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Puffed Grain

Dr. Alexander P. Anderson

Puffed grain is the result of a process developed by Dr. Alexander P. Anderson. He figured this out in 1895 in a lab inGermany. It is my understanding that this was discovered by accident, when there was an explosion one night. He was granted a patent for the process in 1902, and was backed by the Quaker Oat Company. With the help of the governor of Ohio and an US Army auxiliary officer they decided to use cannons from the Spanish Civil War as a marketing idea. "The Grain that is shot out of Cannons", was introduced at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 as puffed rice. The "hot dog" was invented at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, as well as French's mustard (to popularize the hot dog). Let's not forget that the ice cream cone was also invent then when a ice cream vendor ran out of paper cups and asked a nearby waffle booth to make some thin waffles he could roll up to hold the ice cream.

Nowadays, puffing gains is a common thing in the breakfast industry, and the three grains that are used are rice, wheat and corn. If you go down the cereal aisle in your grocery store you can find these puffed grains in Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Kix, Rice Krispies (called Rice Bubbles in Australia) and Trix etc.

The Quaker Oats Yukon Land Giveaway:

I don't think that you can discuss puffed grains without including the Quaker Oats Yukon land giveaway of 1955.

I myself am not old enough to remember this personally, but the story is interesting, so I decided to include it on the page.

This information on the land giveaway was written in an email by Bert Rush (brush@firstam.com) on June 10, 2002. Credit  must be given to him and in-house counsel Richard Hanesiak (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) for doing a wonderful job of researching this saga.

It started in October 1954, with Quaker Oats marketing execs looking for a gimmick to promote their "Puffed Rice" and "Puffed Wheat" cereal products.  At the time, Quaker Oats sponsored a radio show for the younger set, "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon," that was scheduled to move to television in the fall of 1955.  So they wanted an ad campaign to feature Sergeant Preston and hype the new TV series.

Their idea man was Bruce Baker, a Chicago advertising exec, who - one sleepless night--hit on the idea of giving away square-inch lots of land in "Sergeant Preston's Yukon," by putting deeds in specially-marked boxes of Quaker Oats cereals.

But the cereal maker's Chicago headquarters (and especially their attorneys) hated the idea. They pointed out that, even in the hinterlands of western Canada, the only way to create legal lots would be to prepare a survey map, which (if it included separate lot numbers) would probably be larger than the land itself.  Worse, the deeds would have to be registered in the local Torrens system--requiring payment of prohibitive fees.

Undaunted, Baker and two other men (one of them a Quaker Oats ad executive) chartered a plane and flew to the Yukon.

Landing in Whitehorse , the three Americans introduced themselves to local attorney George Van Roggen.  Van Roggen listened, and found himself "entertained" by the ad men's antics.  But for Van Roggen, the question was whether, in Canada , one could give away deeds that wouldn't or couldn't be individually registered in the land records system.  He gave the opinion that "you could, that they'd be legal."

Buoyed by this advice, Baker quickly got approval from Quaker Oats to go ahead.  In the meantime, Van Roggen found 19.11 acres of government land, located seven miles up the Yukon River from Dawson, that could be purchased for $1,000.

On October 7, the three Americans were driven to Dawson, where they met up with Constable Paul LeCocq--a real, live Royal Canadian Mountie, who had a dog named "Yukon King" (as did the fictional Sergeant Preston).  Matter of fact, fan mail received locally for "Sergeant Preston" was delivered to LeCocq.

Constable LeCocq took the three Americans, in their Brooks Brothers suits, in an open skiff up the Yukon River to the 19 acre parcel.  One of the Americans, John Baker (who was a lawyer, and the brother of ad man Bruce Baker) recalled that the weather was frigid, "several degrees below zero," and the river was "a forbidding sight with ice cakes zooming by."  Here's how John described the 19 acres in his journal:  "Fairly level with a beach of stones about 100 feet wide; quite thick with jackpine and spruce, poplar and birch."

When the party returned to Dawson they were tired, cold and wet.  Bruce Baker's feet were badly frostbitten.  Quaker Oats bought the land.

Later, John Baker and George Van Roggen drew up the deed language.  The Grantor would be a specially-formed corporation to be called "Klondike Big Inch Land Co., Inc."  The Grantee would be...(fill in your name).  The legal description would refer to a "Tract Number," more particularly described in "that certain subdivision plan...deposited in the registered office of the Grantor in the Yukon Territory."  The deeds excluded mineral rights (which had been reserved in the original grant from the Crown), and provided for a perpetual easement over each square-inch lot for the benefit of surrounding lot owners.

So there was no survey map.  Instead, the deeds were numbered consecutively following a master plan that made its "point of beginning" the northwest corner of the 19 acres.  If you wanted to find a certain lot number, theoretically you would start at the northwest corner, go X number of inches east, then go X number of inches south, and there it would be.  Theoretically.

Twenty-one million deeds were printed, and the ad campaign was launched on the Sergeant Preston radio show on January 27, 1955.  Ads ("You'll actually own one square inch of Yukon land in the famous gold country!") appeared in 93 newspapers.

The campaign was a sensational success.  The specially-marked ("Get Free Gold Rush Land Today!") boxes of Quaker Oats cereal fairly flew off of grocers' shelves.  Before long, they were all gone.  Lots of kids, myself included, were "too late."

Meanwhile, letters poured in to Quaker Oats offices.  New landowners wanted to know where their land was located, how much it was worth, and "is there gold there?"  One kid sent in four toothpicks and some string, requesting his inch be fenced.

In Buffalo, NY, newspapers carried a story about a man being tried for murdering his wife with an ice pick.  On the third day of trial, the defense attorney made a motion to be removed from the case.  Turned out the attorney had been promised to be paid with "land in the Yukon," only to learn this "land" consisted of his client's collection of 1,000 "Big Inch" deeds.

Unfortunately, no one paid taxes on the 19 acres, and in 1965 it was sold by the Canadian government for an arrearage of $37.20.  According to an August 2000 article in the Whitehorse Star newspaper, "a Quaker Oats spokesman in Chicago claims the company never received a tax bill."  Maybe "Yukon King" ate it.
Meanwhile, the "Klondike Big Inch Land Co." was quietly dissolved in 1966.

To this day, inquiries still come to Quaker Oats (now a division of Pepsico), and the Canadian government, about "Big Inch" deeds.  According to Steven Horn, Chief Legislative Counsel for the Department of Justice in the Yukon, inquiries typically come from lawyers representing estates with assets including one or more of the deeds, and they always get the same answer:  The deeds are and always were "unregisterable."

A cruel hoax?  Consumer fraud??

Consider this:  A "Big Inch" deed now fetches up to $40 on the collectible market, and they are suitable for framing.

So what is needed to pop these grains?

Moisture and starch in the kernel and a shell to contain pressure. Rice is missing the moisture, but you can get enough moisture in the kernel of rice by using an oven or by oil popping it (Rice Krispies are oven-popped).

Gun puffing is another way to pop these grains. This is done by conditioning the grain to the moisture then it is pressurize. You can then instantly release the pressure. This process makes the rice spongy-not crispy. This is not something for home-do-it-yourselfers. You need to dry the rice with air that is around 600 degrees Celsius and then shoot steam at rice (steam gun), which can have pressure up to 15.1 kg/cm2. The grain is then shot out of the gun and caught in a metal hopper.

Oven puffing is done in a rotary cooker with sugar, malt syrup and salt added to the mix.

You can also puff dough by creating tiny dough balls and putting them in a hot-air popper. If the dough is heated fast enough the dough will puff.

According to Dr. Anderson, "All you need is a glass some heat and the explosion will happen".

It seems as though corn has been around forever. They have found fossiled corn pollen (80,000 years old), in excavations under Mexico City. Kernels 4,000 years old have been discovered in Bat Cave, NM. "Their usefulness was only discovered when kernels were accidentally exposed to the heat of glowing coals exploded to become tender, tasty morsels with the nutritional value of whole grain bread", according to Paul Mangelsdorf (Harvard popcorn researcher).

Popcorn was a gift to the English colonists at the first Thanksgiving feast by an Iroquois Indian. In 1893, popcorn was introduced at the Chicago World's Fair (a combination of popcorn, peanuts, and molasses called Cracker Jack).

Corn contains the 3 things needed to pop this grain and it can be popped in a popper or the microwave. The percentage of moisture in the corn kernel must be just right or it will not pop. Basically, what happens is that inside the hard shell gets high enough it explodes. The interesting thing about popping corn is the white stuff that forms during the process. The starch granules expand (not explode) into jelly-like bubbles (as do the adjacent bubbles) and then they fuse together making a 3-dimensional network similar to soap bubbles. I think that I should see whether or not if when the popcorn expands into its 3-dimensional form is fused at a 120 degree angle as soap bubbles are.

In India this is how they make puffed rice: They take paddy (Rice with husks), will soak them in hot water for a day. This paddy is then dried under hot Sun for at least a day. The process of soaking and drying is required because these rice paddies don't have any moisture content in them like corn does.

This dried paddy then is roasted in special big sand filled ovens, under huge controlled fire. In this frying process the rice pops out of husk, and they use special big sieves to separate the popped rice and sand. After this, they use special fans to separate husk and puffed rice.

Rice is prepared in a variety of ways:
Puffed Rice:

It is eaten as a breakfast cereal as either a plain or flavored product. It can be glazed with sugar or chocolate. In India, puffed rice is mixed with a natural sweetener called jaggery and made into nice round balls, or in small chocolate-like cubes.

Puffed rice or other grains are occasionally found as street food in China and Korea, where peddlers implement the puffing process using an integrated pushcart/puffer featuring a rotating steel pressure chamber heated over an open flame. The great booming sound produced by the release of pressure serves as advertising to attract customers.

Rice Cakes:
The same process is used for making rice cakes. These are usually made from brown rice, which is sometimes mixed with wild rice, corn, or sesame seed.

Glutinous and Non-Glutinous Japanese Rice Crackers:
They are made from both glutinous and non-glutinous rice varieties. Some crackers are open-textured and melt quickly on the tongue. Others have a rougher surface, and are harder to bite. The rice is dried, glazed with a mixture of sugar, soy sauce and other seasonings, and then it is baked. After baking, the crackers are wrapped in nori leaves (a type of seaweed). These leaves provide a strong sea flavor. Spicy hot crackers are also available.

In Japan and many of other places, you can buy individually shrink-wrapped rice cakes that can be seasoned, fried and broiled.

Risotto is a popular and versatile Italian rice dish. Traditionally, the base of this is Arborio rice. The dish is cooked slowly in hot broth, while the grains of rice are constantly stirred to release their creamy starch.

Rice Cereals and Flakes:
Ready-to-eat cereals are an American mainstay at breakfast. Rice flakes or granules can also be used for making sweet soups, hot cereals, or puddings. Rice can also be used for making cookies.

I'm sure everyone has had some kind of snack using Rices Krispies, but here are some that interested me.

Apple Crispies
Nonstick vegetable spray
6 cups peeled, thinly sliced apples
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 cups Rice Krispies
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick vegetable spray.

Spread the apples evenly in the prepared pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Using a wooden spoon, stir the cereal into the butter mixture. Sprinkle the cereal topping over the apples. Bake for 20 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned. Remove pan from the oven. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Caramel Krispie Bars
3/4 cup butter or margarine, divided
8 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
8 cups Rice Krispies, divided
14 ounces caramels
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine and 4 cups marshmallows. Add 4 cups Rice Krispies. Pat into buttered 9 x 13-inch pan.

Melt caramels, 1/4 cup butter or margarine and sweetened condensed milk together. Pour over Rice Krispies in pan.

Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter or margarine and remaining 4 cups marshmallows. Add remaining 4 cups Rice Krispies. Pat onto top of caramel layer.

Keep refrigerated.

Caramel Popcorn Balls
2 quarts popped popcorn
3 cups crisp rice cereal
42 caramels
3 tablespoons water
1 cup salted peanuts
1/8 teaspoons salt

Combine popcorn and cereal in a large bowl; set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over low heat or in a microwave-safe dish, heat caramels and water until the caramels are melted. Stir in peanuts and salt; mix well. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat. With buttered hands, shape into 3-inch balls. Reshape if necessary when partially cooled.

Yields 10 popcorn balls.

Chocolate Frosted Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Bars
3 cups Rice Krispies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Grease a 9 x 12-inch baking pan. Pour Rice Krispies into pan. Set aside.

Bring sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar and butter to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract. Pour mixture over the Rice Krispies quickly and stir to mix, patting down evenly.

Frosting: In a small saucepan over low heat, melt semisweet chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. (If desired, skip the butterscotch chips and use 1 1/2 cups melted chocolate chips instead.) Spread melted chips evenly over the top of Rice Krispies bars. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Makes about 48 bars.

Crispy Marshmallow Eggs
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 (10 ounce) package marshmallows or 1 (10 1/2 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
Food coloring, optional
6 cups toasted rice cereal
Nonstick cooking spray
Colored sprinkles, optional
Colored plastic wrap
Empty egg carton

Melt butter or margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows; stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. For colored eggs, add food coloring to desired shade.

Immediately add cereal; mix lightly until well coated.

Spray hands with nonstick cooking spray. Working quickly, shape into 18 "eggs." Roll "eggs" in sprinkles if desired. Cool completely.

Place each "egg" on a 12-inch sheet of plastic wrap. Gather plastic wrap at top, twist to seal and tie with ribbon.

Decorate empty egg carton as desired and fill with wrapped "eggs."

Makes 1 1/2 dozen eggs.

Microwave: Heat margarine or butter in large microwaveable bowl at HIGH (100% power) for 45 seconds or until melted. Add marshmallows; toss to coat. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and mixture is smooth, stirring after 45 seconds. Continue as above.

Fudge Krispies
2 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Combine chocolate, butter or margarine and corn syrup in medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and sugar. Add Rice Krispies; mix lightly until coated. Spread evenly in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Chill until firm.

Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 48 squares.

Yum Balls
1 cup (2 sticks) margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 small boxes dates, cut up
1 cup coconut
4 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup nuts

Cook sugar and margarine until melted. Add coconut and dates and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Add nuts and Rice Krispies. Roll into small balls. Roll balls in confectioners' sugar.

Amaranthus Grain:
The cultivation of Amaranthus dates aboutt 5500 years ago based on the discovery of Amaranthus seeds in the caves of Tehuacan Puebla in Mexico. It was at that time period that horticulture began to be developed and mastered.

The height of cultivating Amaranthus was during the Aztec Empire.  Amaranthus was used in the preparation of many dishes: " huauquiltamalli ", a tamale made out of puffed Amaranthus seeds then ground into a flour, " cauhquilmolli, a delicious sauce prepared with the leaves of the Amaranthus, " tzaollaxcalli ", tortillas made from the puffed seeds of Amaranthus and mixed with a syrup made from the sap of a cactus. There were even drinks that were sold made from the ground or puffed grains of Amaranthus.

Amaranthuswas considered a  very sacred plant. During certain religious festivals, little figurines fashioned from Amaranthus dough were offered up to the Pantheon of the Aztec Gods and were sometimes consumed as part of religious ritual recalling the Catholic rite of the Eucharist.

If one looks into the writings of Catholic priests of the epoch you will learn of their horror of the Aztec rituals - believing they were eating the flesh and bones of the gods. In 1525, the Catholic church threw itself into a campaign to destroy the ancient pre-Colombian religious practices, and six years later a bishop brimming over with zeal claimed to have destroyed 20 000 idols and 500 places of worship. Those who continued to practice the Aztec religion were either whipped, or forced into labor in the monasteries or they were executed. When certain gardeners defied the interdiction upon growing Amaranthus in their gardens they were punished by having their hands removed. The Indian population estimated in 1519 to number 11 million was by 1540 reduced to 6.5 million, victim of brutal exploitation and European disease.

Four centuries later, the Amaranthus has completely disappeared from the Mexican diet except for certain confectionery made from the seeds of Amaranthus mixed with molasses - called "Alegria".

The Inca civilzation didn't value Amarantus as much as the Aztec did. Maize, which was the food of ritual and the Quinoa, was the basic food source.

On the high plateau, the Quecha peasants generally grow the Amaranthus together with other plants such as maize and Quinoa. Their companion cultivation protected the plants against all manner of imbalances and predators.

The Quecha families prepared Amaranthus,exactly as the Aztec peoples and their descendants did, with puffed grains mixed with molasses, which they called "turrones". The villagers sometimes eat the puffed grains directly and they are considered to be a tonic beneficial to the old. For breakfast they prepare flour from this puffed grain, which they call "mas'ka". They also prepared from the fermented seeds a beer drunk at festivals called  "chicha".

In Peru, in the region of Huancavalica, the peasants use the stem of the Amaranthus for its high calcium content. They burn the stems and mix the cinders with water in order to soak the maize to make dough for the "tamales".

The Mayas, Aztecs and peoples of North America had discovered that  maize reacted chemically with the calcium in the cinders and released certain amino acids. The calcium freed the niacin, which previously was chemically bound in, thus permitting its assimilation by the human body.

In the region of Cuzco, the flowers of airampo (Amaranthus hybridus) are used in an infusion to treat toothache and fevers. During certain festivals, the red flowers of the Amaranthus are used by the Quechua women to color their skin and to color the "chicha" beer. This use of the dye is also practiced by the Hopi Indians in the southwest of North America. The Hopis use a variety of Amaranthus, which is known as Hopi Red Dye to dye bread called "piki".

In India, Nepal and Mongolia you will find Amaranthus grown as a crop. While in Latin America and in Central America  Amaranthus will be only found historically, the people had considered it a gift of God: the Hindus named it "rajgira", the grain of kings and "ramdana", the grain sent by the gods..

Amaranthus is so deeply implanted in Himalayas that ethno botanists can not determine when it was introduced there. In certain mountainous areas of North-west India the Amaranthus spreads over half the land. Himalayans pop the seeds that are mixed with honey to make pastries called " laddoos " exactly as did the Mayas and Aztec.

The puffing of the seeds preserves the total integrity of the embryo in the seeds. However, when the grain is prepared without popping the seed, it will have a bitter taste.

Throught out history Amaranthus has been considered both as a sacred and as a medicinal plant. It    was considered a cure for diarrhea, dysentery and for hemorrhages, both internal and external.

The Amaranthus is to be found in numerous legends and in numerous rituals in the cultures of India, China and Japan.

IIn Greek mythology, the Amaranthus (from the Greek Amaranthos, "flower which does not wither"), is the symbol of immortality. Warriors would were a garland on their heads, which they thought would make them invisible.

It is even to be found in the "Guirlande de Julie" where its beauty is praised in a short madrigal:
"I am the flower of love, named Amaranthus ;
Which comes to worship Julie's beautiful eyes.
Roses, draw back, I have the name of immortality ;
I, alone, may crown the gods ".


Grain Amaranths History and Nutrition  from The Kokopelli Seed Foundation

Breathing their lives into puffed rice by G G Nagaraj (Translated by Vijayalakshmi KPN)

Popcorn by Lynn Sibley - Copyright 1984, American Chemical Society

Rice: Chemistry and Technology, edited by Bienvenido O. Juliano

The "Big Inch"/Yukon Land/Sergeant Preston by Bert Rush

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia