The most important meal of the day

I have such nostalgia for old timey marketing. Maybe I love how transparent their methods are when we take a look back.

I rarely eat breakfast. I generally dislike breakfast foods. Something was bugging me.

How did breakfast become the most important meal of the day?


Grape nuts most important meal

As with all things, it starts with Jesus Christ. Numerous websites claim there’s a passage that he ate eggs, but actually he just happens to mention it in Luke 11-12 and he doesn’t even say it was for breakfast. I have a feeling this is big breakfast still up to their old antics.

Some more substantial evidence shows Thomas Jefferson ate pancakes. In fact, breakfast was usually eggs, pastries, and pancakes before we latched onto cereal here in America. Oysters, boiled chicken, beef steaks, and porridge were also consumed. If you eat breakfast in other countries you still see things like this.

Some food cures us of our sins

In 1827, Sylvester Graham changed the world forever by curing our carnal desires with the graham cracker. I don’t think an explanation is needed.


Ok maybe a little.


So when Graham was in his 20s, he was on his way to be a minister just like his father and grandfather before him. But his schoolmates did one of those silly practical jokes where they claimed he “improperly approached a woman.” I am not sure if they made up a story about him sexually assaulting someone, having sexual relations, or literally just talking to a woman. It was the 1800s after all.

Anyway, Graham was forced to leave the school in disgrace and the whole event probably definitely didn’t affect his views on sexuality. On a likely unrelated note, Graham started claiming meat and masturbation was bad for the soul. Everyone should simply eat plainer Graham crackers. To his credit, most diseases do come from ill-prepared meat.

He most likely created the famous annoying, holier-than-thou vegan stereotype that still exists today. Pretty influential guy all around.

But it didn’t end with Graham. He started a whole movement of inventor puritans.

LaMarcus Thompson brought rollercoasters to the USA in the 1880s to give Americans a thrilling past time to rival sex. I don’t think it worked.

James Caleb Jackson invented “granula” in 1863. It was not quite granola yet. It was not even edible until you soaked it in milk. He refused red meat as well and claimed lots of benefits. It was cheap, it could be stored long, it didn’t have to be cooked.

But most importantly, it cured dyspepsia (basically early morning indigestion). By the way, does this sound familiar to history of soda marketing? A successful food should apparently have a few minor health benefits a bunch of fake ones to catch on.

Soylent was doing a solid job of this in modern times, but they failed to market it beyond 20-30s males.


Grape Nuts Comics 3


Dr. Kellogg invents moral medicine, also known as cereal

The year is 1890 and James Kellogg mastered granola (also known as corn flakes).

This story will sound eerily similar. John Harvey Kellogg was a religious doctor who believed that his cereal would keep Americans from masturbating and desiring sex.

He took things a step even further with shocking kids, tying their hands, adding irritants or blisters to the area, and even going so far as to surgery on women for this.

Image result for NuttoseNuteena Can

What a coincidence, he was also against meat and liked bland food! He believed too many spices had negative side affects. He even made some of the first attempts at meat flavored substitutes. Unfortunately, they did not taste very good so never caught on.


Impossible burger anyone?

Impossible Burger


It is possible he ruined breakfast forever and also American cuisine in general. Is this why we still love bland sandwiches? Street food in any non-western country is miles ahead on flavor.

Dr. Kellogg was also big on telling people how to make their own cereal at home. Just like the DIY section on Soylent’s website. His brother ran the company and controversially added sugar. He also had a former patient and competitor his brother, who ran the company added sugar though and a competitor (and former patient) who claimed his cereal cured nearly everything up to malaria and appendicitis.

Long story short, those cereals turned in Frosted Flakes and Snap, Crackle, and Pop in the 30s.


1917 American Food Pyramid

As a side not, check out this pre- food pyramid guideline in 1917 from the U.S Department of Agriculture.;view=1up;seq=18

I wish all the food pyramids were this clear. I like it a lot. It still says cereal was important, but not THE most important meal of the day yet.

It also is in plain english and does not dumb anything down. It tells you all the facts and even says sugar and spices are important for making boring healthy food taste good.



Grape Nuts masters marketing

Remember Grape nuts? Me either. Clearly this cereal which by the way has neither grapes nor nuts are marketing geniuses.

Guess who made breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Grape Nuts

The C.W. Post Company made Grape Nuts. They pioneered a lot. They were the first widespread product to use a coupon in the late 1890s. In typical breakfast fashion, they also claimed they could cure appendicitis. For once the government stepped in and fined them $50,000 in 1910. Although the case was overturned later.

Technically, Grape Nuts really were an important meal though. They ended up being used as rations for soldiers in the jungle in World War 2.



A relative of Dr. Freud invents Public Relations

There was just so much to story, I didn’t know where to stop. I promise this is the last part.

Edward Bernays created a career off of being the nephew of Sigmund Freud. Bernays is now known as the father of public relations. His first famous act was getting everyone to add the bacon made by the Beech-Nut company to their breakfasts.

He got 5,000 doctor’s signatures to agree to a statement that a protein heavy breakfast of bacon and eggs was better than a light breakfast (presumably one with just cereal).

This guy got everyone to add meat to their granola and corn flakes. The cereal purists must be rolling in their graves.

I personally don’t usually eat bacon for breakfast, but just imagine being so good at marketing, people still follow your trend 80 years later.

Bernays is also the guy that got women smoking by making it an image of women’s independence called “torches of freedom.” He basically made cigarettes cool.


Torches of Freedom Ad


I assume he did all this while smoking a big cigar and swearing in Mad Men fashion. But that’s not all. Later he turned around and worked with the anti-smoking lobby.

Talk about a mercenary.