This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
"A Boston paper says that the technical name for those long sticks of bread, such as are served at the Parker House, which one finds it so entertaining to nibble upon between courses, is Grissini, the patronymic of the Turin baker who invented them." A London paper says: "Italian Grissini has deservedly come into high favor for soups, etc., and the crisp finger-like article produced by Messrs. Grinnell has already created a large demand, so much so that it is now said to be 'the rage.' " - "You may in many cases learn from your hotel bills the chief products of places in the way of food; for, of course, I had sausages at Bologna, 'grissini' at Turin, grapes at Tyrol, and so on; while as for wine you may instruct yourself as to the native soil of many dozen varieties." Mr. T. J. Harrison, a baker in business at one period, made a specialty of grissini in Detroit. He took in a destitute Italian baker who in turn showed his employer what he could do, and thus the grissini trade was started to their mutual profit, the Italian residents being pretty constant buyers from the first.
The Italian baker would call it Garibaldi Grissini in the advertisements when he had his way; but it seemed there were two political parties among the Italians, and one-half of them would not buy Garibaldi bread; consequently the bread took on a strictly neutral character after that was discovered, and became Italian grissini, neither more nor less. It is made of the ordinary bread-dough with some butter worked into it; then the dough is kneaded under a lever-break as if for crackers. Made into rolls about two fingers thick, allowed to rise,'brushed over with water, divided and taken up one by one by the ends and pulled out to the thinness of a little finger and about 12 inches long; then rolled, wet as they are, in corn meal, placed on a wet peel and slid off when the peel is full on to the oven bottom. A revolving oven is the best for them as they need but a few minutes to bake. Sold at 6bc. per lb. Being almost hollow, nearly all crust, it takes a stack of them to weigh a pound.