Boom! You’ve Got Cereal!

Boom! You’ve Got Cereal!
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What’s your favorite puffed cereal? Ever wonder how it was made? You probably wouldn’t guess that for decades it was made by loading it into a huge metal cannon and subjecting it to heat and pressure until it was suddenly released with a thunderous BOOM! However, that’s pretty much exactly the way it was done. Newer methods work on a more continuous process, not requiring the batch and explode system seen in the video above, but what fun is that?

The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) obtained this 3,200 lbs monster of a food processor, and have been experimenting with puffing various types of grains. Puffing cereal is kind of like popping corn. Except that many grains don’t have the hard shells of corn kernels. This is where puffing guns come in. Inside one of these messy mortars, grains are heated and pressurized within a chamber that does the same thing as a kernel shell… holds everything in until it is suddenly released. This results in the yummy exploded puffs that we are all familiar with.


According to MOFAD’s website, they aspire “to become the global leader for food education: visitors will learn about the culture, history, science, production, and commerce of food and drink through exhibits and programs that emphasize sensory engagement.” I guess if you are trying to draw attention to how food is produced, bringing a giant puffing cannon to World Maker Faire in New York is a good way to go. They’ll be firing the puffing gun several times an hour, so I’m sure they will be hard to miss!

First test of BOOM! by the staff at MOFAD. Cereal everywhere.
First test of BOOM! by the staff at MOFAD. Cereal everywhere.

You can learn more about the MOFAD and BOOM! at their website.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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