Congealed, gelatinous cereal

Our relationship with cooked cereal owes much to Louis J Lee, of Rochester, New York. Thanks to him, we no longer need chew the stuff as much as before. Lee solved a problem he described in 1963 in a patent document:

“[cooked cereals] tend to become pasty on cooking and to lose particle texture and flavour on prolonged heating … In many commercial eating establishments, particularly in cafeterias, it is customary to cook up a large batch of a cooked cereal … After several hours on a steam table it is not unusual for cooked cereal to become a congealed, gelatinous mass. As a result, the batch is unappetising and usually is dumped into a garbage can without further ado.” …

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.