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Hot cereals..Malt-o-Meal, Cream of Wheat, Oatmeal

Breakfast

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#1 Jaymes

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 12:17 PM

I remember many cold mornings of my youth. The only schoolday breakfast variable was exactly which hot cereal we'd get.

There was oatmeal, and farina, and Malt-O-Meal, and Cream of Wheat....

And along with it, how much of the 'good stuff' -- butter, sugar (or its variations of syrup, honey, brown sugar, etc.) we could either wheedle out of Mom, or add when she wasn't looking.

I'd push the hot cereal up into a big ball in my bowl. And then dig a hole in the middle for the butter and sugar. The cold milk was poured around like a moat. It looked like a mini-science-project-volcano, with a sugar and butter center. I'd eat around the volcano, making occasional forays into the sweet spot, until finally the whole thing collapsed.

Sound familiar?

Anyone else out there remember hot cereals as part of their mornings?

Are they still popular, or have they gone the way of dial telephones and other quaint notions?

Which hot cereals did your mother force you to eat?

:raz:

Edited by Jaymes, 03 January 2005 - 12:22 PM.


#2 cakewench

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 12:34 PM

mmm Cream of Wheat. :wub:

I have NO idea why I liked it so much. We would also have oatmeal, which was fine. Cream of Wheat had the horrible little puzzles on the instant baggies, though. :raz:

(if we had oatmeal, yes, it was the real thing. Cream of Wheat was always in baggies, though... I think I bought it a few years ago, for old times sake, and the puzzles were gone. sniff.)

#3 Jensen

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 12:39 PM

We had porridge (oatmeal), which I tolerated, and Cream of Wheat, which I detested. Then, the only toppings were brown sugar and milk.

These days, I eat a bowl of porridge for breakfast almost every morning. We're a three-porridge household with me eating Irish steel-cut oats, the Spouse eating rolled oats, and the Spawn eating the little flavoured packets.

I no longer eat it with brown sugar and milk though as I've found I prefer the steel-cut oats lightly salted and without any milk. If I do want milk with it, I'll have a glass on the side.

#4 jgarner53

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 12:46 PM

We didn't do Malt-o-Meal in my house, but there was Cream of Wheat (loved it, though haven't made it in a few years) and oatmeal (basic Quaker rolled oats). For some reason, I didn't like brown sugar on my COW, but did on my oatmeal.

Now I prefer steel cut oats with brown sugar and dried cranberries. I tend to make it the day before and eat it for several days.
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#5 andiesenji

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:10 PM

When I was little we were given porridge made with steel-cut oats or cracked wheat and corn mush or grits, all home grown and home ground.
With our bowl of porridge we got a small dish of a mixture we called "scumble" which was soft butter, sorghum molasses and heavy cream, warmed and mixed together.
We ate what we were served and I can't recall not liking any breakfast cereal, hot or cold.

The first time I was presented with a bowl of "regular" oatmeal I couldn't eat it. Later, when I was in the Army, I learned to doctor it with lots of butter, sugar and cream but still didn't care for it.

I did enjoy Cream of Wheat, Wheatena, Malt-O-Meal and their various kin as I became acquainted with them.

Now my hot cereal for breakfast (and for other purposes, side dish, part of stuffing, etc.,) consists of a mixture of grains, seeds and nuts which I combine myself and cook in a rice cooker with water or milk or with stock, when I want a savory result.
I have a grain mill so grind the various grains very coarsely and add the seeds and chopped nuts. This is stored in the freezer so it will not turn rancid.

Edited by andiesenji, 03 January 2005 - 01:12 PM.

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#6 Suzanne F

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:11 PM

Growing up in the 1950s and '60s, in addition to Cream of Wheat and its counterpart, HO Cream Farina, and oatmeal, we also sometimes had Ralston cereal, which is somewhat nuttier in flavor. All got the maple-syrup-or-brown-sugar-and-milk treatment. Sometimes raisins, too.

Now we are more likely to just have oatmeal -- standard issue Quaker, never instant :shock: very chunky as made by HWOE-- or, on rare occasion, COW or Cream of Rice. HWOE likes to add dried cranberries.

What I'd love to have more often is Cream of Rye (from Roman Meal) -- with salt, butter, and caraway seeds, it's like eating a really soft piece of rye bread. Mmmmm.

#7 snowangel

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:14 PM

Twas Cream of Wheat. Anyone else remember the song?

Hot, with icy cold cream or half and half, and a bare sprinkle of brown sugar or small dollop of maple syrup. I still make it. I also like oatmeal (Quaker or steel cut).

I can't stand the instant stuff. The instant COW is especially nasty.

Don't do Malt-O-Meal. I went to college in Northfield, MN (home of Malt-O-Meal, and if the wind was right, that "scent" wafting from the plant to the college was well, suffice to say, no way.
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#8 Mayhaw Man

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:18 PM

Grits are the only hot cereal my brothers and I ever ate growing up. We did occasionally have oatmeal, but we all preferred grits with butter and black pepper.

I had some this morning, as a matter of fact. Served up with pride at Waffle House.
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#9 Ling

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 01:37 PM

My mom had to force feed me oatmeal or cream of wheat whenever she made it--I hated the stuff! She would always crack an egg into the oatmeal and swirl it in. I put brown sugar and full-fat milk in my hot cereal. Often, I would ladle out a very small portion of the cereal, drown it with milk and sugar, and then "drink" it down as fast as I could.

I've always loved the oatmeal topping in fruit crumble and oatmeal cookies, though.

#10 misstenacity

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 02:06 PM

As a wee one I had Cream of Wheat and later on in high school we got instant oatmeal packets - whatever brand was on sale or the cheapest. (Do you remember the variety that included a "swirl-in jam" packet?) Now and since college I've liked Malt o Meal (which by the label is basically "cream of wheat and barley", or "hot ground up grape nuts"). Which reminds me that its been awhile since I've had hot Grape Nuts, and it explains why I like both.

Oh, in college it was the Maple & Brown Sugar flavor, always. Now that's far far too sweet and I do mostly plain, but sometimes the Cocoa flavor and then add a bit of heavy cream to the bowl. Yum!

I also adore any variety of oats that takes >5min to cook, so 'regular', steel cut, and groats make the menu.

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#11 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 02:09 PM

Don't do Malt-O-Meal.  I went to college in Northfield, MN (home of Malt-O-Meal, and if the wind was right, that "scent" wafting from the plant to the college was well, suffice to say, no way.


Oh man, when I was at Carleton, I always loved the Malt-O-Meal smell: warm and slightly yeasty. The best were days when they made chocolate Malt-O-Meal and the whole town smelled like chocolate-chip cookies. Now, for bad, bad smells, there was the turkey farm outside of town... Yuck.

Anyway, I eat a lot of oatmeal. I like it a lot more than I did as a kid (when I would only eat it with a ton of brown sugar, or in instant packet form); I'll pimp it up with some orange zest or dried blueberries or cinnamon sugar.

#12 M. Lucia

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 02:55 PM

I grew up with grits, either slow-cooked or instant, with butter.

Today I eat plain old oatmeal (not instant) most mornings and I love it. Occaisonally I add raisins when I'm feeling festive. Most people find this appallingly boring but it is quick and filling and healthy.

#13 ladyyoung98

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 03:59 PM

Twas Cream of Wheat.  Anyone else remember the song?

Hot, with icy cold cream or half and half, and a bare sprinkle of brown sugar or small dollop of maple syrup.  I still make it.  I also like oatmeal (Quaker or steel cut).

I can't stand the instant stuff.  The instant COW is especially nasty.

Don't do Malt-O-Meal.  I went to college in Northfield, MN (home of Malt-O-Meal, and if the wind was right, that "scent" wafting from the plant to the college was well, suffice to say, no way.

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funny...i had not thought about that song in years but was rather surprised that i did remember some..if not all of that song...i think it went something like this

cream of wheat stays with you to guide you all day through...cream of wheat.

thats what i remember of it....and i do agree with you...the instant stuff is nasty...when i was growing up..we had oatmeal...cream of wheat...cream of rice and the two flavors of malt o meal... they didnt have the instant anything then at least not that i recall...if they did...it never made it inside our house...i still love them all.....oatmeal is a winter breakfast to me and one that i wait for every year...for it to get cold enough to be able to eat it the way one should..chilly weather...oatmeal ( or cow or cor or the malt o meals) cook it up nice and warm...spoon it into the waiting bowl...and add milk and sugar (though i have to use a substitute now because of the diabetes) and butter...with oatmeal add a touch of cinnnamon and if i am feeling real good...chopped up apples..the others need no embelishment other than milk sugar and butter....sorry to say i never acquired the taste for grits...(yuk)
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#14 Jaymes

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 04:27 PM

Twas Cream of Wheat.  Anyone else remember the song?


"It's Cream of Wheat weather, I repeat,
So guard your family with hot Cream of Wheat."

:rolleyes:

#15 ladyyoung98

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 04:30 PM

Twas Cream of Wheat.  Anyone else remember the song?


"It's Cream of Wheat weather, I repeat,
So guard your family with hot Cream of Wheat."

:rolleyes:

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either thas part of it or else they had more than one song..... :laugh:
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#16 bloviatrix

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 04:41 PM

When I was a kid I ate Maypo for breakfast, tarted up with margerine (mom didn't buy butter) and milk. I also got a piece of toast.

I eat Quaker instant oatmeal (Apple Cinnamon is my preferred flavor) almost every morning from October through March. Blovie eats Quick Oats for breakfast most mornings. We find that oatmeal is one of the most filling foods you can eat.
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#17 ghostrider

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 04:50 PM

Growing up in the 1950s and '60s, in addition to Cream of Wheat and its counterpart, HO Cream Farina, and oatmeal, we also sometimes had Ralston cereal, which is somewhat nuttier in flavor.

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Last time this topic came up (may not have been on eGullet, probably wasn't), no one had ever even heard of Ralston cereal. I'm wondering if it was a regional thing. As a kid in St. Louis, home to the Ralston Purina Co., it was my favorite.

Durn, I meant to check the store shelves for it when I was back there over Thanksgiving & plumb forgot.

Still have oatmeal once in a while, but usually opt for the cold stuff (Alpen or Familia).

Edited by ghostrider, 03 January 2005 - 04:52 PM.

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#18 foodie52

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 05:11 PM

Never had hot cereal until I moved to Scotland.

#19 therese

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 05:35 PM

I've always loved hot cereals. I ate them growing up (one of the first things I learned to make was lumpless Cream of Wheat---my mom didn't have the patience to make it lump-free). Cream of Wheat, Farina, Cream of Rice, Malt-o-Meal, Coco Wheats (weirdly not all that chocolate-y, but it felt like I was getting away with something), oat meal.

I find the quick cook options to be substandard in all instances.

I now have steel cut oats most mornings. Kashi Breakfast Pilaf is also great, but I cook it ahead of time.
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#20 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 05:53 PM

As a kid whose mother regularly cooked Cream of Wheat to the inedible but highly scuptural superball stage, I fell in love with the nearly indestructable Maltex, which is now very hard to find in stores. It was supremely nutty and very malted; I can't abide Malt-o-Meal as a result.

In college I fell in love with McCann's Irish Oatmeal, a love that burns to this day.
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#21 adoxograph

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 05:58 PM

Hot cereals rock my world. Although I remember giving someone a revelatory CoW experience - I made it and it was consumed with increasing speed and passion until the eater inquired, "What did you put in this? Crack?"

Apparently this individual had only ever had it made with water, while we were stalwart made-with-milk folks.

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#22 kitwilliams

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 06:22 PM

On those rushed days when I get home from work an hour before I need to go to bed in order to get up at 2am, Cream of Wheat is dinner of choice. We didn't get it much as kids as my parents are Depression babies and after consuming years and years worth of hot cereal, they now can't stand the stuff so I learned to make my own hot cereals at an early age. With milk. Brown sugar. And a moat of cold cream.

Think that's what I'll fix right now. We're having a cold, wet spell here in So Cal. Relatively speaking, of course!
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#23 culinary bear

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 06:31 PM

Oh, porridge (or pedantically, 'porage')... delightful stuff.

Coarse oatmeal, half water half milk, salt, boiled... brown sugar and cold milk for dipping the spoon of porridge into. I swear I used to glow on the way to school in a winter morning...
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#24 cakewalk

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 07:08 PM

We never had hot cereal growing up (sniff), except when we were home sick, when my mother would make farina with milk (which we all hated.)

But as a big girl on my own, I started eating cream of wheat, and still love it. Especially now that it can be made in the microwave (and it's not the instant kind.) Same with Quaker oats, which has displaced COW since I started bike riding (oatmeal is some really good energy before a ride.) I make with just with water and salt, and when it's finished I add some cold milk.

What's the deal with steel cut oats? I'll have to try some of this, but what's the difference between that and, say, regular Quaker oats?

In college I had a roommate who used to eat instant oatmeal all the time. I always thought the smell was vile, so I never tasted it.

#25 andiesenji

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Posted 03 January 2005 - 07:39 PM

Steel cut oats (also knows as "pinhead" oats) are raw oat grains cut into two or three pieces and have a texture much like kasha, or a well-cooked brown rice.

It takes quite a bit longer for the oats to absorb water this way as they have not been steamed and rolled like the flakes.

The texture is quite different and, in my opinion, much more pleasant and I believe it has more flavor.
You have to try it - you may like it or may not, but you will see how different it is.

I have a local health food store that carries them in bulk, but you can buy packaged steel-cut oats from Bob's Red Mill products carried in many stores. There is both the steel cut and the Scottish oat meal, which is a finer grind.

Then there is the Irish variety from McCann's Irish Oatmeal (Steel Cut Oats). more expensive.

This place carries the traditional Alford Scottish oatmeal as well as their own product. both are excellent.
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#26 EdS

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 12:57 AM

I had steel-cut oats this morning for the first time in about a year. They have a nicer texture than rolled oats like Quaker Oats but take longer to cook. I think a half-hour simmer is the minimum and an hour or more is even better. I put mine in the rice cooker last night and set it to Keep Warm (about 160 degrees). I had a nice hot breakfast waiting for me in the morning. You can add dried fruit to the mixture at the beginning too.

Steel-cut oats can go rancid pretty quickly. That's why they usually come in a can. So, if you get them in bulk you might want to treat them like brown rice or other whole grains and keep them in the fridge or freezer.

Alton Brown did a show on oats.

[edited to add link]

Edited by esvoboda, 04 January 2005 - 01:00 AM.


#27 cakewalk

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 07:48 AM

Many thanks to you both for the steel cut oats information. And now I am curious. I'm assuming I can probably get them at Whole Foods. This sounds like Saturday morning's breakfast. :smile:

#28 Margo

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 07:48 AM

I want my Maypo! :biggrin: I'd forgotten that.

My brother and I had the little pouches of instant Quaker oats in winter as kids. I liked the apple and brown sugar flavor.

I was introduced to the range of hot cereals at Star Island, a summer resort for Unitarians. :rolleyes: A windswept island off the coast of NH/Maine, so hot cereal was appropriate for chilly mornings. Breakfast included a choice of cold cereal or hot: Ralston, Maltex, CoW, oatmeal... a different one every day.

I went off the hot stuff when I made it myself and burned the milk. Yuk. But I've been back at it for several years now. Malt o Meal made with milk with chopped chipotles in adobo. Kinky, hm?
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#29 Suzanne F

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 08:11 AM

Many thanks to you both for the steel cut oats information. And now I am curious. I'm assuming I can probably get them at Whole Foods. This sounds like Saturday morning's breakfast.  :smile:

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Even the Food Emporium carries McCann's. :biggrin:

Maltex!!! :wub: How could I have forgotten?? Loved it. And I may even have some Ralston in the back of the closet. :wub: :wub:

And as for songs, who remembers:

Watch Wilhemina
Eat her farina
HO Farina
Cream Farina
something something something :raz:

Maypo was only in the house when my mother got sick of our whining. It wasn't anywhere as good as regular cereal with maple syrup (which, in our house, was homemade regular sugar syrup with maple flavoring stirred in :wacko: ). Now, of course, I only have the real thing. :rolleyes:

Edited to add: is anyone keeping track of the regional differences on this thread? :unsure:

Edited by Suzanne F, 04 January 2005 - 08:13 AM.


#30 Peter B Wolf

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Posted 04 January 2005 - 08:27 AM

Many thanks to you both for the steel cut oats information. And now I am curious. I'm assuming I can probably get them at Whole Foods. This sounds like Saturday morning's breakfast.  :smile:

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You might want to try any half way decent supermarket, Shaws and Hannaford here in Maine both carry the Irish kind in a tin, and locate them in the 'natural' foods section of their stores.

To the preparation method: I like to toast this grain in a heavy duty stainless frying pan over a stove burner. Make sure the pan is completely dry. You must constantly stir and shake the pan, almost from the beginning, a motion of both hands similar to a drummer at a concert.
This may take a while, do not walk away!! Also have some kind of bowl or dish at hand, as once the grain starts browning it will do so very fast, quicker hand shakings are required, and when desired color is achieved, dump quickly into ready bowl. The heat of the pan would otherwise burn the grain!!

I cook mine in lightly boiling water (4 cups water to 1 cup oats), takes half an hour minimum. Serve with Demarara Sugar, a lump of unsalted quality Butter and light or heavy Cream
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