September 14, 2005

American Cereal Company

An early advertising cookbook for Quaker Oats was Cereal Foods and How to Cook Them, edited by Sarah Tyson Rorer. The recipe booklet was first published in the early 1890's by the American Cereal Company, forerunner to the Quaker Oats Company. There were 500,000 copies of the first edition. One million copies each of the second, third and fourth editions were printed.

In 1894, an edition with a premium offer for a set of 12 trade cards was distributed at the Pan American Exposition held in Chicago.

The fifth edition of this booklet, revised and enlarged, was published in 1899. It claimed to be the only complete book on the subject of cereal cookery, and instructed housewives on how to cook a variety of cereal and grain products besides oatmeal.

This booklet was promoting many other of the American Cereal products: oats, corn meal, hominy, farina, barley, parched farinose and rye. Some of the other brands besides Quaker were FS (Schumacher's), Pettijohn's, and Hower's.

The booklet contains recipes for breads, biscuits, buns, rolls, breakfast cakes, porridge, mush, crackers, cakes, crullers, doughnuts, croquettes, custards, fritters, gems, griddle cakes, gruel, and infant food. This is the place to look if you need to know how to prepare Barley Water, Samp or Sweet Rusk. There are also several pages of kitchen advice.

Two pages inside show illustrations of come of their brightly colored product packages. The American Cereal Company was a pioneer in early food product packaging. Their 2-lb boxes showed the product brand name, sometimes had recipes, and extolled the virtues of the product.


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