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How an Accidental Invention Changed What Americans Eat for Breakfast

August 2, 2019 in History

By Sarah Pruitt

It started with some moldy dough.

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, Americans woke up to a new kind of breakfast. Poured from a box into a bowl and doused with milk, cold cereals like Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes, Grape-Nuts and Shredded Wheat were not only lighter and easier to digest than more traditional breakfast staples like steak and eggs, hash, sausage, bacon and flapjacks. They also offered a previously unimaginable level of convenience to men, women and children whose schedules were adjusting to the quicker pace of an industrialized, rapidly urbanizing nation.

What breakfast was like before cereal

Details of a 1920s advertisement for Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes.

“In the colonial period, people—especially ordinary working class people—had a tendency to eat either porridge or leftovers from the night before,” says culinary historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson. But as the new nation grew wealthier, she explains, breakfasts got bigger. “There’s a trend that started with the European aristocracy, to have this giant breakfast buffet with cold smoked tongue, ham, sausage and egg dishes and things like that.”

In the 19th century, however, large breakfast spreads became commonplace, especially after the industrialization of beef and pork production in Midwestern cities like Chicago and Cincinnati. This was particularly true in rural areas, where large, meat-heavy morning meals fueled farmers and laborers for their days of work.

Then came the , tracing the exact origins of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes is difficult, due to the many competing versions of the story. Kellogg’s wife, Ella, and his brother, Will, who worked as his assistant (and did much of the administrative work necessary to run the sanitarium), worked alongside him in the kitchen, and both lay claim to playing a role in the flakes’ invention—as do several other family members and Sanitarium employees. What seems clear is that one night around 1894, a batch of corn-based cereal dough was accidentally left out for an extended period of time, causing it to ferment. When rolled out into thin sheets, the slightly moldy dough produced perfect large, thin flakes that became crispy and tasty in the oven.

Patients at the “San” loved the new cereal flakes, which Dr. Kellogg called Granose (a combination of “grain” and the scientific suffix “ose,”or metabolism). Will Kellogg, meanwhile, saw the opportunity to market the flakes to ordinary people looking for a light, healthy breakfast.

After years of humiliating treatment by his …read more


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Dr. John Kellogg Invented Cereal. Some of His Other Wellness Ideas Were Much Weirder

August 2, 2019 in History

By Greg Daugherty

Patients—including presidents and famed industrialists—flocked to his Battle Creek Sanitarium, where treatments included electrical currents to the eyeballs and 15-quart enemas.

Battle Creek Sanitarium, America’s most popular medical spa of the early 20th century, may be best known as the birthplace of the corn flake. But some might say that the biggest flake to come out of Battle Creek was the man in charge: John Harvey Kellogg, the dapper doctor always dressed in a white suit and white shoes, with a white cockatoo perched on his shoulder.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, circa 1899.

Since his death in 1943, Kellogg has gained a reputation as something of a comical quack—due, in part, to his portrayal in T. Coraghessan Boyle’s 1993 novel The Road to Wellville and the movie of the same name, with Anthony Hopkins as the good doctor. In reality, Kellogg was a more complicated figure: a widely respected physician and popular wellness guru who had many forward-thinking treatment ideas—and many that now appear downright wacky.

As one of the nation’s first proponents of integral medicine, he saw himself as a health reformer fighting to improve body, mind and soul through a program he called “biologic living.” His messianic zeal for wellness stemmed largely from his Seventh-day Adventist faith; groomed by the faith’s founders to be a church leader from a young age, Kellogg went on to earn his medical degree with their support. But while he published in respected medical journals, lectured at prestigious universities and kept up with medical research that interested him, his treatments remained largely grounded in his religion’s tenets of dietary and sexual abstinence—much of which had come to the founder in visions and prophesies.

Under the supervision of Dr. Kellogg and his brother Will, the Battle Creek Sanitarium grew from the church’s small “health reform institute” into a national holistic wellness destination—a combination medical center, spa and grand hotel. Dr. Kellogg also lectured, wrote books and edited a magazine, becoming a celebrity doctor whose admirers and patients included several U.S. presidents, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth and many others. Also among his patients was Ida Tarbell, the foremost investigative reporter of her day and a woman …read more


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Why America’s First Colonial Rebels Burned Jamestown to the Ground

August 2, 2019 in History

By Erin Blakemore

Bacon’s Rebellion was triggered when a grab for Native American lands was denied.

Jamestown had once been the bustling capital of the Colony of Virginia. Now it was a smoldering ruin, and Nathaniel Bacon was on the run. Charismatic and courageous, he had spent the last several months leading a growing group of rebels in a bloody battle against William Berkeley, the colonial governor, and he wasn’t about to stop now.

Forces would be coming soon from England in an attempt to take his militia down. But Bacon and his men couldn’t surrender. Hunker down, he told them. Hide in the woods for the time being, but keep up the fight when they arrive.

Soon Bacon would be dead and his militia defeated. The rebellion he led is commonly thought of as the first armed insurrection by American colonists against Britain and their colonial government. A hundred years before the American Revolution, Bacon and his armed rebels ransacked their colonial capital, threatened its governor and upended Virginia’s social order. Many were executed for their actions.

Right after the Revolutionary War, Thomas Jefferson and others upheld the event as a brave stand by embattled colonists. Today, though, historians see it as a tussle over the ownership of the colonial frontier and an effort to further drive Native Americans off their lands.

Lean Times Lead Up to Bacon’s Rebellion

Settlers roll barrels of tobacco up a ramp and onto a ship in preparation for export from Jamestown, Virginia.

At the time, wealthy settlers had built profitable tobacco plantations and used their crops to pay high colonial taxes. But for poorer Virginians, times were lean. Only people who owned land could vote, and the indentured servants and poorer Virginians who did not felt disenfranchised.

Poor farmers had been hit hard by falling tobacco prices, and many on the borders of the colony’s frontier wanted to expand westward. There, they faced threats from Native Americans intent on protecting their ancestral lands. When the colonists called on their governor for military support, he refused.

Berkeley had long tried to balance his colonists’ wishes against those of the tribes on Virginia’s borders. But his attempts to appease all sides failed, especially when he used new trade rules to increase his wealthy friends’ fortunes. Bacon, who had recently arrived in Virginia and was Berkeley’s cousin by marriage, was disgusted …read more


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Facebook Deserves More Credit… Our Data Is Not "the Product"

August 2, 2019 in Economics

By Ryan Bourne

Ryan Bourne

It’s the must-say cliché about Big Tech. On a new Netflix
documentary, The Great Hack, digital media professor David Carroll
repeated that, when it comes to social media platforms, “we are the

Such thinking is common in writing about Google and Facebook.
Tropes such as “you’re not the consumer, you’re the product” are
repeated ad nauseam. The idea is the same. Since Facebook and
Google do not charge us for services, it’s said we pay through giving up our information, in turn
sold to third parties for well-targeted advertising

So entrenched is this belief, a Financial Times editorial this
week advocated overhauling competition laws to acknowledge that
“digital services increasingly cost long-term privacy rather than

Whoa, there. Before good policy is sacrificed to this meme, let
us pause and reflect. Yes, Facebook and Google make money through
information-infused advertising targeted at granular user
populations. But there’s nothing new about this practice. Nor does
it follow that users are “the product” or that privacy is “the
cost” of digital services.

Journalists, of all people, should understand this. Free
newspapers and free-to-air broadcasters, such as ITV and Channel 4,
have similar business models. All seek to capture readers or
viewers by providing good quality content.

Generating these large audiences is necessary for their
advertising space to generate revenue. Media companies must profile
their readers or viewers, pitching this demographic information to
would-be advertising buyers. Yet, strangely, nobody says ITV
viewers or Metro readers are “the product” or a “commodity” of the

True, TV networks and papers don’t collect much individual level
data or enjoy the scale of information of Google or Facebook. Yet
this is a matter of degree, not principle. One senses the teeth
gnashing comes precisely because tech has disrupted the traditional
media’s approach.

Advertisers on Facebook can now target ads at 35 to
40-year-olds, living in the Medway towns, who are interested in
water polo; obtaining real-time feedback on the ad’s success. That
obviously helps maximize the effectiveness of ad spend. None of
that makes our data “the product” or privacy “the cost” of Google
or Facebook though. In fact, there are three clear reasons why such
claims are misguided.

First, and most obviously, the value of these firms’ advertising space is dependent on
strong user numbers
. Google must deliver an accurate search
engine, and Facebook high-quality networking and applications, to
keep us using their websites or apps. That provides an incentive to
respond to our wants and needs, including on privacy. We might not
be paying customers, but we are much-needed consumers.

For now, these firms are successful. Alternatives are just a
click away …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Tariffs Will Bite U.S. Consumers: Prepare to Feel Their Effects More Than Before

August 2, 2019 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

Announcing his intentions on Thursday to hit all remaining
imports from China with tariffs, President Trump is now all-in on
the trade war. This doesn’t bode well for Americans’ wallets,
bilateral relations or the global economy.

As costly as this course of action will prove to be, it isn’t
hard to understand why Trump has continued down this treacherous
path. The adverse consequences of the trade war so far have been
contained. The president believes he has the leverage to bend
Beijing to his will. And if he were to ease up on the pressure,
Trump would be portrayed as weak by the dozen or more Democratic
presidential aspirants hoping to outflank him with protectionist
promises to win back Rust Belt voters.

A few words of advice: Go
shopping. Now! Buy your phones, laptops, clothes, furniture, hockey
gear, football helmets and hand tools now.

Tariffs on imports from China, which Trump first imposed last
summer, were gradually broadened and increased over the course of
the ensuing 12 months. As of this moment, U.S. Customs is assessing
taxes of 25% on about $250 billion worth of imports from China.
Most of those products are capital equipment and
“intermediate goods,” which is to say machinery, raw
materials and components required by U.S. producers to manufacture
their own output for sale in the United States and abroad.

Of course, those taxes get passed on to U.S. consumers in the
form of higher prices (to cover the higher costs of production) and
to workers whose compensation and hours worked suffer from their
companies’ dwindling profits. According to a report from the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Over the course of 2018,
the U.S. experienced substantial increases in the prices of
intermediates and final goods, dramatic changes to its supply-chain
network, reductions in availability of imported varieties, and
complete pass-through of the tariffs into domestic prices of
imported goods.”

However, even though the costs are real and consequential, to a
large extent the pain has been dispersed and the cause and effect
has been hard for people to discern.

But as of Sept. 1, the remaining 55% of imports from China
(about $300 billion worth of mostly consumer goods) that have thus
far been spared the tariffs, will be taxed at 10%. A few words of
advice: Go shopping. Now! Buy your phones, laptops, clothes,
furniture, hockey gear, football helmets and hand tools now.

In 2017, the last full year before Trump’s punitive tariffs were
imposed, U.S. imports from China totaled $504 billion, and duties
paid by U.S. importers to U.S. Customs amounted to $13.5 billion.
That’s an average applied tariff rate …read more

Source: OP-EDS