Cereal — it's not just for breakfast anymore
Whether doused with milk to break one's overnight fast, eaten dry out of the box as a quick snack, or deliciously blended with ingredients like melted butter and marshmallows to make an after school treat, cereal is a staple of many Americans' diets.
And so, of course, it deserves a day of its own, and that day is today.
March 7 is National Cereal Day.
If you're in the Big Apple, you can score yourself a freebie.
According to the National Cereal Day website, cereal came about as a way to counteract a poor, Civil War era American diet, which was largely meat-based.
Cereal at the time was made of dense bran, and so hard it had to be soaked overnight in order to be digestible. And it was far from the many sweet, fruity options available today.
John and Will Kellogg are credited with creating granola and a process allowing wheat to flake, making cereal suddenly easier to swallow and veering toward delicious.
And, of course, the Kellog Company is celebrating.
We're hours away from National Cereal Day and the fun is just beginning! Cereal-loving star @HaileeSteinfeld joins us at @KelloggsNYC for a crunchtastic celebration TONIGHT! #NationalCerealDay pic.twitter.com/oF2IRFmT7F— Kellogg Company (@KelloggCompany) March 7, 2018
By 1897, Charles William Post was marketing what is now known as Grape-nuts and his own brand of corn flakes otherwise known as Post Toasties.
Grape-Nuts is a breakfast cereal developed in 1897 by C. W. Post, a former patient and later competitor of the 19th-century breakfast food innovator, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg pic.twitter.com/pYS9KAQVUQ— Brakkett (@TheRealBrakkett) December 14, 2017
Soon enough, though, savvy marketers sense there is a demographic not yet spooning up enough cereal. By 1939, cartoon characters, mascots and sugar, sometimes lots of sugar, begin making their way into cereal advertising and production.
Remember digging deep for that prize buried in the bottom of the box, or carefully cutting out a piece of the cardboard back without tearing the wax paper inside and sending away for a surprise gift?
You still can.
Post Cereal Nintendo Switch Instant Win GamePrizes: 500 Nintendo Switch ConsolesEnter DailyEnds 03/31/2018... https://t.co/D0uNBjLtBE— Freebie Ninja (@FreebieNinjas) March 6, 2018
But they're typically marketed to kids.
Cap'n Crunch and Tony the Tiger are among the longtime mascots still tempting us to grab a box of cereal from our grocers' shelves.
Frosted Flakes pic.twitter.com/JSTod41wya— Brent Hodges (@GPrime421) March 7, 2018
Picking a favorite cereal can be a challenge. Who says you have to choose?
Hey! It's #NationalCerealDay ! I know people are passionate about their cereal (cough @Marshall9News cough) so what's your fav? I'm a fan of Captain Crunch & Lucky Charms...& Honey Bunches, Honey Nut Cherries, Smacks and Golden Grahams. (Ok I went a little overboard) #9news pic.twitter.com/pgR9P3JcLt— Corey Rose (@CoreyRoseTV) March 7, 2018
According to the Department of Defense, different military branches view cereal consumption in different ways.
Keystoners, apparently our favorite is Post Oreo O's. Agree?
Some of us like cereal so much it makes us break into our happy dance.
Slurp, crunch, toss it into yogurt or blend it into a milkshake — yes, that's a thing.
Enjoy your Smacks, Pops and Flakes however you choose, and let no one judge.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MaryPickels.