National Fig Day Newton – Big Joe wants it to be a holiday

Last Saturday, January 16, was National Fig Newton Day. It’s a national holiday. I love Fig Newtons, but just to be politically correct, Nabisco, the company that makes these beautiful masterpieces, dropped the word Fig from Fig Newtons in 2012, more on that later.

I remember my mother introducing me to Fig Newtons when I was a kid. After dinner, she would put two on a plate with half a glass of milk. I remember after eating them for the first time, I thought two wouldn’t be enough. All of my pleas and pleas for more Fig Newtons have fallen on deaf ears. I even tried the famous line “Can I have more sir” from the movie Oliver trying to look cute, mom never gave in.

Fig Newtons were served from time to time in our house so when they both arrived, I ate them like a little mouse caressing a piece of French cheese. I tried to savor and enjoy them, but the stress of knowing they would be gone in a minute in New York ruined the tasty experience. It wasn’t until I was out alone that I had the occasional round of Fig Newtons for dinner. Oh the things you can do yourself, all good in an easy-to-open package.

In the late 1800s, doctors were still coming up with strange antidotes to cure stomach ailments. They would tell patients with stomach ailments to have biscuits and fig jam to ease their ailment.

As a result, fig rolls with fig jam rolled in pastry dough were sold at a Philadelphia bakery. In 1891, Charles Roser invented a machine that inserted fig jam into a freshly baked pastry and cut it appropriately to become Fig Newtons. Roser sold the patent and the first Fig Newtons were baked at the Kennedy Steam Bakery in Cambridge, MA who later named the creation Fig Newtons after the town of Newton in Massachusetts.

The Kennedy Bakery merged with the New York Biscuit Company and the Nabisco Company was born. They also offered a variety of other toppings including strawberries, apples and cinnamon etc. As new varieties came out, they dropped the Fig name to Newtons in 2012.

In 2018 they made over 700 million Newton bars and it’s still going strong. I would like to congratulate myself for having contributed to their success. So, in honor of Fig Newton Day, prepare a plate of two Fig Newtons with half a glass of milk. Enjoy.

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.

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