One of America’s Favorites – Cream of Wheat

July 28, 2014 at 7:20 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Cream of Wheat Logo

Cream of Wheat Logo

 

Cream of Wheat is a brand of farina, a type of breakfast porridge mix made from wheat semolina. It looks similar to grits, but is smoother in texture since it is made with ground wheat kernels instead of ground corn. It was first manufactured in the United States in 1893 by wheat millers in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The product made its debut at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. Until January 2007, it was a Nabisco brand made by Kraft Foods. The brand and rights to market the cereal was acquired by B&G Foods.

In addition to its wheat-based products, the rice-based Cream of Rice is also produced as part of the product line, and is often a recommended early food for infants and toddlers and for people who can’t have wheat or gluten.

 
Cream of Wheat is made by boiling water, then pouring in the farina while stirring. As it is stirred, the farina starts to thicken, creating a mixture that thickens depending on the ratio of liquid to farina. Some choose to use milk instead of, or in addition to, water in order to give the food a creamier taste. Currently there are three available original mixes: 10-minute, 2 ½-minute, and 1-minute. Cream of Wheat is also sold in single-serving instant packets. These are prepared by mixing with hot water and allowing to set in a bowl (about two minutes).

It is common to customize the hot cereal with the addition of sugar, fruit, or nuts. As a result, several flavors are sold of the instant variety: Original, Apples ‘N’ Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Strawberries ‘N’ Cream, and Cinnamon Swirl.

In October 2012, Cream of Wheat added a new chocolate flavor to their instant line.

Their most recent addition to the varieties of instant Cream of Wheat Cereals is Bananas & Cream.

 
The original boxes of Cream of Wheat were handmade and lettered, and emblazoned with the image of an African-American chef produced by Emery Mapes. The character was named Rastus, and was developed by artist Edward V. Brewer. Rastus was included on all boxes and advertisements and continues to be used today with only very slight changes. A stereotypical African-American icon was fairly common for U.S. commercial brands at the time of the cereal’s creation; for other examples, see Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben. It has long been thought that a chef named Frank L. White was the model for the chef shown on the Cream of Wheat box. White, who died in 1938 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Leslie, Michigan, had claimed to be the model for the Cream of Wheat box. In June 2007, a headstone was erected for Mr. White. The headstone contains his name and an etching taken from the man depicted on the Cream of Wheat box.

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