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Taken from the "Nerf" brand name, which makes sports equipment toys out of a soft foam (e.g., the Nerf football is soft foam rather than the hard leather of a real football).Used frequently in the context of computer game balance changes.The change in the demand for biscuit and cracker output was clearly a shift from staple to 'luxury' products.Unlike the demand for bread, there was little opportunity for cracker bakers to benefit form a home to factory movement.These cooks lightened and enriched the paste mixtures with eggs, butter and cream and sweetened them with fruit, honey and finally--when the food became widely available in the late Middle Ages--with sugar...Luxurious cakes and pastries in large and small versions were well known in the Persian empire of the Seventh Century A. With the Muslim invasion of Spain, then the Crusades and the developing spice trade, the cooking techniques and ingredients of Arabia spread into Northern Europe.The development of cookies and crackers from these primitive beginnings is a history of refinements inspired by two different impulses--one plan and practical, the other luxurious and pleasure-loving.
While sailors and other travelers chewed their way through unyielding biscuits, cooks of the ancient civilizations of the Middle East explored the culinary possibilities of sweetness and richness.
Sweet biscuits had previously been imported from England.
When such sweets achieved a measure of popularity in this country, Belcher and Larrabee, cracker bakers in Albany, New York, imported machinery and methods for baking them shortly after the Civil War.
67) ABOUT COMMERCIAL SUGAR WAFERS IN NORTH AMERICA First came UK imports:  "Peek Frean & Co.
Sugar Wafers." ---display ad, Fitchburg Sentinel [MA] January 11, 1878 (p.