CEREALS. Agriculturally speaking, the term "cereals" refers to all species of "grasses" which bear grain, the most important being wheat, corn, rye, oats, rice and barley. The world's huge crop of wheat, for example, comes under this classification. From the standpoint of the grocer and the average consumer though, the term applies specifically to preparations of grains intended for table use—such as oatmeal and the great variety of so-called "breakfast foods." The subsiding of the temporary popularity which a multitude of cereal prepara tions and combinations enjoyed a few years ago, banished into oblivion a long list of "breakfast foods," but a number of those which remained by virtue of proved merit and consistent publicity have grown steadily in public esteem, and the line is well worthy of attention, for it is clean and easy to handle, being practically all package goods, and quite profitable, if the proper kinds are selected.
Package cereals may be divided into three main classes : (1) crushed raw, (2) partly cooked and (3) malted. In the last named, part of the starch is converted into
maltose and dextrin ( forms of sugar—see article on GLUCOSE) by mixing the ground grain and malt and keeping it for a time at the proper temperature, then passing the mixture through hot rollers and drying.
It does not, however, pay to handle this line unless there is a fair margin of profit. Nor should too, many kinds, nor too large quantities be stocked, as if held for a long time weevils are liable to get in and spoil the goods.
The more general use of the double-boiler has improved the preparation of cereals, preventing loss by burning and scorching, but in the average household the raw or semi-cooked varieties are not sufficient ly cooked before serving. Thorough cook ing increases their food value by making them more readily digestible. The "fire less cooker" is the ideal utensil for this purpose.
Cereals should always be kept in a dry, cool place.