Does it help to be a certified nut/flake to produce breakfast cereals? Answer is below.

James Caleb Jackson developed the first dry breakfast cereal. Jackson ran a hydropathy clinic in Dansville, New York: “water cures,” vegan, and no tea, coffee, alcohol or tobacco. In 1863 he developed what he called Granula, and served it as breakfast at the clinic.

Granula was soaked overnight to make it palatable for the next day’s breakfast. Jackson, a devout medical flake, believed Granula complemented a lifestyle that would ultimately “cure” intemperance and masturbation.

Following a professional visit to Jackson’s clinic, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and brother Will developed their version of Granula, and called it that — till Jackson sued, forcing a name change to Granola. Later, the Kellogg brothers serendipitously created cornflakes for patients in the sanitarium John managed.

His sanitarium offered a menu of hydrotherapy with water enemas, electric current therapy, light therapy using both sunlight and artificial lamps, and so on.

John was a flat-out bigot and religious nut. He co-founded Race Betterment, a foundation promoting eugenics and racial segregation, the same ideas pursued by Nazi Germany.

Obsessed with ideas that sex and masturbation were harmful, he did his best to extirpate both. John practiced what he preached. He never consummated his marriage union, and adopted all of their children.

John became convinced that meat and spicy food engender desires for sex, and it was that specific belief that led to the development of cornflakes. John and Will experimented with various grains to develop anti-sex food for John’s sanitarium patients.

One experiment yielded bland, flat, toasted crackers made with wheat. Before it cooled, cooked wheat was run through rollers and flattened, then cut into crackers. During one production run, the brothers were called away before the warm dough could be run through the rollers. Upon returning, their wheat dough had already cooled. They nonetheless ran it through the rollers and the cooled substance emerged not flat but as flakes (like cereal flakes).

Next they tried their newly discovered process with corn. Eureka, cornflakes.

The brothers marketed their product, but sales were lackluster. This was 1894. By 1930 John and Will had parted company over Will’s intent to add sugar to their product to increase sales. Will established the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, then renamed it the Kellogg Cereal Company. He expanded the product line, and the Kellogg Company became the largest breakfast cereal maker in the world.

Charles William Post, inventor and entrepreneur, was also work-driven to the point of exhaustion. Following two mental breakdowns, he checked himself in as a patient at Kellogg’s sanitarium. Post had previously enjoyed modest success in various pursuits, but at Kellogg’s sanitarium he discovered his calling.

There, C.W., as he was also known, found inspiration to start his own breakfast cereal company. C.W.’s first product was Grape Nuts, so called because the manufacturing process emits a grape aroma and the product has a nutty crunch when consumed.

Next up was a Kellogg cornflake knockoff C.W. called Elijah’s Manna. Religious leaders objected to that name, so C.W. renamed the stuff Post Toasties. John Kellogg’s brother Will maintained that Post stole the Kellogg Corn Flakes recipe from the company’s safe, but C.W. was not deterred, and Post soon became Kellogg’s largest competitor.

A legal squabble quelled the claim, but Post advertisements suggested that Grape Nuts offered the benefit of being a cure for appendicitis. It is not known whether C.W. ate Grape Nuts; what is known is that he developed inoperable appendicitis, which bedeviled him so that he shot himself to death.

Post Cereals did not die. His 27-year-old daughter, Marjorie Merriweather Post, inherited the company, and C.W.’s money, and Post Cereals became Postum Cereals. Then, following numerous mergers and buyouts involving Ralston-Purina and others, today’s Post Consumer Brands emerged.

Ralston-Purina issued from a liaison with Purina Mills. In 1902, after Purina Mills made a cereal endorsed by Webster Edgerly as appropriate for his Ralstonites, Purina Mills became Ralston-Purina.

Edgerly, founder of Ralston, postulated that the cereal, with select other foods, would impart to Ralstonites “personal magnetism,” which would enable them to control others’ thoughts.

Ralstonites, 800,000-strong, followed Edgerly’s somewhat unconventional beliefs about instituting a new racial order. All would be Caucasian, and all non-Caucasian males would be castrated at birth. Rastonites would speak Adam-Man-Tongue, a language Edgerly developed. There were other peculiarities, but you get the drift.

Nowadays, Purina Pet Care, owned by Nestle, markets pet food. General Mills owns Chex and Shredded Wheat and other breakfast cereals previously marketed by antecedent Ralston-Purina. Ralston exists yet and markets private label grocery products.

Answer: Apparently so.

Michael Smith is a Southern Pines resident. He did not disclose what he eats for breakfast.

(1) comment

Kent Misegades

Two Post-scripts, and no puns intended:

Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post Cereals business, built an estate in south Florida called Mar-A-Lago. When it fell into disrepair Donald Trump purchased it at a good price, invested millions and returned it to its former glory.

Nearly all breakfast cereals as well as dry dog food are made the same way - a wet pulp of grains and other ingredients are dried and baked in large continuous ovens half the length of a football field, or more. The two largest makers of such ovens are based here in North Carolina, CPM Wolverine Proctor in Lexington and Swiss-owned Buhler Aeroglide in Cary. Our local Southeastern Tool & Die in Aberdeen builds components as complete ovens for Buhler Aeroglide that end up at Kelloggs, Purina and other companies around the world.

These ovens, as well as most food industry equipment in general, are highly sophisticated requiring the best engineers, materials (typically food-grade stainless steel), expert fabricators (that can create smooth welds on stainless, not easy) and precise controls. The dust from grains can under the right conditions be explosive, so all electric equipment such as motors must be certified as explosion-proof.

We take for granted all that goes into making a box of breakfast cereals.

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