SELECTION AND CARE OF CEREALS
While to most persons the word cereal suggests the idea of a breakfast food, because cereals are used most often for that purpose, they find their place in other meals than breakfast.
Although they are used less often on the dinner table than elsewhere, they frequently have an important place there, for a number of them are commonly used as dinner dishes and others might be used more frequently, and to advantage, too. In this connection, they are used in soups, and in certain forms, usually the whole or slightly crushed grain, they take the place of a vegetable.
Some of them, particularly rice, are often used with meat or cheese in making an entree or in combination with eggs, milk, fruit, or various flavorings as a dessert to be served with a heavy or a light meal. Cold cooked cereal is often sliced and sautéd and then served with meat or some other heavy protein dish.
Cereals are also used for lunch or supper, perhaps more often than for dinner, and because of their easy digestion they are to be recommended for the evening meal for all members of the family, but especially for children. When used in this way, they may be served with cream, as for breakfast, or prepared in any other suitable way.
Whenever cereals are served, whether alone or in combination with other foods, the result is an economical dish and usually a easily digested one, unless, of course, the food with which they are combined is expensive or indigestible. But, to whatever use cereals are put, unless they are thoroughly cooked they are not easily digested and they lose much of their value. In fact, the ready-to-eat cereals, which have been thoroughly cooked, are preferable to those which are poorly cooked in the home.
SELECTION AND CARE OF CEREALS
Preparation of Grains for the Market.
So that the housewife may go about the selection of cereals in an intelligent manner, it may be well for her to know how they are prepared for market. After the grains are harvested, the first step in their preparation consists in thrashing, which removes the husks from the outside. In some countries, thrashing is done entirely by hand, but usually it is accomplished by machinery of a simple or a more elaborate kind. Occasionally no further treatment is applied, the whole grains being used as food, but generally they receive further preparation.
Sometimes they are crushed coarsely with or without the bran covering, and in this form they are known as grits. At other times they are ground finer and called meal, and still finer and called flour, being used mostly in these two forms for the making of various kinds of breads. Then, again, grains are rolled and crushed, as, for example, cracked wheat and rolled oats.
Various elaborate means have been devised by which cereals are prepared in unusual ways for the purpose of varying the diet. Sometimes they are used alone, but often certain other materials are used in their preparation for the market. For example, the popular flake cereals, such as corn flakes, are cooked with salt and sometimes with sugar and then rolled thin. Some of the cereals are thoroughly cooked, while others are malted and toasted, but the treatment to which they are subjected is generally given to them to improve their flavor and to aid in the work of digestion.