Cream of Wheat
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (June 2020)
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Grand Forks, North Dakota|
|Main ingredients||Farina, water or milk|
Cream of Wheat is an American brand of farina, a type of breakfast porridge mix made from wheat semolina. It looks similar to grits, but is smoother in texture since it is made with ground wheat kernels instead of ground corn. It was first manufactured in the United States in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The product made its debut at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Before January 2007, Cream of Wheat was a Nabisco brand made by Kraft Foods. In January 2007, B&G Foods acquired the brand and all rights to market the cereal. "Cream of Wheat" is a registered trademark.
The rice-based Cream of Rice also forms part of the product line, and is often a recommended early food for infants and toddlers and for people who cannot tolerate wheat or gluten, such as persons with celiac disease.
After the Panic of 1893, the Diamond Milling Company in Grand Forks was faced with low prices and reduced demand for flour. The head miller proposed that the company package a breakfast porridge that his wife would make from the portion of the wheat not used in making flour. The company sent samples of the hand-packaged product with its regular orders of flour, and soon received a telegram that said "Never mind shipping us anymore of your flour, but send us a carload of Cream of Wheat."
Diamond Milling directed its factory to begin manufacturing only Cream of Wheat. As demand increased, the company moved to a new factory in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1897, and changed its name to Cream of Wheat Company.
Cream of Wheat is prepared from the box by boiling water or milk, then pouring in the farina while stirring. As it is stirred, the farina starts to thicken. The use of milk instead of (or in addition to) water gives the dish a creamier taste.
In the United States market, there are three unflavored mixes available (10-minute, 2+1⁄2-minute and 1-minute). In the Canadian market, there are two unflavored mixes available (8-minute and 3-minute).
Cream of Wheat is also sold in an instant format which includes the use of single-serving packets. These are prepared by simply mixing their contents with hot water and allowing the result to set in a bowl for approximately two minutes.
It is common to customize the hot cereal with the addition of sugar, fruit, or nuts. As a result, several flavors are sold of the instant variety: Original, Apples 'N' Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Strawberries 'N' Cream, and Cinnamon Swirl. In October 2012, Cream of Wheat added a new chocolate flavor to their instant line. Their most recent addition to the varieties of instant Cream of Wheat Cereals is Bananas & Cream.
Package design and controversy
The original boxes of Cream of Wheat were handmade and lettered, and were emblazoned with the image of an African American chef produced by Emery Mapes. The character was named Rastus and was developed by artist Edward V. Brewer. Rastus was included on all boxes and advertisements. It has long been thought that a chef named Frank L. White was the model for the chef shown on the Cream of Wheat box—a claim White himself made. White's headstone contains his name and an etching taken from the man depicted on the Cream of Wheat box.
Leading up to 2020, there had been public pressure aimed at various companies to change branding with perceived racist origins, such as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's. The character of Rastus had once been depicted as a cook who was barely literate and did not know about vitamins. Rastus is also a derogatory term traditionally associated with African Americans in the United States. For these reasons, B&G Foods had been under public pressure for years to make changes.
Public demands to remove symbols of racism increased during the 2020 protests around racism. In response, on June 17, 2020, B&G Foods announced that it was “initiating an immediate review of the Cream of Wheat brand packaging.” On September 25, 2020, the company announced that the chef's image would be removed from all Cream of Wheat packaging.
Famous illustrators such as N.C. Wyeth, J.C. Leyendecker, and Henry Hutt all created ads for the Cream of Wheat brand.
- History of Cream of Wheat
- Schroeder, Eric (23 January 2007). "B&G Foods enters agreement to acquire Cream of Wheat from Kraft". Food Business News. Archived from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
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- Andes, Karrie K.; Norman, Sandra J. (1998). Vintage Cookbooks and Advertising Leaflets. Schiffer Publishing. p. 30. ISBN 0764306219.
- "Too Much Cream of Wheat? » Mike Industries". Mike Industries.
- "Products | Cream of Wheat®". www.creamofwheat.ca.
- "Products". www.creamofwheat.com.
- "Chocolate Flavored Cream of Wheat Instant Cereal". Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
- "Bananas & Cream". www.creamofwheat.com.
- Grace, Francie (2007-06-15). "Final Tribute For Cream Of Wheat Man - Gravestone Monument In Leslie, Michigan, 69 Years After His Death". CBS News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2007-07-03. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Cramer, Maria (June 17, 2020). "After Aunt Jemima, Reviews Underway for Uncle Ben, Mrs. Butterworth and Cream of Wheat" – via NYTimes.com.
- McEvoy, Jemima. "Cream Of Wheat Becomes Fourth Brand In 24 Hours To Revisit Packaging Over Racist Origins". Forbes.
- Poinski, Megan (2020-09-25). "Cream of Wheat chef will be removed from packaging, B&G says". Food Dive. Retrieved 2020-09-27.
- "About Us". www.creamofwheat.com.