July 30, 2010

Invention of Corn Flakes – 1898

On this day in 1898, William Kellogg and his brother discovered that cooking, drying, and rolling corn produced flakes that patients at their Battle Creek Sanitarium enjoyed eating. 

As a matter of fact, patients enjoyed the breakfast cereal so much, they wanted more to take home. Eventually Kellogg decided to mass-market corn flakes (and he added sugar to appeal more to the general public!).

Four years before, the Kellogg brothers accidentally discovered the flaking process when they found that some cooked wheat that had gone stale was still usable after rolling it it out. They had intended to roll out a large swath of dough, but were surprised to see the wheat flakes that formed instead. The Kelloggs patented their process and called the wheat cereal "Granose."

Corn flakes were even more popular than wheat, and in 1928 William Kellogg brought out another product: Rice Krispies. This cereal was another hit with the public, and Kellogg was on his way to creating a huge, successful company.

Did you know...?
  • When William Kellogg decided to put sugar on his mass-marketed cereals, his brother Dr. John Kellogg was angry. He was all about nutrition, and he didn't want to be associated with sugary cereals! The brothers split on the issue, and the familiar Kellogg's company we know today is only associated with William.
  • The Kelloggs didn't invent the idea of dry cereal for breakfast. A man named Dr. James Jackson invented a non-flaked dry cereal he called “Granula,” which was not like today's granola, but instead was like today's “Grape Nuts.”
  • One of the Kellogg's companies biggest competitors in the dry cereal market is Post. The person who started that company, Charles William Post, was actually one of Dr. Kellogg's patients. Some claim Post stole the recipe for corn flakes from the Kelloggs.

Celebrate with cereal!
I love cereal and milk! I could eat it three times a day, if I wasn't worried about nutrition and variety—but of course, I DO worry about nutrition and variety, and so should you:

  • Investigate your stash of dry cereal at home, or the shelves of cereal options at a grocery store. How do the cereals compare when considering nutrition? Calories? Cost?
  • One thing some nutritionists say we should avoid as much as possible in processed foods is high fructose corn syrup. Find out why by doing some research on the sweetener. Then do more research: Do any of the cereals you enjoy avoid this high fructose corn syrup? If not, how about buying and trying a cereal that doesn't have it. You might also want to write to the manufacturer of your favorite cereal and ask that it be removed.
  • You can eat dry cereal with milk or yogurt, bananas or berries, honey or...? Try a different combo today!

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