|We are fans of the "hippie" version of granola|
Did you know that granola was central to the formation of the cold cereal industry in the United States? The origins of granola date back to the popular health movements that swept through the United States in the mid 1800’s. One of the leading figures, Dr. Syvester Graham from Pennsylvania, advocated vegetarianism and temperence. His lasting contribution was the development of graham flour, a type of coarsely ground whole wheat.
A few decades later, Dr. James Caleb Jackson created his own health movement in Dansville, New York that embraced hydrotherapy and dietary restrictions. Dr. Jackson baked Graham’s flour into sheets, broke them up, then baked them again, smashing them into small pieces resembling gravel. He called his concoction granula. It was quite hearty, shall we say, and was promoted as “the cereal you have to soak overnight.”
In 1876 Dr. John Harvey Kellog took charge of one of Dr. Graham’s health spas in Michigan, renaming it Battle Creek Sanitarium. He created his own cereal, adding other whole grains to the Jackson recipe. He initially named it granula until Jackson sued. Kellogg swapped a letter and granola was born. John Kellogg and his brother William developed other cereals and William went on to establish Kellogg’s breakfast cereals.
Charles W. Post, a former patient of Dr. Kellogg, created yet another health retreat and tinkered with Dr. Jackson’s recipe, giving it the name Grape-Nuts. He went on to found the Post cereal brand. The granula-like cereals were never as popular as other innovations like corn flakes and shredded wheat, probably because eating granula/granola was a bit like chewing small stones.
Granola languished in obscurity for decades. In the 1960’s when hippies started grooving on the health benefits of whole, natural foods, they revived the granola name and greatly expanded the ingredient list to include oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruits. Yeah, I think we’re going with the hippie version.
Here are a few of hundreds of possible recipes:
Shipping granola in inexpensive plastic containers is an alternative to bag packaging.