an Egyptian pastry. Figs were highly prized in the days of explorers and were often regarded with great reverence. The Egyptians realized that by baking the figs in a simple flour pastry they’d stay preserved for longer.

The distinctly shaped cookie made its way to the U.S. as a medicinal cure. Back in the 19th century, it was assumed that adjusting one’s diet could cure most illnesses. A doctor’s recommendation typically included some fruit and, strangely enough, cookies. The fig roll killed two birds with one stone. At that time, the cookies were made by hand and the process was quite tedious.

Thank goodness a man by the name of Henry James Mitchell invented an extruding machine that could mechanically make the chewy cookies. Cookie maker Charles Roser sold his fig roll recipe to Kennedy Biscuit Works (which later became Nabisco) and they used Mitchell’s machine for mass production in 1891.

So, why are they called Newtons? Kennedy Biscuit Works had a habit of naming their products after neighboring towns. Newton is a small town just outside of Boston, and close to where Kennedy Biscuits used to operate.

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Filed under: Breakfast Buffet • Food Holidays • News

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. AleeD®

    Whoa! At first glance ... they looked like, uh, kiwis. ~_~

    January 16, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Ms. Grammar that what we're calling them, nowadays??? :)

      January 17, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  2. Truth™

    Well for cryin out loud, you just CANNOT celebrate fig newton day without this little classic, just designed to get stuck in your head...


    January 16, 2013 at 10:14 am |
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