Tasteful Inventions: Cheerio Cheerioats

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cheerio Cheerioats

When my sister and I were younger, we use to have Cheerio races. You know those little bowls of O's over flowing with milk. Yes, Cheerios were around when I was a little girl. As a matter of fact, you may not know this but CheeriOats (that's what they were called before the name change in 1945) have been around since May 1, 1941. I bet you're wondering what a Cheerio race is, or not. Well, it has a lot to do with the Cheerio Effect. see resources "An example of the cheerio effect is the phenomenon whereby breakfast cereal tends to clump together or cling to the sides of a bowl of milk." Of course, we didn't know there was actually a name for the races we had. We were just kids trying to pass the breakfast clock away. Not that Cheerios weren't fun to eat anyway; we were kids entertaining ourselves. We would take our places at the table. Me at one end, my sister at the other. Ready, Set, Go! The task at hand was to eat all the Cheerios in the bowl without knocking off the tiny little O's that clung to the side of the bowl. Whoever had the most Cheerios left on the side of the bowl was the WINNER! Hey, it didn't take much to amuse us. We invented a new game and we didn't even know it would someday have an "effect" added to it.

That reminds me. I forgot to reveal the person who invented Cheerios. I suppose with all the aggressive advertising General Mills did, some might think that General Mills (the company) invented Cheerios but, no that's not the case. They were invented by a man named Lester Borchardt. Not only did Minnesota physicist, Lester Borchardt invent Cheerios, he has at least 11 other inventions and patents to his credit. He even helped come up with the process to fortify milk with vitamin D. Thank goodness for that! Mr. Borchardt did indeed work for General Mills. His boss even tried to stop him from working on the machine to puff cereal. I suppose he should have listened but instead, he continued with his project and lo and behold, two months later, Cheerios were "born." (his machine was used to puff Kix too!:) One more "O" of information, it is said, that Lester ate a bowl of Cheerios everyday of his life. Gee, I wonder what his cholesterol number was? It must have been darn good, he lived until he was 99 Oh alright, two more drops of Cheerio trivia. The first Cheerio mascot was Cheeri O'Leary (she was a girl:) and the first CheeriOats' slogan was "The Breakfast Food You’ve Always Wanted!" source

Boy, General Mills must have sure wanted everyone to taste those little circles of "O's." I suppose it was because they believed them to be quite healthy. It seems that General Mills was pretty darn glad Cheerios were the first healthy oat cereal. Cheerios' health appeal stems from its lack of artificial flavoring and coloring, and of course, its low sugar content. Personally, I think the best thing about Cheerios is that you don't need milk to eat them. That's pretty cool because you can take them everywhere with you. I know my 5 year old grand daughter certainly appreciates toting her oats. I made her a Cheerio bracelet that she can nibble on anytime she wants. It's much better than those candy bracelets. You can make it with Honey Nut Cheerios too! General Mills promoted the Cheerio goodness in many ways. Through the years, they used television, radio anything they could do to keep Cheerios in the limelight. Sometimes they changed the cereal box, once they even showed a bowl of the oat cereal topped with strawberries, along with one Cheerio being used to dot the "i" on the cereal box. Heck, they even called on The Lone Ranger, to make sure kids ate Cheerios. Oh my, don't tell me you don't know of the Lone Ranger. The Lone Ranger was a radio program that eventually was brought to TV after it had spent years only being on the radio. I think it was in the early 50's. Still before my time but, we did have reruns you know. Anyway, he was a masked Texas Ranger in the American Old West, who galloped about righting injustices, usually with the aid of his clever American Indian partner named Tonto, and his horse Silver. He would famously say "Hi-yo Silver, away!" to get the horse to gallop. Kids who were "lucky" enough to get their parents to buy boxes of Cheerios were sometimes rewarded by finding lucky prizes in the cereal box. They could discover the Lone Ranger’s silver bullet, or perhaps, his flashlight pistol. I must say, parents didn't always approve of these marketing techniques, actually, they still don't sometimes.

There are some other cool things that can be done with Cheerios besides eating them. You can check out the Cheerios Effect, discover how electrical charges attract and repel, or visit Science Experiments for kids to experience the "Swinging Cereal." The links are listed below. I found this recipe for Cheerio Cookies @ Cooks.com. It sure does sound good. Mr. Breakfast has an interesting Cheerio Muffin recipe that makes 12 muffins. Hmm...they may make a good treat for Mother's Day. I don't know how healthy they are but I'm sure Mom won't mind. Wow! there sure are a lot of recipes that use Cheerios. There's another link below for Cheerio Bars. Have FUN! and Enjoy!

Cheerio Cookies  3/4 c. melted butter 1 1/2 c. sugar 1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla 1/4 c. water 1 1/2 c. flour 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. soda 1 c. oatmeal 1 c. raisins 4 c. Cheerios cereal 6 oz. chocolate bits Mix together in order. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Yield: 4 1/2 dozen.


  • 1. Cheerio Effect @ wiki
  • 2. Scientists explain the ‘Cheerio Effect’ @ The Science of Food Blog
  • 3. Cookies In Heaven (blog) has more info about Lester Borchardt
  • 4. Cheerios Website
  • 5. Breakfast Cereal Character Guide this is where you can see the mascots for many cereals including Cheerios
  • 6. Making Friends with Franklin An Experiment with electrical charges that uses Cheerios @ the Smithsonian Educational Website
  • 7. Science Experiments for Kids
  • 8. Cheerios Fun
  • 9. Cooks.com
  • 10. Cheerio Muffins
  • 11. Cheerio Bars


Cakespy said...

You may not believe this, but I actually lived primarily on cheerios for an entire year of my life--between ages 7 and 8. Really. I didn't trust other foods. So this post was lovely for me! :-)