Friday, October 21, 2005

Have you had your Wheaties today?

The other morning, after eating my bowl of Wheaties, I sighed a satisfied sigh and told my hubby, "I love cereal!" I mean, I really, really love cold cereal. The best is when the milk is ice cold, right out of the refrigerator. And you have to eat really fast, of course, before it gets all soggy. Soggy cereal is just nasty.

Cold cereal is my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, and it always has been. My mom never did the whole eggs, pancakes, and sausage bit while I was growing up. I imagine it was bad enough trying to get Dad and all seven kids out the door to school on time to bother with cooking. I've adopted her habits, and I don't feel one twinge of guilt for it. I have noticed, however, that my preferences have changed over the years.

Growing up, we rarely, if ever, got sugar cereal. Mom bought the standards: Cheerios, Wheaties, Corn Flakes, and Shredded Wheat (a.k.a. "shredded hay bales"). We would often get Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, or Kix as well. I became quite fond of all of them. Kix were cool because you could bite the top off the bigger ones and float them like boats in your milk. (Kix tasted way better back then, before they changed the formula to make them taste sweeter. Now they taste gross. Even my kids won't eat them.) Occasionally, Mom would splurge with something like Honey Nut Cheerios. That box never lasted long. Honey Nut Cheerios called for multiple helpings. The unfortunate result of this feasting was my just-older-brother's inevitable case of gas. He would get pretty rank after Mom bought Honey Nut Cheerios. (And you don't ever want to put him together with almonds for a long car trip. Food for thought, Lesleigh.)

Then there was Christmas: the only time we got "real" sugar cereal. The tradition in our family is that Mom & Dad buy those little tiny boxes of cereal (the ones that come in a variety pack) and put one in each of our stockings along with a banana. That was breakfast for Christmas morning. We looked forward to it all year long. ("It" the cereal, not "it" the banana.) Christmas morning was the only time during the year when we got to experience what Fruit Loops or Lucky Charms tasted like. Golden Grahams were like manna from heaven. And you were really lucky if you got the Cocoa Pebbles because they turned the milk to chocolate milk. How cool is that to eat cereal with chocolate milk?

Cheerios hold a very special place in my heart, and not just because I love the taste. The morning I got married, I chose Cheerios for breakfast. I still remember feeling like I had a slightly upset stomach because I was worried that Phil wouldn't show up, and I thought my nervous tummy could handle a milder cereal. So there you have it: my last meal as a single person came from that famous yellow box with the glue-for-milk splashes coming out of the bowl of cereal and the artistically placed red strawberry nestled in among the Cheerios.

After Phil and I were married, I reveled in the freedom to choose whatever cereal I wanted. While I would occasionally buy the non-sugared standby's, we ate a lot of the cereals my mom never bought. My "personal favorites" list used to include things like Honey Nut Chex, Waffle Crisp, Honeycomb, Corn Pops, Golden Grahams, Honey Nut Cheerios, Honey Bunches of Oats, and Blueberry Morning. I figured I'd be eating like that the rest of my life.

Not so, Grasshopper. While my kids still get cereal we never, ever got when I was little, I find that my cereal eating habits are shifting. What is it with aging that makes our tastes change? Where I once enjoyed variety I now seem to eat the same thing every morning for months. And my choices have changed too. No more Sugar Coated Chocolate Sugar Bombs for this girl! We're talkin' F-I-B-E-R. For a while, I ate Cracklin' Oat Bran every morning. Lot's of complex carbs in that bowl, I'm telling you. Then I went to Wheaties and alternated between the two for a while. Next I flirted with Frosted Mini-Wheats (or Frosted Mini Hay Bales, as Phil so loves to call them). The Vanilla Creme variety is especially tasty. Now? Back to Wheaties.

I must admit that I have broken my eating streak with a rare bowl of plain Cheerios here and there, and I have been known to indulge myself lately with a bowl of Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp (food for the gods, I tell you), but for the most part, I have deserted my sugared cereal friends. "But," you say, "What about the Frosted Mini-Wheats and Cracklin' Oat Bran? They have lots of sugar in them!" Yes, they do. But have you looked at how many grams of fiber you get with one bowl? We're talkin' major roughage. Way more than Cheerios. I think that pretty much cancels out the sugar.

I wonder, as I look at my past days of breakfast cereal choices, what the future holds? Will I stay with the more healthful choices of my youth or will I return to the glory days of high sugar content? Only time will tell, my friend...only time will tell.


compulsive writer said...

I love Wheaties too! But I do indulge my kids with the occasional box of Fruit Loops or Apple Jacks--clever marketers subliminally convinced me they are somehow "healthier." HA!

I'm not keen on flavors that just aren't "natural" to include with cereal (sorry--I'd have to pass on your Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp). I have always told my kids I would die before purchasing Cocoa Puffs. Imagine my dismay when I agreed to do the shopping for the scout long-term and I found Cocoa Puffs on the list. I maintained my integrity by promising they were going to camp and would not grace our family breakfast table.

For my own guilty pleasure, I grab a box of Lucky Charms. I am serious about Lucky Charms. You eat all the "healthy" brown stuff first so your last few mouthfuls are all about the marshmellows. I once wrote a customer suggestion note to Macey's accusing them of being unpatriotic because they failed to put the Lucky Charms on sale (they were $5/box regular price) for St. Patrick's Day. You just watch next March to see if they remember that crazy lady who went on about the Lucky Charms...

Julie said...

OK--I'll pass on the Lucky Charms, so I guess we're even (as if anyone is keeping score). I have to share your loathing of Cocoa Puffs. They are gross. I still kind of like Cocoa Pebbles, but they taste too sweet to me now. At least they're not Cocoa Puffs.

I've always thought that Froot Loops (and whoever came up with that dorky spelling ought to be shot) smell and taste way better when they're dry than they do in milk. I still buy them once and a while for my kids, but their main staples for breakfast are Waffle Crisp and Marshmallow Mateys. I guess they'd vote with you on the Lucky Charms.

So what about the rest of you? What are your favorite cereals/breakfast foods?

Kactiguy said...

I'm glad Mini Wheats is on the list. I'm a bales kind of Guy. Of course there is Honey Bunches. My tastes have changed with age too. Capn' Crunch is now called Shredded Roof O Mouth. Arrgggh.

Julie said...

Honey Bunches? You EAT Lorien for breakfast? That's just plain oversharing, Guy.

I've always thought that Cap'n Crunch left a pasty film in your mouth. Maybe it's just because I've only ever eaten the Malt O' Meal version.

Lorien said...

Honey Bunches OF OATS, thank you very much. I'm not sure if that film Capn Crunch leaves is sugar, grease, or just the sensation caused by shredded mouthparts--and it's not just the malt-o-meal brand, either. I've been pleased to find that the Malt-o-meal version of Mini Wheats (Frosted Mini-Spooners) are just as good as the real thing. And I agree that Froot Loops are better dry. I admit I always sneak a few rings when my kids make that fancy neckalace in nursery.

We always got a box for Christmas, too. But it was a full-sized box for each of us. Mine was always Honeycomb. Mmmmmm. My kids are spoiled. Honeycomb is always on the shopping list, and they'd be, like, "What the? How lame." if they got a box of cereal for Christmas. What a disservice I've done to them.

Very fine blogging, ma'am.

Julie said...

Thanks, Lorien. You're a mighty fine blogger yourself. I have to say I found it highly ironic that you were teaching in RS on work for the dead yesterday--a week before Halloween.

I must admit that some of the novelty of the cereal boxes for Christmas was the small size. My kids still think the little boxes are pretty cool. So do I, if truth be told.

I'm a Honeycomb fan, but I had to grown into it. I like only the regular Honeycomb, though. That Strawberry Blasted stuff is gross. Smells good, tastes nasty.

Lorien said...

heh. Yeah, Janet mentioned the Halloween/dead irony before the lesson, but I'm goofy enough as it is at the front of a lesson, so I thought I'd better not mention it. I figure I offend enough of the old sis' without bringing my somewhat questionable sense of humor into it.

becks said...

good ol' crazy relief society.

Lorien said...

Oh ya, beks! I'm shakin it up. Wish you could be there.

compulsive writer said...

OK, I am full of inappropriate comments to segue you right to my latest post after the last couple of comments here, but I am really trying hard to behave myself here. Aren't you proud? I missed Janet's quip Sunday--being late returning from my nursery duty--but I am nonetheless amused. You did a great job Lorien, and this old sis doesn't find you the least bit offensive.

PS I really would love to have a Guy Francis original to feature with my blog comments. I will try to grow an interesting feature or two that Guy could lampoon.

Lorien said...

really hairy eyebrows, weird hair and crooked noses often do it. I think the glasses and eyebrow are what got me my portrait. And in the full portrait, I'm holding a scalpel and poor dismayed froggie. Frogs always help.

becks said...

Julie, I think you need to write a new blog. And don't say you don't have anything to write about. you have kids so there's always some random funny thing you can write. Plus, I like reading your blog because your funny.

~j. said...

Kix hurt the roof of my mouth.
Same with Froot Loops/Apple Jacks. Does that happen to anyone else??