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Fat Guy

Breakfast Cereal

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Have we had a serious breakfast-cereal thread yet? I know we had the retro-cereal discussion about a year ago


but have we talked through all the major cereal issues?

Do you like cereal?

Do you add anything to it?

Do you eat it for breakfast, or at other times?

Do you eat it with milk?

Do you use it in recipes?

What are your favorites?

I don't eat much cereal because it strikes me as the culinary equivalent of hanging around all day in your underwear and doing nothing (though I have been known to exhibit this behavior on occasion) but today I sampled some Special K "Red Berries." As an inexperienced cereal eater I was astounded at how sweet the stuff was. Silly me, I thought Special K was one of the non-sugary, wholesome cereals. The cereal itself is a combination of the sugar taste and some sort of vague grainy taste -- almost malt-like -- plus there are what seem to be freeze-dried strawberry slices in there. The strawberries are pretty good when reconstituted in milk. It led me to wonder whether any pastry chefs are playing with freeze dried fruit and its possibilities. But as for the cereal, it was lame and left a nasty aftertaste.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I ate cereal when I was a kid - it was always boring stuff like Rice Krispies, Total, etc. This was because my parents firmly believed that sugary cereals were second cousin to the devil and would result in cavities, communism, and general hedonism. It was a great step forward for breakfast in my house when my parents agreed that my brother and myself could each get one box of sugary cereal a year - on our birthdays. That was when I was 10, iirc and alas, by the time I was 12, I had really begun to dislike sweet cereals. Rather than let this opportunity go to waste, I began donating my sweet cereal option yearly to my younger brother until I left for college, a massive generosity on my part that has gone unthanked for the last 10 years.

Oddly, while Cap'n Crunch was a strictly regulated controlled substance for breakfast, "Cap'n Crunch Fried Chicken" was a fairly regularly dinner meal. There was no particular magic to the dish - crush up Cap'n crunch, dip the chicken breast in egg and milk, then in the crushed Cap'n Crunch. Then pan-fry the chicken. The Cap'n Crunch cereal was so porous and sweet it would absorb a huge amount of grease. Even at a very young age, I remember being keenly aware that there was no possible way this was good for me. :smile:

Today, I don't eat cereal. I don't drink cow's milk anymore and I never have soy milk in the house when I need it, so cereal is out. I find granola and yogurt to be a rough analogue that is overall much more satisfying, and in one of those mysterious product migrations that happen in NY, every deli in Manhattan suddenly has pre-prepared yogurt, fruit, and granola mixtures at breakfast.

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grape nuts. all the time--when i'm hungry, when i'm not but think i need some fiber :raz: .....and with ronnybrook. always with ronnybrook.

if i've got fresh berries, great.

but freeze-dried fruit, rehydrated by ronnybrook???? did they give that cereal away free on the street or did you pay for it?



no other cereal. except good, coarsely ground grits with lots of butter.

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I have grits with lots of butter, bacon and eggs.... :raz: I also eat Cream of Wheat. One day I ran out of Cream of Wheat and used Grits as a substitute. :blink: A little different but good. :wink:

Other than those two...I can eat Raisin Nut Bran directly from the box anytime of the day. :cool:

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this weekend the in-laws held a great big get together. at breakfasts it struck me that they don't eat cereals. oh, how i missed it.

most cereals are way too sweet, though. i like kellogs corn flakes with milk, or the danish equivalent of quaker oats with raisins and milk. alas, this danisk variant has become much poorer over the last three years (hard, tough), so i started importing the swedish ones. and now they're down the drain, too. i think they don't use scandinavian oats anymore.

the kids, of course, can't have too sweet cereals, and it's a constant fight to keep it relatively healthy. and one of my friends has muesli with ice cream and cocoa milk for sunday breakfast. well, at least sometimes.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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PudZ (the parrot) loves Cheerios with blueberries and soy milk. Sometimes she lets me have some. And she hobbles around all day in her underwear watching sesame street.

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grape nuts.  all the time--when i'm hungry, when i'm not but think i need some fiber :raz: .....and with ronnybrook.  always with ronnybrook.

Grape Nuts! I love the crunch, the slight sweetness and the toasty/grainy aftertaste. I've tried them hot, per a suggestion on the box, but they lost their essential Grape Nuttiness.

Occasionally I buy a box of Puffed Kashi. It's unsweetened, texturally interesting and quite tasty with milk and fruit.

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I eat a lot of cereal, but it has to be mixed- home-made granola, mixed with an assortment of stuff is the best and served on, or into, Total yogurt, or maybe Emmi swiss yogurt- I think it's delicious and I can't really handle a big greasy breakfast most days.

The yogurt is the key-



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I hate Cereal boxes that show a bowl of cereal with a bunch of fruit mixed in, but when you open the package there is no fruit to be found. Is this false advertising? I never see a disclaimer saying "fruit not included".

I really like Fruit Loops. When I am trying to be health conscious I have Puff Rice with a heaping spoonful of sugar.

The Man, The Myth


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Weird trend -- Grape Nuts is my favorite cereal too! Either with raisins and a little honey, or with sliced bananas. Any time, day or night. I craved the stuff during my unsuccesful attempt at training for a marathon.

Oh, and homemade granola. Preferably in a parfait with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries.

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I grew up with every kind of highly-sweetened cereal imaginable, and with my L'il Varmints running around, I don't want them to feel they're deprived by forcing only healthy stuff on them. Thus, we currently have in our pantry the following: Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries (I prefer my Cap'n Crunch w/out the berries); Honey Nut Cheerios; Frosted Mini Wheats; Lucky Charms; Cracklin' Oat Bran; Crunch Corn Bran; Smacks (I still call them Sugar Smacks).

The thing is, the L'il Varmints rarely eat cold cereal. They eat grits, waffles, pancakes, bagels (bad ones, at that, as Fat Guy will corroborate), toast, cinnamon toast, eggs, biscuits, fruit, and other grains. I'd say they eat cold cereal once every 10 days or so. I think we use the children as an excuse to buy the way too sweet stuff.

Dean McCord


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Grape Nuts used to be one of my favorites, and then I discovered Cranberry Almond Crunch. Other top contenders are Kashi, the Good Friends nuts and twigs kind, and Cascade Farms organic multi grain squares or wheat crunch. I love cereal with blueberries or bananas. Only problem is a recently discovered sensitivity to milk, and the lactaid stuff has a sweet taste I don't love.

We let the kids choose junky sweetened cereal (like Lucky Charms or Cookie Crisp) every once in a while, but they usually come back to the basics like Rice Krispies and Multi Grain or Honey Nut cheerios.

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I like cereal a lot, because frankly I'm too brain-dead on weekday mornings to plan anything more elaborate than a bowl of cereal or toast. I also grew up in a household where sweetened cereals were banned, though later on Mom relented just enough to let my younger sister have Honey Nut Cheerios. Consequently, none of us like the really sweet glop. In fact, when I was in college, the dining halls had cereal out all day, and I tried Froot Loops for dessert (w/o milk) and found it too sweet even then! I add raisins for extra sweetness (though I don't like Raisin Bran--raisins are too dry and the flakes get soggy very quickly).

Nowadays I usually buy cereal at the Coop. Kashi, Barbara's, and other brands have good-tasting cereals that have lots of fiber, plus they're way cheaper at the Coop than most anything at the supermarket. I also like Cheerios, Chex, Kix, and Just Right & that ilk. I usually eat cereal only at breakfast but will sometimes grab handfuls as snacks.

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I am not a fan of cereal. Unless it's porridge, which doesn't really count because you need to do something to it to make it edible. Or real muesli, which is the same kinda deal only without a microwave involved. I'm not a fan of boxed muesli anymore, although I used to be a few years ago. Granola's good, but only if it's homemade and therefore unlikely to rot your teeth out of your head after a couple spoonfuls.

I'm starting to think that maybe I'm just a high-maintenance cereal-eater. :blink:

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Honey Bunches of Oats, Blueberry Morning, Cranberry Almond Crunch, all with milk

Oatmeal (Quaker Oldfashioned) with a little butter, cinnamon and maple syrup.

A hasty Hasty Pudding with a little molasses

In all cases, easy on the sweetener.

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No cold cereal since childhood. Favorites then were Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs.

My husband likes cold cereal with buttermilk.

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My favorite dessert at night (on weekdays) is cold cereal with milk.

Basic 4 (only cereal that is tasty even when soggy - actually only when it is really soggy), tried special K with strawberries that FG likes. Wife picks out all the strawberries before I get to them. She has been buying some Low Fat Granola one. I grew up eating cracked wheat type cereals with a good amount of milk and claified butter (yes, that is right) along with sugar thrown in.

Like cereal...vivin

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As you might expect of the man that eats at Harvester restaurants, I love all sorts of cereal and eat them both for breakfast and late at night. All time favourite was the original Golden Nuggets, which are just not the same in their relaunched much smaller nugget version.

Running a very close second are Puffa Puffa Rice which again have been discontinued in their original version. Crunchy Nut Cornflakes are cereal heaven. More mudane are Shreddies, but can still hit the spot in certain circumstances, as can Weetabix.

Cocoa-Pops are excellent, especially served with chocolate milk. Suger Puffs on occasion can be enjoyable. Cereal cocktails can greatly enliven old stagers such as cornflakes and rice crispies. Just put them in a bowl together with maybe a few cherrios for good measure and it's a whole new ballgame.

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Shreddedd Wheat, the BIG one's! My father-in-law, an ex-rancher, said he used to feed that kind of "stuff" to his cattle. Wouldn't touch it. Don't care, I like it anyway! :cool:


Bob Bowen

aka Huevos del Toro

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Every once in a while I buy one of the oat-almond-raison cereals (I don't know it's name) and I really enjoy it. But even the so-called "healthy" mass-produced cereals are usually loaded with fat and sugar. I'd rather chew cardboard than eat Special K.

Recently, on a whim, I bought Cap'n Crunch. It was, like, scary. I'm still looking for Franken Berries.

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My day starts with a bowl of ceral, sometimes two. It's one of those things I do in the morning as part of my routine. I always have Honey Nut Cheerieos or Honey Corn Flakes. That is my 15 minutes fo doing nothing in my underwear part of the day.

In the winter I usually eat a bowl of Instant oats with some brown sugar and a little milk. This habit has not changed in years. I also DO NOT drink coffee in any shape way or form and I do think I will ever will. I do cook with the stuff but only when nessacary. :blink:

Dan Walker


Weczeria Restaurant

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lately Im hooked on combinations of puffed corn, rice, and kamut....full fat soy milk...when I have them I add sliced banana.

Breakfast every day...once a week I have coddled eggs on the side. On really miserable summer days where I dont wanna cook...or if Im first day off from a rough tour at work itll be dinner too.

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I can honestly say I haven't eaten boxed cereal in the last 20 yeears. I remember a short stint with Grape Nuts and Raisin Bran when in college but found it all too boring in the long run. I know I'm weird this way and certainly people have different tastes, but to me cereal is just so boring that I just can't imagine wasting calories on it. I'm just not a breakfast food person to begin with though.


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      My home office serves as the "staging" area for packing the coolers. Make note of the supplies on the floor next to the cooler-dishes, toothpicks, silverware, tongs, spatulas and kitchen towels.

      And yes, I am following the direct instructions of Mike the fish guy -- I bought a spray bottle at the "Dollar Store" so that I can keep our precious "display crab" wet on camera.

      + + +

      I’ve never cooked on the "Today Show" on NBC in New York. I’ve heard that cooks who appear on "Today" are escorted into what is called a "Green Room," catered with lush displays of fresh fruit, vegetable and cheese trays, pastries and a never-ending assortment of beverages to await their few moments of fame. We don’t have a "Green Room" at KXLY. What we have is a room used by the weekday news staff to script out the flow of the news programs.

      Not having a Green Room is a blessing in disguise. The atmosphere in the studio is very casual and I don’t have to sit in a cold, lonely room waiting for a perky intern to escort me to the studio. I wait in the studio.

      You learn to be patient and immodest around the crew -- these are the people who watch you unzip your pants in the studio. You pull out your shirt so they can thread a small microphone from your waist, underneath your shirt, up to your neck and then clip the little mouthpiece to your collar.

      The only style advice I ever got was from my co-host, Teresa Lukens, who cautioned me not to wear a striped or checked shirt on-camera-something about the pattern of my shirt being a distraction to the viewers. (And I thought the girth of my waist was more of a distraction to the viewers than the pattern of my shirt).

      I don’t wear a Chef’s coat, because I don’t consider myself a Chef. I’m a cook and I want the viewers to relate to my story and my personality with ease and comfort. I want them to feel comfortable going into their kitchens at home and creating the types of dishes they might have at a restaurant. I don’t want to scare them by thinking only a guy in a chef’s coat can cook good food.

      Our kitchen at KXLY comprises an electric, flat-top stove inserted into a formica cabinet on wheels, held in place with sandbags. We don’t have an oven, refrigerator, freezer or running water. We make do with what we have-and that’s why I bring my own spatulas, spoons and water bottle to spray the crab.

      After the "Pet for Adoption" segment, I’m allowed on the set to get ready. I usually have about 15 minutes to unpack the coolers, put the ingredients on display and get the stove-top heated.

      We begin our cooking segment with a 30-second lead-in, usually after the local sports report. Teresa introduces the dish we’ll be doing and then we break to another commercial. I don’t have a lot of time to grill shrimp when we go live on KLXY -- only four minutes total for cooking time and discussion of the dish with my co-host. I’m lucky to have Teresa as my host. She knows food and cooking. She knows that prosciutto is cured Italian ham and she knows it’s thin and slightly salty. She knows to ask if smaller prawns will work for the recipe. And without prompting, she’ll ask why I’m using fresh Dungeness crab instead of canned lump crab meat. At the end of the segment we cut to one last commercial.

      As we come back live, Rick and Teresa are their normally gracious selves, tasting the stuffed shrimp and declaring it delicious. The show is a wrap.

      One more taste-test lies ahead before we can bring this journey to an end. What will the crew say about my "Shrimp Stuffed with Crab?"

      They tell me the stuffed shrimp were delicious. But you know what they really liked? What impressed them the most? The radishes.

      About a week after Sunday’s show, I went back to Williams Seafood to get some photos of the shop for this story.

      I find Mike behind the counter cutting fresh tuna steaks.

      "At least it looked fresh this time," he says.

      + + +


      Shortly after I finished this piece, I began working with KXLY on our next cooking segment, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday, November 16.

      The plan was to cook some unique side dishes that the home cook could easily do to accompany the holiday turkey or prime rib. At least that was the plan until I picked up the local newspaper on November 2.

      When I turned to the business section, I saw the ominous news: "KXLY cancels weekend news program." I immediately contacted the producer.

      I had been cancelled -- a victim of the horrible state of the economy. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. Cancelled after seven years and dozens of live cooking segments. Cancelled.

      Because "Sunday Morning Northwest" wasn’t the lead-in program to "Good Morning America," on the weekdays, it relied heavily on local advertising for its survival. ABC wouldn’t (and KXLY couldn’t) carry the burden of producing a local show that didn’t feed into network programming.

      With so many local businesses filing for bankruptcy and others literally closing the doors, one of the first budget items to go was television advertising -- advertising revenue that paid to produce "Sunday Morning Northwest."

      I wasn’t the only on-air "personality" to get the pink slip. The weekend weather "person" also got her walking papers. Rick and Teresa Lukens returned to the security of the KXLY-AM 920 radio booth and continue with their weekday morning drive-time show.

      And I have taken an unwanted leave of absence from local television. At least for a few months.

      Loyalty is not a word that is highly regarded in the television business. If ABC cancels you, you talk to NBC and so I’ve shifted my ambitions to KHQ -- the local NBC affiliate.

      KHQ airs a local morning program seven days a week. So if the culinary Gods are praying for me, someday soon I’ll begin doing a live cooking segment on the "KHQ Morning News."

      * * *

      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food, reviews restaurants and -- obviously -- does food presentation. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team for the Culinary Culture and Kitchen forums.
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