That echoed a sentiment I'd heard from other Swiss people. Eberhard Wolff, a cultural historian at the University of Zurich with whom I'd had lunch a few days earlier, described muesli to me as nothing less than "the essence of Swissness": uncomplicated, salubrious, rustic yet sophisticated. That essence has acquired a 21st-century aura at the Zurich Development Center, the corporate conference facility and retreat that has taken over the grounds of Bircher-Benner's former clinic, parts of which the center has preserved for posterity. I visited the place on a rainy morning and was shown around by a slim woman in a gray pantsuit named Ursula Muri. Ushering me in by way of whisper-quiet automatic sliding doors, she showed me Bircher-Benner's old library as well as a "wellness center" (a gym), lush gardens, and a two-lane bowling alley. She invited me to the restaurant, where true Bircher-style muesli, made with condensed milk and grated apples, is served every morning. I sat down with a bowl of the cereal, clean tasting and bursting with the flavor of tart apples, and wondered whether Americans, too, might eventually come to think of muesli not as a health food but simply as good eating.