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Picturing a World

Puffed rice

In discussing a story line in a juvenile-fiction assignment with a ghostwriter, Mattie suggests including cakes made from puffed rice. Never mind about the ghostwriter’s story or my plot twist. The burning question was, Had puffed rice been invented in 1908? Luckily for me, the answer is yes! It was introduced by Alexander P. Anderson at the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904. It was actually not a commercial hit until 1913, when an ad man came up with the slogan “The cereal shot from guns”; but for a throwaway line in a novel, I’m sticking with the idea that writers and readers would have known about it—at least through my first draft.

For more (with a video), click here.

If anyone can run down the earliest American recipe for a snack cake made with puffed rice, I’d love to hear about it. And if you have thoughts about the balance between picayune accuracy and connecting with a modern audience, please comment.
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