A painting by the American painter Seymour Joseph, depicting a scene before the children of Robert Gordon’s family eat breakfast and go to school. In the painting, we can also see table etiquette as a culture that has been handed down, such as the proper clothes that must be worn before eating, and the elegant speech and manners everywhere.
Like many diners in the Western world, Americans eat cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and various proteins and vegetables for dinner. It seems that there is a pair of invisible hands guiding people what to eat for three meals, where to eat, and when to eat. But according to the research of Abigail Carroll, a food historian and author of “Three Meals: The Invention of American Meals,” the concept of three meals a day and breakfast foods did not appear in the United States until the mid to late 19th century.
Three meals in the United States
When European colonists first came to the Americas, they were shocked by the eating habits of the natives. Not only did the Indians have no idea of eating on time, they sometimes fasted for a long time. This is unheard of by European colonists, but the colonists are also very casual when eating. Meals are usually informal, and the time can be adjusted at any time. Breakfast is not important socially. At that time, tables and chairs for eating were rare, and the only silverware used was a table knife—if silverware could be used. The breakfast meal time is also quite chaotic. Farmers and laborers get up early to eat breakfast because they have to go out to work; the rich have breakfast late because they have to sleep, so breakfast and Chinese meals are more like snacks. Dinner is the main meal of the day, and the family often sits together to eat, but dinner was not a social event at that time. People don’t pay attention to table manners, and don’t emphasize that they must talk. If they do, they are also very casual. Most of them talk about food. In short, the boundaries of what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner were blurred.
What did European colonists eat for breakfast? In the 17th century, breakfast was almost always leftovers from last night, such as cheese and bread, or boiled cereals. Because for most European colonists at that time, eating was not only to enjoy the taste of food, but more importantly, to provide energy for the exhausted body.
Most of the North American colonists in the early 18th century were British. After overcoming the initial hardship, they regained the British cuisine in the kitchen. Therefore, most of the time, there is meat in every meal, usually meat is the only dish, except for potatoes, there are few vegetables. Meat has become the standard and core of breakfast, which shows that American society is becoming increasingly prosperous. Before that, there was no extra meat to eat in breakfast. In short, before the mid-nineteenth century, the breakfast Americans ate looked a lot like dinner or snacks.
One day in the 1820s, a tourist from the United Kingdom had a very rich traditional English breakfast in a pub in Philadelphia: in addition to the standard configurations of tea, coffee, eggs, cold ham, and beef, they also ate To warm fish, sausages, steaks, roasted poultry, oysters and preserved fruits that are stewed after frying.
Compared to the English breakfast, the American breakfast is nothing refined. Charles Dickens described his breakfast in Boston in 1842 as “a broken steak swimming in butter.” American breakfast can be so luxurious because of the productivity of American farms, convenient transportation and other factors, so ordinary Americans can also overeating.
By the end of the 19th century, with the in-depth development of the Industrial Revolution, the “working style” of most Americans had changed, and working hours had changed. People turn from the countryside to the cities, and those who go to work cannot go home halfway through the day. People bring pies and biscuits for lunch, and gradually find that sandwiches are the most suitable food for lunch. The popularity of sandwiches may be precisely because of this. Sandwiches are especially suitable for children’s lunches. They don’t need tableware or cleaning, and can be easily packed in lunch boxes. In this way, lunch became a fast food, and the dinner of the day was postponed from noon to the evening so that people who worked away from home could gather together, and dinner became a family activity. In the home design of the time, the restaurant appeared, and the strict etiquette during the meal also appeared. The restaurant became a carefully arranged place, the food became more abundant, and the dessert appeared, and it became an indispensable part.
In the United States in the 19th century, the emerging middle class began to accept and imitate French food and French diet as a sign of distinguishing itself from the lower class. Things that we take for granted now are all popular at the time, such as drinking soup before eating, such as eating salad, are the concept of French cuisine. Dessert is also a French concept. Many desserts in the United States in the 19th century were French desserts. For the American middle class at the time, eating in the French way was very fashionable.
After the mid-nineteenth century, the number of servants became less and less, and French dinners became unsustainable. Then the Civil War broke out, and then the Great Depression. The real situation requires Americans to be frugal. To eat frugally, you need a small vegetable garden, so eating the food you grow at home became a manifestation of patriotism in the propaganda at the time. Dinner is no longer a French feast, but has become a form similar to the present Thanksgiving feast. Thanksgiving dinner is a model of American dinner. Of course, it is not to eat a whole roast turkey every night, but the ideal life is that every family has “a chicken” in the pot, which later became the Republican Hoover (he once Stayed in China for a long time, and translated his name as Hu Hua) slogan when he was running for the president of the United States in 1928.
The birth of breakfast cereal
American breakfast changes with social changes and population movements. After the industrial revolution, as a large number of rural people flocked to the cities, these people who came to the cities continued to eat a large portion of the peasant breakfast, which was quite high in calories. As a result, sedentary sitting could easily lead to indigestion, which became common. Health problems. Some people began to study this problem and gave a solution. So breakfast cereals began to appear.
Diet reformers such as Sylvester Graham were the first to promote new cereal-based diets. Graham was a priest who lived in Philadelphia in the mid-19th century. He was a vegetarian. In his book “Bread and Bread Making” published in 1837, he advocated making homemade bread. In this book he emphasized hand-made bread. The importance of whole wheat flour, and use it as a way to fight indigestion. Graham’s concept became a sensation, and speculative businesses began to make Graham bread, Graham flour, and Graham biscuits became popular.
Another health reformer, James Jackson, made the first breakfast cereal out of Graham flour in 1863, which he called “Granula” (granules). He mixed Graham flour with water, baked it, mashed it, and baked it to make the world’s first breakfast cereal “Granula”, and then soaked the cereal in water or milk for consumption. A few years later, John Kellogg invented his own cereal version and founded Kellogg’s, a cereal breakfast brand.
Jackson is a missionary, and Kellogg is also a religious person. He is the dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Nursing Home in Michigan. The basic idea of setting up the nursing home is to prevent diseases through a healthy life. A healthy life includes a lot of exercise, a lot of physical work, eating grains and vegetables, not eating animal fat, and prohibiting drinking alcohol and any caffeinated beverages. The nutritionist and surgeon reminded his readers and followers that sex outside of marriage is completely forbidden, and that sex that is not for the purpose of reproductive purposes will corrupt the soul and weaken the power of the spirit. Kellogg’s promotion of oatmeal is to avoid sexual desire by eating light food. For Kellogg and many of his colleagues, breakfast is an ideal place to fight to make society more religious.
The painting “Just Moved” by American painter Henry Mosler reflects the local customs in the United States. Letting go of tedious etiquette and having breakfast freely with the family are the best moments in life.
The initial versions of these cereals are difficult to swallow. It’s not sweet at all, people have to soak Jackson’s “cereal” in milk to eat it, so critics call it “maishi”. But like any food trend, merchants quickly took over the work of ideal purists like John Kellogg. What makes John Kellogg particularly angry is the development of the situation: the two most successful cereal entrepreneurs, one is his brother Will Kellogg, the other is his former patient, who was accused of stealing from the safe. C·W·Post, who left the corn chip formula, benefited from the addition of sugar and advertising to the two key elements of the cereal, Ville Kellogg and C·W·Post both achieved great Business success.
1. American breakfast is heavily influenced by technological development and advertising and marketing. Waffles, bagels, yogurt and cereals have become popular choices. 2. In the 20th century, American breakfast was more convenient. Some iconic foods-hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, etc., were eaten in your hands.
Will Kellogg commercialized his brother’s invention. Despite the commercial success, the brothers kept conflicting. Moreover, the two initiated a long lawsuit. This lawsuit had peaks and troughs, agreements and differences, which lasted for nearly 10 years, until the Michigan Supreme Court made the final judgment. Weir obtained the authorized trademark of the family name, and John’s products can no longer be used. In addition, John has to bear all legal expenses. The two brothers have hardly spoken since.
Kellogg’s corn flakes came on the market in 1906. It can be said that this product set off a breakfast revolution. From then on, breakfast can be simply poured out of the box, even dad can make breakfast.
The most successful food trends often combine science and ethics, and the invention of oatmeal is no exception. Before cereals meant excessive sugar and over-processed foods, Americans had always regarded them as healthy foods. The popularity of breakfast cereals is largely due to the obsession of modern people: the pursuit of nutrition.
In the 19th century, the practice of peddling the idea of healthy breakfast through moral rhetoric changed people’s understanding of breakfast. John Kellogg and his successors launched a “Breakfast Crusade.” This practice of moralizing breakfast is not only in the cloak of religion and health, but also mixed with people’s respect for hard work: breakfast: breakfast The healthier and lighter you are, the more efficient your work will be. Pour milk on cereals, or bake some toast belly in a toaster, without even moving a plate or a knife and fork. Cereal breakfast is to save time at work. This meal does not affect work, and work affects this meal.
Convenient, fast and easy to prepare
The key feature of American breakfast food is “quick and easy to operate”. For modern diners, breakfast is related to alarm clocks, traffic lights and commuter cars. The morning is not a time to enjoy, poets and chroniclers usually don’t put imagination on breakfast, the reason is that it is connected with efficiency. Many breakfast foods, from ancient cold bread and leftovers from last night to modern American “Pop-Tart” (Kellogg’s toast biscuits with jam) and frozen bagels, take a short time to prepare breakfast .
Daily breakfast is often just a task that needs to be completed quickly, and then it is forgotten. Pancakes, omelettes, and even relatively hearty bacon are hot dishes that can be made quickly on the stove. The same goes for pancakes. Paleontologists speculate that humans began to eat simple pancakes more than 5,000 years ago.
Breakfast food is economical and practical, and almost all breakfasts all over the world have such characteristics. In addition to pancakes and bread, simple porridge made of starch is also the most common breakfast food, such as rice porridge in most parts of East Asia, tapioca or polenta in parts of Africa, and buckwheat porridge that originated in Eastern Europe. Even breakfast foods with American characteristics, such as oatmeal, instant oatmeal and corn flakes, are in full compliance with this tradition.
However, the history of the development of American breakfast is the history of people’s understanding of orange juice and milk. In the early 20th century, people discovered vitamins. In 1918, the inventor of vitamin A and American diet scientist Irma McCollum stated that people who drink milk are taller and live longer. This statement affected the society’s perception of milk. The output of dairy products in the United States increased by one-third in the following 10 years, and milk was gradually shaped as a “perfect food.”
Drinking yogurt for breakfast, this happens late. It was almost in the 1980s that low-fat yogurt entered the market, which coincided with the low-fat diet craze. This is the first time that yogurt has been welcomed by the public. The astronomical growth of Greek yogurt is even more recent. Greek yogurt began to become popular in the United States around 2007. At that time, Greek yogurt accounted for 1% of the US yogurt market, and by 2015 it had exceeded 50%. Like traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt is processed from milk, but the whey is removed, and the consistency is between yogurt and cheese, a bit like old Beijing yogurt. In addition to the difference in taste, it has more protein and less carbohydrates than traditional yogurt, so it is very popular with health-conscious people.
Some iconic foods of American breakfast-hot dogs and hamburgers, are eaten in the hand. They are novelties related to entertainment, food that can be bought at the market and eaten at the stadium. American iconic foods are fast food and hand-held patterns. These American foods show the pace of life and free nature of Americans. Americans use this kind of food to show that they are not bound by British Victorian etiquette, do not have to choose the right fork and knife, and do not have to prepare a napkin to sit on. There is a sense of independence and childhood memories in American food. At the same time, it values the informality, freedom and fun associated with independence.
Advertising and technological innovation change breakfast
However, in the United States, the breakfast table should be rich or temperate. This battle, like many problems in life, must be left to marketing to solve. Businesses and advertising companies have found that it is not difficult to get consumers to eat what they recommend.
Out of health and convenience considerations, more and more urban residents no longer eat farm breakfasts, so the sales of bacon plummeted. In the 1920s, a meat processing company specializing in selling bacon and other pork products approached Edward Berners, an advertising genius who would later be known as the “father of public relations.”
Berners’ public relations policy seems almost weird by today’s standards: he wrote to 5,000 doctors, and received affirmative answers from 4,500 doctors: A good breakfast should of course include bacon. This is the beginning of Americans. The best way to this day. Berners then publicized the news in the media, and as a result, Bacon’s sales soared.
Breakfast cereal brands also cleverly use marketing strategies: to make parents think that breakfast cereals are healthy. So they preach that breakfast cereals can fortify the daily vitamins and minerals, and then grab the hearts of children, such as putting small toys in the packaging, or adding sugar and artificial coloring to the food to make the food look pleasing. To some extent, marketing determines the American table.
After the discovery of vitamins, a food revolution was set off. In the 1940s, the slogan of breakfast cereals advertised that breakfast cereals were a source of vitamins needed for the day-which made breakfast even more important. It was also during World War II, and most women began to enter the workplace. For this reason, they needed some convenient but nutritious food to serve as breakfast for their children. In order to attract children, the oatmeal company has created many well-known cartoon mascots. For example, classic images such as Tony Tiger and Crunch were spread from that era. This also makes us have to remain vigilant, because breakfast is really the most influenced meal of the day by marketers.
After entering the industrial age, what determines breakfast is not only advertising, but also technology. Simple appliances such as waffle pans, coffee machines and blenders, refrigerators, etc. have changed breakfast to make waffles, bagels, orange juice, etc. ordinary People can also enjoy it quickly. Bagels, the iconic food for American breakfast, arrived in the United States with hundreds of Jewish bakers who were part of the large-scale influx of Jewish immigrants into the United States between 1881 and 1914. At first, this modern breakfast staple was only available in the Jewish community. By 1900, there were about 70 bagel bakeries near the Lower East Side of Manhattan alone. In 1958, the technology of making bagels at home appeared. Since then, bagels have completely entered mainstream American life.
Technological innovation and mass production have combined to develop a dazzling series of breakfast options, such as toasters and finished breads, which allow you to make a breakfast in 5 seconds. People’s demand for the convenience of breakfast is almost pathological. Using flour to make pancakes is already a very simple breakfast, but nowadays there are frozen boxed products, which saves much effort than using flour.
Everyone likes to go out for breakfast
The way to make breakfast easier is to have someone prepare it for you. In the United States in the 20th century, fast-food restaurants eagerly incorporated traditional breakfast elements into a hearty plate and packaged it into a breakfast that people would eat alone on the way to work. McDonald’s breakfast sandwich-Egg McMuffin (Egg McMuffin) contains eggs, ham, cheese and English muffins. It is not only breakfast, but also a multi-billion dollar innovation in large-scale production and packaging.
The lifestyle of eating out has allowed breakfast to reach the highest peak of overeating that farm breakfast can express. A popular cheap breakfast “Grand Slam” sold by the famous chain restaurant Denny’s in the United States contains pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausages. These things were eaten at grandma’s table before.
The way to make breakfast easier is to have someone prepare it for you. American millennials prefer to eat out.
American millennials (born in 1982-2000) are more reluctant to cook for themselves than ever before. They already think that the production of breakfast cereal is too troublesome. Therefore, in recent years, the restaurant industry has paid more and more attention to breakfast, and has even become Its main source of income. Relevant data shows that the sales of lunch and dinner have been in the plateau for many years, but the sales of breakfast are still rising steadily, and even the sales of breakfast foods are surpassing lunch and dinner. Fast food restaurants like McDonald’s have been offering 24 hours a day since around 2015. For breakfast, breakfasts such as wheat points, bacon, sausage rolls and crepes are available all day. Taco Bell (a Mexican-style fast food restaurant) under Yum Group has already started similar marketing, with the slogan “Get rid of the boring breakfast time limit.”
The so-called “traditional breakfast” in the United States is mostly a new product of the modern world. Maybe the morning haze makes breakfast the most susceptible meal to trends. Do you want to have a cup of açaí (a puree made of acai berries and other fruits)? Well, of course; but also the least susceptible, “I don’t know what you just said, I just want to eat bacon and eggs.”
Breakfast seems to be constantly changing. It seems that everything about the existing breakfast is difficult to continue into the future, and it is difficult to predict what kind of “traditional” breakfast will appear in the future. For example, young people in the United States have abandoned breakfast cereals. For them, coffee has gradually changed from a necessity to a flashy sweet.
However, our main needs for breakfast—convenience, economy, and nutrition—will continue to struggle with our over-indulgent nature. 20 years later, when you button up your shirt and rush out the door, you may wish to have time to prepare a hearty, old-fashioned, nutritious breakfast…