A coworker recently brought to my attention the demise of a product that I thankfully never experienced while it was still on the market: Postum, a "powdered roasted grain beverage" that was sold as a coffee substitute.
According to Wikipedia:
"The caffeine-free beverage mix was created by [Kraft] company founder C.W. Post in 1895 and produced and marketed by Postum Cereal Company as a healthy alternative to coffee. Post was a student of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg who believed caffeine to be unhealthy. Postum was made from wheat bran, wheat molasses and maltodextrin from corn."
It's that ingredient list that almost makes me sad that I missed it. Unfortunately, I have had more than one horrible experience staying with friends or family and waking up in the morning to discover that I was in a house of non-coffee drinkers. In the worst cases, I was not even near a Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts. Inevitably, someone would dig out a dusty jar of Nescafe from the cupboard and in desperation I accepted the cup and tried to convince myself that it is at least better than Maxwell House. Maybe I would have been better off if I carried a jar of Postum with me.
But the best part of Postum by far was it's one-time advertising featuring "Mr. Coffee Nerves," a superhero who helps save the world from the horrors of caffeine. In one series of strips, he helps a mother track down her boy who has run away from home because she has become a "caffeine susceptible" and is "nervous" and "irritable."
Now that Postum is gone, I'm wondering if Mr. Coffee Nerves needs a job. Maybe instead of caffeine, he can help save humanity from the horrors of pre-ground canned coffee. More thoughts on that horror of the food industry in my next post.