Most of us have heard it—the snap, crackle, and pop conversation around the breakfast table. But, Dear Readers, have you ever heard the story of Mildred (Millie) Day and her association with that same popular Kellogg’s crispy cereal? No? Then, please read further.
It was 1928, the year in which the chatty little cereal characters came into being. Native Iowan Mildred Day, a graduate of Iowa State College (now Iowa State University), had been hired by the Battle Creek, Mich., company, Kellogg’s, around that same timeframe.
Was she hired as a puffy cereal in-house manager? Was she part of the company’s equipment inspection team? No and No.
According to the Dec. 3, 2017, issue of the Des Moines Sunday Register, Ms. Day was “to test recipes in the company’s large kitchens. Later she was sent across the country, via train, to conduct cooking schools for Kellogg’s customers in about 38 states.”
But it was her partnership with coworker, Malitta Jensen, that was soon to propel her creativity into stardom! Their two ingenious minds created the recipe for Rice Krispies Treats. The rest is history!
Dear Readers, who can resist the well-loved flavor and texture of the queendom of cereal treats? Miss NiNi cannot! Oh, my, are they tasty! And so very many versions of the popular treat have sported notoriety as well.
But—back to Mildred.
“About six months after the invention, Kellogg’s received an inquiry from a Camp Fire girls’ organization in the Kansas City area, pleading for ideas for a fundraiser. Kellogg’s decided to test try what it initially called ‘marshmallow squares,’ and put Day on a train for Kansas City.”
She took a few traveling companions as well, Dear Readers—her huge specially made baking trays and a giant mixer.” Now, that’s a lady after Miss NiNi’s own heart!!
Just how did Ms. Day put that culinary equipment to work, you might ask? She “set up a temporary kitchen and proceeded to make batch after batch of the treats, working long days.”
Of course, a fundraiser isn’t a fundraiser without the help of multiple moms. “As soon as a batch was completed, the mothers of the Camp Fire girls would wrap the treats and send them off with the youngsters to sell door to door.”
Mildred’s daughter, Sandra Rippie, had inquired of her mother why the popular cereal treat was never made at home. The Register states that there was a period of time when Mildred’s job caused her to make Rice Krispies Treats from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. for two weeks. Wouldn’t you say that “burnout” would have been an appropriate reply to her daughter?
In recognition of Mildred Day’s achievement, in April 2001 during Iowa State’s Veishea festivities, a giant Rice Krispies Treat was made that weighed 2480 pounds. How many hungry tummies would that have served?
Miss NiNi applauds the inspiring heart and spirit of Mildred Day.
A“Hooray!” in food creativity occurred when the recipe for Rice Krispies Treats received its stamp of approval so many years ago. There is no doubt that the sensational flavor and texture of these treats are etched into taste buds far and wide—including yours and mine!
NOTE TO READERS: Follow Miss NiNi’s Fine Desserts on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. When in central Iowa, enjoy Miss NiNi’s delicious handcrafted, award-winning desserts at Miss NiNi’s Desserterie in West Des Moines/Waukee.
BACKGROUND- Janine Knop, aka Miss NiNi, grew up on the prairies of North Dakota learning to bake alongside her mother. As her passion for baking delicious treats grew, so did her creative flair in the kitchen. She is a graduate of North Dakota State University with a degree in Home Economics Education and a minor in Food and Nutrition. She served as a home economist for an upper Midwest power company promoting the use of electrical kitchen appliances through television, radio, and cooking schools. As an Atlantic-area farm wife and mother, she has honed her baking skills in her own kitchen by creating and testing hundreds of dessert recipes. Janine has been awarded numerous championship ribbons in the food department at the Iowa State Fair, the largest food competition of its kind in the United States. Her passion for dessert baking served as the catalyst which led to the creation of her own nationally known company, Miss NiNi’s Fine Desserts.