How Cereal Transformed American Culture – Mental Floss

How Cereal Transformed American Culture – Mental Floss.

OK, one more “Friday Fun” today – I had saved this article earlier this week when I came across it, and decided to get it out of my “saved box” and post it. It is an intriguing account of the invention and development of cereal – especially in Battle Creek, MI (who of my age doesn’t remember the trips to the Kellogg’s cereal plant for a class trip?!). Did you know the craze started with fundamentalists’ health promotion – a reaction against meat eating? I didn’t – but now I do! Amazing how religion is at the roots of so much in our American culture. And, as this article shows, how much the cereal industry has transformed our culture. Read on and enjoy the story!

Here’s the first part of the story; read the rest at the link above (or at the end of this quote).

Meat Is Murder (on the Colon)

During the early 19th century, most Americans subsisted on a diet of pork, whiskey, and coffee. It was hell on the bowels, and to many Christian fundamentalists, hell on the soul, too. They believed that constipation was God’s punishment for eating meat. The diet was also blamed for fueling lust and laziness. To rid America of these vices, religious zealots spearheaded the country’s first vegetarian movement. In 1863, one member of this group, Dr. James Jackson, invented Granula, America’s first ready-to-eat, grain-based breakfast product. Better known as cereal, Jackson’s rock-hard breakfast bricks offered consumers a sin-free meat alternative that aimed to clear both conscience and bowels.

While Jackson’s innovation didn’t appeal to the masses, it did catch the attention of Dr. John Kellogg. A renowned surgeon and health guru, Kellogg had famously transformed the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan into one of America’s hottest retreats. Socialites from the Rockefellers to the Roosevelts flocked to “The San” to receive Kellogg’s unorthodox treatments. But shock-therapy sessions and machine-powered enemas weren’t the only items on the agenda. Kellogg also stressed such newfangled ideas as exercise and proper nutrition. It wasn’t long before he started serving bran biscuits similar to those of Dr. Jackson—only now with the Kellogg name on them. To avoid a lawsuit, he changed the name of the cereal by one letter, dubbing it “Granola.”

By 1889, The San was selling 2 tons of granola a week, despite the fact that it was barely edible. The success inspired Dr. Kellogg and his brother, W.K., to produce more-palatable fare. After six years of experimentation, a kitchen mishap by W.K. yielded the breakfast staple known as cereal flakes.

Read the full text here:
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Published in: on June 29, 2012 at 2:50 PM  Leave a Comment  

“Three Little Words” – “Vies”

For our second “Friday Fun” item today, we turn once more to the book Of Cabbages and Kings by CRC minister, Jacob Eppinga (LaGrave Ave, Grand Rapids). One of the chapters in his book is about three little Dutch words that have made their way into the English language, particularly here in America. The second one he mentions is the one I am interested in, because it is the most familiar – the word “vies – with the “v” sounding like an “f” and rhyming with “niece”. Those of us who have grown up in homes of Dutch background know this word well. As Eppinga says, the word “can be translated by such words as dirty or filthy. A thing that is “vies” is a thing that is repugnant” (p.160). As when my mother would say, “That bathroom is vies! Clean it up!’ Yes, at time the boys bathroom was filthy and repugnant.

Well, Eppinga takes this word and applies it to the American scene, especially its culture. And this is what he says about how vies we are:

The word ‘vies’ comes to my lips twice as much nowadays as the word ‘gezellig’ (the first Dutch word he mentioned -CJT). Presently much in America is unwashed, from people to places to things. There is much to offend the eyes. And nose. The land has B.O. Our rivers stink. Out cities rot. So do our lungs from the air we breathe. A man-made plague of garbage blankets us from shore to shore, while beneath it all, somewhere, lies America the beautiful. If the Dutch prize cleanliness, as is reputed, it is logical that they would come up with a dramatic word for its opposite. Regrettably, there is more occasion for its use today as descriptive not only of our physical, but also moral, climate” (pp.161-62).

Prisoners in Brazil: Redemption through Reading

Brazilian prisoners given novel way to reduce their sentence | World news |

And if you need any more reasons for supporting the benefits of reading, here’s an unlikely but interesting one: a prison reading program called “Redemption through Reading”. Simple formula – read a book, write an essay, and get four days reduced prison time. I rather like it. Here’s the first part of the brief report; find the rest at the link above.

Brazil will offer inmates in its crowded federal penitentiary system a new way to shorten their sentences: a reduction of four days for every book they read.

Inmates in four federal prisons holding some of Brazil’s most notorious criminals will be able to read up to 12 works of literature, philosophy, science or classics to trim a maximum 48 days off their sentence each year, the government announced.

Prisoners will have up to four weeks to read each book and write an essay that must “make correct use of paragraphs, be free of corrections, use margins and legible joined-up writing”, said the notice published on Monday in the official gazette.

Published in: on June 29, 2012 at 12:00 PM  Leave a Comment