Cereal

Cereal

People, Kid, Child, Baby, Eating, Cereal

There’s absolutely no question that cold cereals revolutionized the American breakfast table. No longer did mom have to cook hot cereal, eggs or meat, and children could independently prepare something for themselves before heading off to college. At the turn of the twentieth century, the creation of cold cereal essentially began with two enterprising men who saw the possibilities and took a gamble. And breakfast has never been the same.

In the late 1890s, a somewhat eccentric man named John Harvey Kellogg, conducted a health sanitarium at Battle Creek, Michigan, and had created a bland, tasteless food for his patients with digestive issues. A couple of years after, his brother Will decided to mass-market the new food in his new firm, Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, including a bit of sugar into the flakes recipe making it more palatable for the masses, and a star was born.

Around the same time, C. W. Post, who was a patient at Kellogg’s sanitarium, introduced a substitute for coffee called Postum, followed by Grape-Nuts (which have nothing to do with either grapes, Wildlife Removal or nuts) and his version of Kellogg’s corn flakes, naming them Post Toasties, and America’s breakfasts were not the same.

Both men could thank an enterprising gentleman by the name of Sylvester Graham, who twenty years before had experimented with graham flour, marketing it to help”digestive issues.” He produced a breakfast cereal which was dried and broken into shapes so tough they had to be soaked in milk overnight, which he predicted granula (the father of granola and graham crackers).

Capitalizing on that original concept, in 1898 the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) began producing graham crackers based on the experiments of Sylvester Graham, first promoting them as a”digestive” cracker for those who have stomach problems; (Seems plenty of people had gastrointestinal problems even back then.)

Fast forward and other businesses were sitting up and taking notice. The Quaker Oats Company, acquired a method which compelled rice grains to explode and started marketing Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat, calling them a marvel of food science which was”the first food taken from guns” (oh boy, would they come under fire for this one today, no pun intended);

1920s Wheaties was introduced and cleverly targeted athletes as they proclaimed to be the”Breakfast of Champions;”

The 1930s saw The Ralston Purina firm introduce an early version of Wheat Chex, calling it Shredded Ralston (sounds a little painful);

Shortly Cheerios appeared and could become the best-selling cereal in America, worth roughly $1 billion in sales in 2015.

No one can dispute the convenience and flexibility of dry packed cereal. In the past fifty years, this multi-billion dollar industry has spun off multiple applications, unlimited possibilities and targeted kids with clever packaging, outrageous names, flavors, colors and options (all loaded with sugar of course). What could be more American than corn flakes?


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