National Fig Newton Day — Big Joe wants it to be a national holiday
Last Saturday, January 16th 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 mom introduced Fig Newtons to me as a kid. After dinner she’d put two on a plate with a half a glass of milk. I remember after eating them for the first time I thought two ain’t gonna cut it. All my begging and nagging for more Fig Newtons fell on deaf ears. I even tried the famous line “may I have some more sir” from the movie Oliver trying to look cute, mom never gave in.
Fig Newtons were served every once in a while in our house so when they showed up, all two of them, I ate them like a little mouse cherishing a piece of French cheese. I tried to savor them and enjoy them but the stress of knowing that they would be gone in a New York minute ruined the tasty experience. It wasn’t until I was out on my own that I would on occasion have a sleeve of Fig Newtons for dinner. Oh the things that you can do on your own, all that goodness in an easy to open package.
Back in the late 1800s doctors were always pushing strange antidotes to cure stomach ailments. They would tell patients with stomach ailments to have biscuits and fig jam to calm their ailment.
As a result fig rolls with a fig jam rolled into 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 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 then called the creation Fig Newtons after the town of Newton in Massachusetts.
The Kennedy Bakery merged with the New York Biscuit Company and the company Nabisco was born. They also offered a variety of other fillings including strawberry, apple and cinnamon and more. As more varieties came out they dropped the name Fig to just Newtons in 2012.
In 2018 they made over 700 million bars of Newtons and it’s still so very popular. I’d like to credit myself with helping in their success. So in honor of Fig Newton Day pull up a plate of two Fig Newtons with a half a glass of milk. Enjoy.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.