Grape-Nuts Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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Grape-Nuts are neither a cautionary example of the side effects of GM food, nor an unfortunate-sounding testicular affliction, but are in fact a breakfast cereal.

Even though Grape-Nuts cardboard packaging containers are among the smallest used by any of the major breakfast cereal companies, there is still room to emblazon their origins proudly on the rear of each packet. This information draws attention to the fact that Americans have been thrilled to eat a breakfast cereal resembling gravel in milk for over a century. Indeed, it was 1897, in the town of Battle Creek, Michigan, USA, when Charles W Post had the bright idea of baking a wheat and barley loaf in a gas-fired oven, then, using a coffee-bean grinder, to break the resulting brick into small granules. Post used the word 'Grape' because the granules contained maltose, which he called 'grape sugar', and 'Nuts' because of the flavour.

A Versatile Foodstuff

Along with Weetabix and other arcane examples, Grape-Nuts are one of the most versatile of cereals. They can be served with cold or warm milk, baked into bars or made into the (in)famous chocolate cornflake cupcakes, they can be consumed with fruit, yoghurt or honey, and they can even be eaten dry as 'nibbles' by the more masochistic, or stoic, types.

Grape-Nuts enjoy what amounts, almost, to the cereal equivalent of cult status. Despite their relatively limited availability outside the United States, people residing in diverse countries still manage to track them down, or get US-based friends/family to send them a regular supply. Why this is so is a bit of a mystery as Grape-Nuts have little apparent merit apart from vitamin fortification, fibre in spades and a density that makes a half-plate seem like a banquet. Over 100 years on, they still retain a curiously affectionate status with devotees. Possibly because, much like Shredded Wheat, people believe that because they are such a chore to eat, they must be aiding one's digestive processes. In short, 'they've gotta be good for you'.

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