The American History of Breakfast Cereals

“I’m cuckoo for catchphrases!”

~American cereal executives

America doesn’t like to eat food that came from the ground.  The only use we have for grains is if we want something to rest the cheese and sauce of our pizza on, or if we want to burn it into a vapor and distill it into sweet, sweet alcohol.  Yet, despite our dislike of grains, America has found some of the most innovative uses for things such as wheat, corn, and barley.  No, we’re not talking about ethanol and alternative energies, get your head out of your ass, we’re talking about breakfast cereals.  Delicious, sugary, doused in milk cereal.

Cereal is the primary source of hyperactive children and “regular” adults, and it should come as no surprise that a product that can be described as “overly sugared pellet food” was invented in America.  That’s why we’re here to present…

The American History of Breakfast Cereals

Before America invented breakfast cereal, Porridge was the name of the game, only back then the “game” was known as “how to make breakfast as unappetizing as possible.”  We’d tell you how porridge was made, but we don’t want to ruin your appetite by talking about something that was largely consumed in Russia back in the day.

Of course, the first prototype of cereal needed work.  This trial and error is hardly unusual—hell, the first hamburger didn’t even have a bun.  Though the first hamburger was at least edible—the first manufactured cereal came out in 1863 and was known as Granula.  It was an early version of Grape-Nuts, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that it had to be soaked overnight before you could eat it.  That’s like inventing a doughnut where the frosting is only edible when it gets stale.  That’s fucking gross.  You’re gross, Granula.

Akron, Ohio decided to get in the game by 1877, when the American Cereal Company (which we know now as “Quaker Oats”) made a cereal out of oats.  But the true launching point of cereal came as an accident from one Will Keith Kellogg.

Pictured here, looking disappointed by your grades

In 1894, Kellogg was trying to improve the diet of hospital patients, which we can only assume at the time consisted of lead balls filled with mercury and opium.  He felt the best way to do that would be to boil wheat, because that in no way sounds gross.  He left the wheat alone too long and found it had become stale, which also in no way sounds gross, and forced it through the rollers, hoping to get a sheet of dough, because again, none of this sounds gross in the slightest.  In the process of rolling, it accidentally was crushed into a large thin flakes, which actually was in no way gross.  Because this is America, we eventually replaced the wheat with corn, and added sugar, because who wants to eat unsweetened sugared wheat?

Not Americans—Will Kellogg’s brother, John Harvey Kellogg, did not approve of adding sugar to the product, which he intended to be for healthy diets, so he sold his share in the business, and the Kellogg Company was founded in 1906.  Will Kellogg was able to sell his one millionth case after just three years, which he no doubt mentioned repeatedly and incessantly at any and all family reunions.

John Kellogg would go on to get his revenge by landing the starring role in the film “Miracle on 34th Street.”

We know cereal to be more than just stale flakes of grain, of course, and the first puffed cereal hit the market when Kix was introduced in 1937 by General Mills.  This was a huge step for people who didn’t want to eat flaky cereals that got soggy quicker, and it was produced using a revolutionary new cooking method that we’re too lazy to post here because our writers just spent the last hour determining if Kix or Corn Flakes get soggy faster when you pour bourbon in them (results were inconclusive, in that our researchers were incomprehensive).

While Kix remains a fairly bland and “healthier” option of cereal, it does earn points for being the first cereal to try to profit from the atomic bomb—mere months after America dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kix began offering an “atomic bomb ring” for 15 cents and a box top that was supposed to detect radiation.  Now some of you might think that is in poor taste, and well, it kind of is, but you gotta at least give Kix credit where credit’s due.  They got balls.  We will give them that.

Well, we didn’t mean literal balls, but we guess that’s true as well…

Once the basic evolution of cereal came about, it increasingly became apparent that children were the future, and the future needed about 50% more diabetes.  And while the most sugared down cereals are the most American cereals, those deserve a fun fact of their own at a later date.  Just know that we’ve gone a long way since we accidentally invented Corn Flakes.

Especially once we were able to trick people into calling cookies a breakfast food.  America-1, all the rest of you bitches- zero.


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