The Question:

How did the graham cracker get its name?

The Answer:

Graham crackers and graham flour are both named after a failed minister turned professional reformer named Sylvester Graham (1795-1851).

Born in Connecticut, Graham toured the Northeast during the early 1800s and gave controversial lectures about his views on peoples' eating and drinking habits and their sexual behavior.

Graham had revolutionary ideas for early 19th-century America. He advocated that folks stick to a vegetarian diet, make their own bread with whole-grain wheat (graham flour), and use marriage to rid the body of sexual desires, which he believed caused disease.

His lectures became so heated that no hall in Boston would book him, and he was once attacked by a mob of butchers and bakers.

His home on Pleasant Street in Northampton, Mass. is now occupied by Sylvester's Restaurant specializing in home-baked breads and other baked goods. No doubt Graham would be pleased.

—The Fact Monster