|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan|
|Creator||Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1894)
|Main ingredients||Milled corn, sugar, malt flavoring, high fructose corn syrup|
|Cookbook: Corn flakes Media: Corn flakes|
Corn flakes, or cornflakes, are a popular breakfast cereal made by toasting flakes of corn. The cereal was first created by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1894 as a food that he thought would be healthy for the patients of the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan where he was superintendent. The breakfast cereal proved popular among the patients and the Kellogg Company was set up to produce corn flakes for a wider public. A patent for the process was granted in 1896.
With corn flakes becoming popular in the wider community, other people, particularly a previous patient at the sanatorium, C. W. Post, started to make rival products. Various ingredients were added and different grains were used. Dr Kellogg continued to experiment and in 1928 started to manufacture Rice Krispies, another successful breakfast cereal. The trademark rooster that appears on the cereal packets and which first appeared in a television commercial may have been inspired by the Welsh word ceiliog, suggested by Kellogg's Welsh friend Nansi Richards. Nowadays there are many generic brands of corn flakes produced by various manufacturers. As well as being used as a breakfast cereal, the crushed flakes can be substituted for bread crumbs in a recipe and can be incorporated into many cooked dishes.
Corn flakes are a packaged cereal product formed from small toasted flakes of corn, and are usually served cold with milk and sugar. Since their original production, the plain flakes of corn have been flavoured with salt, sugar and malt, and many follow-on products with additional ingredients have been manufactured such as "sugar frosted flakes", "honey nut corn flakes" and others.
The accidental legacy of corn flakes goes back to the late 19th century, when a team of Seventh-day Adventists began to develop new food to adhere to the vegetarian diet recommended by the church. Members of the group experimented with a number of different grains, including wheat, oats, rice, barley, and corn. In 1894, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the superintendent of The Battle Creek Sanitarium in Michigan and an Adventist, used these recipes as part of a strict vegetarian regimen for his patients, which also included no alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine. The diet he imposed consisted entirely of bland foods. A follower of Sylvester Graham, the inventor of graham crackers and graham bread, Kellogg believed that spicy or sweet foods would increase passions.
This idea for corn flakes began by accident when Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, left some cooked wheat to sit while they attended to some pressing matters at the sanitarium. When they returned, they found that the wheat had gone stale, but being on a strict budget, so they decided to continue to process it by forcing it through rollers, hoping to obtain long sheets of the dough. To their surprise, what they found instead were flakes, which they toasted and served to their patients. This event occurred on August 8, 1894, and a patent for "Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same" was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896.
Dr. Kellogg introduced Kellogg Corn Flakes in hopes that it would reduce masturbation. In fact, Kellogg devoted much of his energy to discouraging sexual activity of any kind, and was an especially ardent critic of masturbation, which he believed could cause "cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility" as well as "dimness of vision" and moral corruption. A patent for the product was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896.
The flakes of grain, which the Kelloggs called granose, were a very popular food among the patients. The brothers then experimented with other flakes from other grains. In 1906, Will Keith Kellogg, who served as the business manager of the sanitarium, decided to try to mass-market the new food. At his new company, Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, he added sugar to the flakes to make them more palatable to a mass audience, but this caused a rift between his brother and him. In 1907, his same company ran an ad campaign which offered a free box of cereal to any woman who winked at her grocer.To increase sales, in 1909, he added a special offer, the Funny Jungleland Moving Pictures Booklet, which was made available to anyone who bought two boxes of the cereal. This same premium was offered for 22 years. At the same time, Kellogg also began experimenting with new grain cereals to expand his product line. Rice Krispies, his next great hit, first went on sale in 1928.
There have been many mascots of Kellogg's Cornflakes. The most popular one is a green rooster named Cornelius (Corny) Rooster, which has been the mascot since his debut. In earlier commercials, he had a speaking part and his catch phrase was "Wake up, up, up to Kellogg's Cornflakes!" He was voiced by Dallas McKennon and Andy Devine. Later, he stopped talking and simply crowed. The concept of using a stylized cockerel originated in a suggestion by Kellogg family friend Nansi Richards, a harpist from Wales and a Welsh language proponent. The Welsh word for cockerel is ceiliog (pronounced Keyeleeog or in some dialects keelog).
Cereals derived from corn flakes
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A former patient of the Battle Creek Sanitarium named C. W. Post started a rival company, as well as the major other brand of corn flakes in the United States, called Post Toasties. Australia's Sanitarium also manufactures their own brand of corn flakes called Skippy corn flakes. Many generic brands of corn flakes are produced by various manufacturers. In addition, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons, Asda Co-operative, etc. have brought out similar products based on cornflakes. A variety of corn flakes that is sold in the United Kingdom is one where honey and nuts have been added to the corn flakes – this is known colloquially as "honey nut corn flakes", and as Crunchy Nut under the Kelloggs brand name.
Corn flakes in cooking
A wide variety of different recipes for dishes involving corn flakes exist. Crushed corn flakes can substitute for bread crumbs.
Honey joys are a popular party snack in Australia; honey joys are made by mixing corn flakes with honey, butter and sugar and baking in patty cases, or muffin cups. A variant popular in the UK is chocolate corn flake cakes, made with corn flakes, dark chocolate, golden syrup and butter.
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- "Dr. John Harvey Kellogg". Archived from the original on July 12, 2007.
- John Harvey Kellogg, U.S. Patent no. 558,393, Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same, filed May 31, 1895, issued April 14, 1896.
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- "What do cornflakes and masturbation have in common?...". Daily Mail.
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- Media related to Cornflakes at Wikimedia Commons