History of Fig Newtons
Fig Newtons have had a pretty interesting past, and they have delivered the United States into the world of figs.
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The fig craze of the rest of the world has never caught on in the United States. In fact, there are parts of South America and India where figs use to be hailed as Gods. Now, they are not so deified, but their place in popular culture is still held in high regard and they are considered a delicacy to be served to guests.
The fig, is one of the many spices that were talked of and sought after in the great trade routes of the1400-1600’s. Christopher Columbus himself devoted a complete page to what a wonderful time it would be when he would be able to gorge himself on figs in the orient. Marco Polo described women in association with the beauty of Figs. However, the united states still is a figless country.(Michael Fitz, Cookie Originations p34, 1994)
James Mitchel, a Fig connoisseur and one who understood the nutritious value of figs, invented a brand new machine in the early 1950’s. It was a machine that could make a tight sandwich out of a rather hard dough. He had worked on this machine for quite some time and had finally perfected it.
a little while, he teamed up with the Kennedy Biscuit company to begin making cookies with this great new machine. When they needed a filling, James immediately suggested Figs. Not only because of their taste and value, but also because of the ease of making them into a jam paste like substance that would be perfect for the “cookie” machine.
The Kennedy Biscuit company thought that was a great idea, their marketing department decided to name the little cookies after the nearby town of Newton. (http://inventors.about.com/od/fstartinventions/a/Fig_Newton.htm) Thus the Fig Newton was born.They were unsure as too how the cookie would fare against the big cookie companies, but because it was such a different type of cookie. As is today, Fig Newtons had a very unique style and taste that did not challenge the large cookies but worked with them and were bought at the same time.
The company is now the largest importer of figs in the United States. In fact, the company imports more figs then some small countries. With the popularity of the Fig Newton, the United States is the leading consumer of Figs world wide.