Munching Party

A gentleman born in Massachusetts named Horace Fletcher at the end of the 1890s and into the 1900s, believed that people were not chewing their food thoroughly until liquefied before swallowing. If they did chew completely, their digestion and overall health would be better. As his beliefs were published across America and in England, an unusual social fad developed, known as a ‘munching party’.

Now that does not mean it was so popular that your ancestors of the early 1900s were all attending ‘munching parties’ or even practicing this proposed chewing one’s food to liquidation. However, it is an interesting aspect of many people during those years in America and Europe. The social fad was covered in newspapers across America.

So what were ‘munching parties’ but a social get together of friends, usually it was the ladies in a community, to share a meal in which everyone was watched that they did chew their food slowly, the required thirty-two times-before it is swallowed. These parties were considered a new health fad.

In the 1903-1908 time frame, this concept of chewing one’s food 32 times and bring a social group together was at its height that many ‘munching clubs’ in cities and towns were formed. The club was primarily ladies and they would gather around at a person’s home, and munch and talk scandal, and talk scandal and munch. It did prove for its short time a popular social activity and they hoped beneficial to one’s health.

The developer of the idea of chewing one’s food completely, Horace Fletcher, was all but forgotten as was the ‘munching party’ – just one of those fads that entertained our ancestors. Fletcher died in 1919.

Photos: Social gathering for a Munching Party; Notice in 1906 of the popular social fad in Pittsburgh; and Ladies gathered for a Munching Club.

Related Blogs:

Favorite Foods 1850-1900

Foods Eaten by our Ancestors

Strange Foods of the 1800s

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