breakfast cereal

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breakfast cereal,

a food made from graingrain,
in agriculture, term referring to the caryopsis, or dry fruit, of a cereal grass. The term is also applied to the seedlike fruits of buckwheat and of certain other plants and is used collectively for any plant that bears such fruits.
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, commonly eaten in the morning. The oldest type of cereal, known as porridge or gruel, requires cooking in water or milk. The modern breakfast cereals, however, are entirely precooked and eaten in cold milk. The first precooked cereal was probably invented in 1863 by James Jackson. He broke up hardened loaves of unleavened whole grain bread into little pieces and served it for breakfast after soaking the brittle chunks overnight in milk. Jackson named this mixture granula. In 1877, Dr. John Harvey KelloggKellogg, John Harvey,
1852–1943, American physician, health-food advocate, and breakfast cereal developer, b. Tyrone, N.Y., grad. New York Univ. (M.D., 1875) and continued his medical studies in Europe.
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 created a similar cereal called granola, but not until his invention of corn flakes in 1902 did cereal become a commercial success. At first, most cereals were marketed as pure, whole-grain foods. Eventually, however, competition resulted in the addition of sugar and other food additivesfood additives,
substances added to foods by manufacturers to prevent spoilage or to enhance appearance, taste, texture, or nutritive value. By quantity, the most common food additives are flavorings, which include spices, vinegar, synthetic flavors, and, in the greatest
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 and in marketing campaigns directed at children, such as the inclusion of a premium or toy in the box. In the 1970s, as cereals came under attack for their lack of nutritive value, many manufacturers began adding nutrients. Unlike most other grain products, breakfast cereals have shown a steady increase in per capita consumption in the United States throughout the 20th cent. Apart from breadsbread,
food made from grains that have been ground into flour or meal, moistened and kneaded into a dough, and then baked. Many types of bread are leavened, usually with yeast, which induces fermentation and causes the breads to rise.
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, cereal is the most common form in which Americans consume grain.