It’s easy to take Shredded Wheat for granted without reflecting on what a bizarre substance it is. Very much a product of 19th. century food technology, it seems to be formed from multiple extrusions of wheat paste filaments stacked up and modelled into pillow shaped structures and baked to a brittle finish.
This small book, The Vital Question, was published by The Cereal Machine Co., Worcester, Mass. in 1899 and contains 148 pages of recipes devised by Mrs. Harriett Higbee, every one of which depends on the inclusion of Shredded Wheat. It comes complete with a passionate testimonial from its inventor, Henry D Perky,
“From the most abject physical wreck I have succeeded, by the use of naturally organized food, in reorganizing my body into perfectly healthy conditions.”
The miraculous powers of Shredded Wheat that achieved this transformation are now available to all in combination with an extraordinary variety of foodstuffs including oysters, goose and woodcock. There exists no meal or dish that cannot be enhanced by the judicious addition of Shredded Wheat. Members of the Tatnuck Farmer’s Club were given the opportunity to discover this for themselves on January 20th. 1899 when they sat down to a dinner of:
Celery Soup with Shredded Wheat Croutons
Fricassée of Chicken on Shredded Wheat Toast
Creamed Spinach on Shredded Wheat Toast
Jellied Apple Sandwich. Cheese with Shredded Wheat Toast.
Wheat Shred Drink. Fruit. Nuts.