Saturday, November 16, 2019

Invention of precooked cereal by James Caleb Jackson (1811 – 1895)

The first manufactured precooked breakfast cereal was developed in 1863 by a doctor and health reformer named Dr. James Caleb Jackson at Dansville, New York. Jackson believed, as many did at the time, that sicknesses were based in the digestive system.

Jackson was a disciple of Sylvester Graham of the eponymous crac ker, an early 19th century minister and temperance activist.

James Caleb Jackson was born in Manilus, NY in 1811. He was 47 years old when he first came to Dansville, to take over operations of a water cure facility that had frustrated the efforts of three previous ownerships.

Once in Dansville, in 1858, he wasted no time turning “Our Home On The Hillside,” as he rechristened the facility, into one of the most successful and famous medical institutions in the country. For about two decades, he would serve as chief physician, dispensing his medical wisdom (his “Laws of Life”) both orally and in numerous publications.

Jackson’s health food as made by rolling a coarse whole meal dough into thin sheets which were baked until they were hard and brittle loaves.

He broke up hardened loaves of unleavened whole grain bread into little pieces and served it for breakfast after soaking the brittle chunks overnight in milk. Jackson named this mixture granula.

Ganula, was the first cold breakfast cereal. It consisted with a twice baked wholemeal biscuit ground into crumbs, which had to be soaked on milk or water to make it even vaguely palatable.

Later, food manufacturers began to add vitamins and minerals to cereals, and people began to view cereals as health-promoting rather than as prison or peasant cuisine. During World War II, the government encouraged vitamin and mineral enrichment of foods to improve the nation’s health.
Invention of precooked cereal by James Caleb Jackson (1811 – 1895)

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