Thanks Switzerland!Posted: July 10, 2012
We can thank the turn of the twentieth century for a myriad of things that have changed our lives forever. Lets put on our steam punk appropriate eye goggles and take a quick look at what our lives were like just 112 years ago.
Why just look at all these notable achievements! Both the zeppelin and the escalator were invented. Freud published his work on the interpretation of dreams. Henri Matisse brought Fauvism to the table! And perhaps most significant, muesli was invented.
Yes, I consider muesli to be one of the best contributions to our lives surfacing in 1900. More important than Max Planck formulating Quantum Theory or the assassination of the King of Italy. You would too if you knew how lazily easy proper nutrition from Switzerland could be.
If you live in the United States, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen cereals claiming to be muesli at some point. (Or worse, the polar opposite Kellogg’s version called “Mueslix“.) Look at the boxes. Overjoyed active Europeans line the fronts as well as tasty vortexes of fruits and alpine homes. Muesli packaging looks virtuous. Muesli packaging reaffirms that everyone overseas must be a perfect size two and never eat anything that they haven’t grown on their own ecologically minded rooftop garden. Museli makes us feel as if we should know that this cereal is superior to all other cereals on the shelf. Double that sentiment if we went to private college.
Well, ha ha on you. Muesli is nothing more than a delicious blend of uncooked oats, perhaps some nuts and seeds and maybe some dried fruit. That’s it. No enthusiastic jogging Europeans or staggering student debt involved.
The original muesli was popularized by Swiss physician Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner in 1900. Dr. Bircher-Benner, along with a host of doctors over here at the time, was an advocate of extremely healthy vegetarian diets and vigorous exercise. Over the years on numerous hikes in the Alps that Dr. Bircher-Benner took, he was impressed at the robust disposition of the Swiss shepherds who thrived on a simple and healthy lifestyle played in part by their eating habits. On one of these hikes Dr. (and Mrs.) Bircher-Benner were served a shepherd’s breakfast of muesli. They both enjoyed it and noted that the people in the region were alive and kicking longer than their city counterparts, so the smart doctor started advocating that his patients eat it as well.
Dr. Bircher-Benner was also an early raw food enthusiast and advocate of exercise, but his most notable contribution to medicine was his ridiculously simple cereal. Today many different versions exist, ranging from the simple version that the doctor ate to cornflakey types to the elaborately delectable, sugar-laden Shocko Muesli.
However if you’re curious (or devoid of fiber in your diet), the original muesli is easy to make from ingredients that you already probably have on hand in your own kitchen. why not try it and feel superior to your Count Chocula eating counterparts throughout history?
The Originally Easy Birchermuesli
-1 Tablespoon rolled oats
-2 or 3 Tablespoons water
-1 Tablespoon cream
-1 Tablespoon lemon juice
-1 medium granny smith apple
-1 Tablespoon chopped almonds or hazelnuts (optional)
1. If using rolled oats, soak the oats in water at least a few minutes. Historically, as oats were completely raw, the mixture would need to soak overnight.
2. Grate the apple using a box grater.
3. Toss the apple with the lemon juice*.
4. Combine the soaked oats with the grated apple and mix well. Pour the cream and nuts over, also mix well.
5. Eat promptly.
*Please note, don’t be lazy and just throw it all in a bowl with this step. The cream may curdle otherwise.