Maker Series: We Say Granola, He Said Granula…

Stumbled into an interesting story in The New York Times Magazine section (Who made that — Granola. It talked about the origins of granola. We make our own with rolled oats, protein powder, brown sugar, lots of cinnamon and then sticky stuff to keep it together (canola oil with maple syrup). So, of course, I was curious.

Apparently granola started as granula back in the late 1800s (1863 to be exact). It was invented by James Caleb Jackson (March 28, 1811–1895), a health reformer who believed illness was rooted in the stomach.

He experimented with cold cereal to augment the mineral-spring treatments at his sanitarium in upstate New York. He baked graham flour into brittle cakes, which he then crumbled and baked again. His granula, which has been described as being Post Grape Nuts-like, was edible only when soaked in milk overnight.

Along came Kellogg… Mr. John Harvey Kellogg, that is. He modified Mr. Jackson’s granula recipe and was off to the market. By 1889, he was selling two tons of granola a week. Impressive!

According to the article, the first mass-market granola, Heartland Natural Cereal, was introduced in 1972. And now, as we all know, granola is everywhere with the fastest-growing segments at Whole Foods being the artisanal, small-batch varieties, like Milk & Honey and Nature’s Path Love Crunch.

So there you have it.

But there’s more. Upon further research, I found Mr. Breakfast on the web.

He wrote a piece on “The Early Days Of Breakfast Cereal.” He also has this really cool video from an interview he did: The Secret Life of Cereal

So now you have the scoop on granola.


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