New Chain of Cereal Cafes Coming to St. Louis

About twenty years ago Wendy’s, the fast-food chain, touted themselves as being “Old Fashioned.” Remember the tables in their dining rooms that were covered with advertising from the 1800’s? A lot of these ads were for patent medicines. There was one advertisement for “Cigars of Joy.” I don’t know what the difference was from regular cigars, but these claimed to “relax you and cure asthma at the same time.” Sarsaparilla was declared to be “The only true blood purifier.” Taking Manyou’s Cure had even more benefits. It not only purified the blood, but also “restored power to those who were weak.” It also cured rheumatism, asthma, nerve problems and “female ailments.” It seemed that cures for “female ailments” were big sellers. Several cures claimed to ease the nervousness, fragility, weak nerves, irritability, fretfulness, ringing in the ears, and sleepless nights that came with it.

Along about this time came a fellow named Sylvester Graham. Graham believed that ill health was due to sexual excesses, so, as part of an anti-sex, pro-health diet; he created a staple ingredient that he called graham flour. He claimed that his flour helped reduce sexual excesses by eliminating erotic thoughts and desires. Along these same lines, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg introduced a health food called granola. Granola was supposed to help protect people from the dangers of masturbation. At the turn of the century, Charles W. Post created a similar version of Kellogg’s cereal called Grape Nuts, which was the first commercially available cold cereal. A few years later John Kellogg’s brother Will ran some stale, ground wheat meal through some rollers and then roasted them. He called the product Granose. In 1902, he replaced the wheat meal with corn and the first box of Corn Flakes rolled off of the assembly line.

Now there is a new chain of cereal cafes that would have made Mr.’s Post and Kellogg proud. Cereality is reflecting the trend that cereal isn’t just for breakfast anymore. At Cereality, cereal is served by pajama-clad “cereologists”; milk is dispensed from a Moo Machine, and cartoons are played on a big screen TV. The more than thirty types of cereal that they serve comes in Chinese take-out-type containers with a choice of some forty different kinds of toppings ranging from bananas and raisons to Pop Rocks and malt balls.

It looks like cereal is becoming a health food again. Just walk down the aisle at any supermarket and you will see claims that cereal does everything from keep you regular to reducing the risk of heart disease. With major yogurt producers claiming that eating yogurt can help burn fat, it is really no surprise that Special K now comes with bits of yogurt in it. It’s also no surprise that someone would come up with the idea for a cereal cafÃ?©, since it is estimated that one in every two people in America has some form of cereal for breakfast. The trend is also toward less sugary cereals and more towards healthier organic products.

Right now there are no Cereality restaurants in the St. Louis area. The closest one is in Chicago, but one is scheduled to open here in a few months. I can hardly wait.

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