April 25, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

One of the sponsors of some old radio programs I have been listening to on CDs was the General Mills cereal Wheaties. The breakfast cereal first appeared in the 1920’s and has a surprisingly long association with sports and sports figures.

I had never given much thought to the name “Wheaties,” but, listening to the old commercials, it suddenly seemed odd and dated. The name, of course, is derived from the name of its main ingredient, wheat. According to Wikipedia, the name was the winner of an employee contest to rename what was originally called Washburn's Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes.

Clearly, “Wheaties” was an improvement, and it has become part of the linguistic landscape to which people seldom give a second thought. On the other hand, would you be inclined to try cereals called Cornies, or Oaties, or Ricies?

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