Have you ever wondered why most Americans eat in the same general pattern every day? Cereal for breakfast, maybe a sandwich for lunch and a big dinner? Smithsonian Magazine recently interviewed Abigail Carroll author of Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal which traces our eating evolution.
Most people during colonial times ate their largest meal in the middle of the day to fuel up. With the industrial revolution, going home midday was no longer an option. This is the point where dinner became a much more important meal because it was time spent with family.
Colonialists were viewed as somewhat primitive, so to appear more “classy” they incorporated the English idea of the Sunday night roast.
Initially during the industrial revolution people would bring foods like pies and biscuits but that type of fare was messy compared with clean, utensil-not-needed, sandwiches. Sticking to a farmer’s diet while having a more “sedentary” lifestyle caused indigestion. As a remedy for this people like Sylvester Graham suggested vegetarian food “and whole wheat as a kind of a panacea for healthy problems.”
Then, people who ran sanitariums, including John Harvey Kellogg, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, really took that idea and flew with it and invented new ways to eat farinaceous foods.
Entrepreneurs—some of whom worked in the sanitariums, like Charles C. Post–really build on these ideas and make them a healthy requirement. He creates all sorts of crazy testimonies that serve as advertisements for Grape-Nuts, where people’s lives are saved from chronic illness and they’re able to walk again.
What do you have for breakfast typically? Is cereal in your rotation?