Juicy Meat Loaf With Grape-Nuts

And an advertisement that tells you to get a dictionary.

Grape-Nuts debuted in 1897; here’s an advertisement from the October 5, 1898 edition of the Fort Wayne Sentinel:


A New and Highly Nutritious Food.

The odd sounding name is used to designate a peculiar food, made not exactly in the shape of nuts, but having a pleasant, nutty flavor and crisp brittleness that makes them a charming favorite with the palate.

Of yet more value than the taste is the food value of Grape-Nuts. They are largely composed of Grape-Sugar, (your dictionary can tell you about that) and those who use them will find the morning meal has not only been pleasant, but has been quickly and easily digested; for grape sugar is an article produced in the human body at one stage of the digestion of food, and is at once ready for transformation into good healthy blood and nourishment.

It should not be understand that the Grape Sugar, of which Grape-Nuts is made, has been produced in the human body. But this Grape-Sugar is made by much the same process as the natural body employs, and is produced by natural treatment of grains without any foreign substance whatever. It is made by the Postum Co., at Battle Creek, Mich.

The result is perhaps the most highly nutritious food ever produced.

Grocers sell Grape-Nuts.

Fine, I’ll look up grape sugar, then. From the 1903 edition of Chambers’s Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language:

Grape sugar: dextrose;

Do you realize how much less advertising space it takes to say “dextrose” then to tell me to go get a dictionary?! Whatever, moving on.

Dextrose is one of two isomers of glucose. Isomers are substances with the same chemical composition but different chemical structures. The easiest way to envision isomers is to look at a box of Legos. The box usually has instructions to make something–let’s say it’s a fire truck. If you use all of the pieces in the box to build a robot instead, the robot and the fire truck are isomers.

There are only two isomers of glucose: d-glucose (which is dextrose) and l-glucose, which isn’t biologically active. (That is to say, nothing interesting happens when you eat it.)

So all of that said, let’s look back at the claims in the 1898 ad and see how far from reality this marketing message was.

  1. They [Grape-Nuts] are largely composed of grape sugar. Grape-nuts are made of refined wheat and barley (though, since 2005, that composition has changed somewhat)–that is, starch. In the post for Mochi, we learned that starch is made of tangled chains of glucose molecules. I suppose, then, that much like a loaf of bread or any other starch-based product, there is indeed a large amount of grape sugar in Grape-Nuts.

  2. Grape sugar is an article produced in the human body at one stage of the digestion of food. I suppose that’s true, for loose definitions of the word “produced.” The starches would be broken down into their constituent sugars, providing the basic form of energy for most life on Earth.

  3. …and is at once ready for transformation into good healthy blood… Hrm. Well, are you the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man?

    “Hello, Liberty Medical? I have a complaint about your talking meter. Every time I test my blood sugar, it just screams in agony.”

    If not, I have substantial doubts that your blood is made of corn syrup. Unless it means something more metaphysical, but saying starch is transformed into blood is like saying sunlight is transformed into plastic. If you follow the chain of events long enough, you’ll find what you’re looking for, but it’s not exactly a natural evolution.

From the box of F.J. from Sun City, Arizona. Some cards suggest a family history in Missouri and Kansas.

Juicy Meat Loaf

1/2 cup Post Grape-Nuts Cereal
1 cup milk
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup grated onion
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine cereal, milk, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Add ground beef, onion, eggs, oregano, and salt. Mix well. Spoon meat mixture into greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 deg. for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Invert meat loaf onto warm serving platter. Heat remaining 3/4 cup tomato sauce and spoon over meat loaf. Makes 8 Servings.

One Comment

  1. Paul S.

    Post Grape-Nuts Meatloaf recipe from the side of a Post Grape-Nuts Cereal box purchased in Glendale, California in the early 1970’s.
    Recipe called for Grape-Nuts soaked in mixture of milk and egg, mixed into a mixture of chopped meat, chopped onion and raisons, slathered with a ton of catsup and baked in the oven until cooked and delicious.
    Has anyone seen this particular recipe? Would love to get the exact recipe as I have been approximating ratios for years and still getting what I call Killer Meatloaf.

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