vintage cereal

Eat me Vintage: The History of Munchy Breakfast Alternative

You munch on them with or without milk. Soggy or crunch, but still preferably fully doused in milk. Usually paired with a fruit or two, but still appreciated by itself. When in a rush and barely has time to cook, breakfast consists of this crunchy, sweet grain of life. It was first founded in mid 18th century to the 19th century when its first purpose was to help the digestive tract. Below are some types of vintage cereal that later evolved into the sweet snack we now know today.

1863: Granula

James Caleb Jackson prepared the first cereal by drying graham flour dough invented by Reverend Sylvester Graham. He combined the germ, bran, and endosperm of the wheat overnight. This gave it its hard consistency that needed to be doused in milk to soften. Jackson named it granula. However, granula had its counterparts named granola by John Harvey Kellog, a surgeon, and Grape-Nuts by C.W. Post. Grape-Nuts shone because of its discount coupon that came with the package.

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Though small, this wheat berry paved the way for the breakfast alternative we know today. Whether it be the healthy alternative or the indulgently sweet kind, cereals have become a staple breakfast food for all generations.

1990: Kellog’s Corn Flakes

Granola – the version of Granula by John Harvey Kellogg – was improved by his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg. Keith added sugar to the granola and mass-marketed it while adding a prize in the package, which in turn became their trademark. The sweetness added was made by accident which lead into a long-term feud between the brothers. John believed that increased level of sweetness or spiciness would lead to amplified passions which was not good for the clients in the health spa.

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Kellogg’s Corn Flakes is now a staple breakfast cereal that is good eaten as is or doused in milk since it adds flavor to the milk it’s submerged in. Also, the logo as a rooster was suggested by one of Kellogg’s friends, Nansi Richards who was a Welsh harpist and suggested ceiliog since it sounded similar to Kellog and meant rooster.

1910: Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat

Quaker Oats bought the product of Alexander Pierce Anderson when they saw it in the St. Louis State Fair as a snack. They started mass production after learning the technique of creating puffed rice and wheat which was subjecting rice grains to high heat to explode under pressure. Their tagline was “food shot from guns” and “the eight wonder of the world.” It was one of the classics but was discontinued last year. 

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Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat was the product that made Quaker Oats a household staple aside from their oats themselves.

1920: Wheaties

No one knows who invented Wheaties, but it was created by heating wheat bran mixture and this was made by accident. It’s so healthy that it only gives you 1g of total fat while doused in milk. The calories it provides 133 and only has 5 grams of sugar mixed with 253 milligrams of sodium, 130miligrams of Calcium, 3 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. A truly fit cereal for the health buffs out there. Competing with Wheaties was Rice Krispies, from the same company that brought you Corn Flakes. Rice Krispies are made through a rigorous process of being cooked, dried, and toasted while milk is added. This gives it its pop sounds while eating. These cereals have no chemical additives which make them the healthy alternative.

Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

Both the Wheaties and Corn Flakes cereals have on thing in common: they were made by accident. With the rise of health consciousness as being a thing, these cereals are a healthy alternative that allows people to still enjoy the feeling of fullness without the feelings of guilt from the calorie count.

Photo by Phil Aicken on Unsplash

There are many more types of vintage cereal that we haven’t delved into. The commonalities of these cereals highlighted, however, are what consists of nostalgia-filled breakfasts that fuel people of all generations with just a spoon full of their cereal. Though made by accident, these vintage cereals are the highlight of healthy, munchy breakfast alternatives.

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