A History of the Humble Granola
If there is one food item that has a interesting, but suprisingly longer history than you may think, it would be granola. The dictionary defines “granola” as “a mixture typically of rolled oats and various added ingredients (such as brown sugar, raisins, coconut, and nuts) that is eaten especially for breakfast or as a snack.”
Granola was first marketed, not surprisingly, as a health food. Cold cereal was new on the market and seen as a good vegetarian breakfast alternative. In 1863, a doctor named James Jackson was the first to invent what we would call modern day granola. His granola was graham flour baked and then crumbled into milk. It was called Jackson’s granula.
Later, in 1899, John Harvey Kellogg made a new mixture of oatmeal, wheat flour and cornmeal. When Jackson sued Kellogg over using the same name for his product, Kellogg changed the spelling to what we have today – granola. The turn of the century saw a boom in the cereal industry and Kellogg was soon selling four tons of his granola a month!
Granola fell off the map somewhat after its first big heyday at the turn of the century until the 1960s rolled around. Eating healthy became synonymous with living an alternative lifestyle and granola became a hippie staple. The first mass-produced granola came out in 1972.
Now days, there is a granola out there to fit any palate! From a convenient box on the grocery store shelf to making your own which allows you to use whatever grains, nuts, dried fruit, seeds and spices you want. What’s your favorite granola or granola recipe?