Favorite Cereals (No Mix-Ins)
I'd like to discuss some favorite cereals. Please pitch in with reviews of your own. But while I'm a devoted mixer, and would love to talk mix-ins with fellow travelers, let's keep this particular thread, if possible, on the topic of specific brand recommendations, rather than mixing strategies, which are a whole other thing.
1. Kashi Autumn Wheat
There are, I have intuitively grokked, two product managers at Kashi. One is a stern, ascetic, pucker-mouthed wraith who designs their rabbit-food-like items ("Heart to Heart", anyone?). The other is the benevolent genius who concocted Autumn Wheat, which the ignorant describe as a Shredded Wheat clone. It may look like Shredded Wheat, but it's so much more. The only cereal I know that can truly be described as beautiful.
There are two variants: Cinnamon Harvest and Island Vanilla. Both pleasant for a box or so, but too specific for a long term breakfast relationship.
2. Trader Joe's Triple Nut & Flakes Reduced Sugar Cereal
Extremely comforting hangover relief....if you can find a box where the nuts aren't going rancid, joy is possible. Thing is, we're all so accustomed to rancidity that to many of us it no longer is deemed an "off" smell/taste. It's important to learn to recognize rancidity. I've now used the word "rancid" three times, so this paragraph is shot and I'll just move on.
3. Crunchy Corn Bran
From Quaker, a big-time brand, yet virtually unfindable. Amazon has it in bulk <http://bit.ly/2wYznO>, so if you're in their "Prime" club, with fast free shipping, you're in luck. Also, Pathmark often stocks it. If you've been watching all the foodie alarmist movies, you're probably feeling anti-corn, but make an exception for this.
4. Jordan's Crunchy
British granola-esque gem, with all the goodness of palm oil. Found all over europe, but good luck finding it here.
5. Jordan's Sweet Crisp: Strawberries
Just as Britain's malt balls puts ours to shame, they do freeze-dried strawberry cereals so much better. You can find it in Canada.
6. Joe's O's
Trader Joe's knock-off is seriously better than Cheerios. Do NOT get their organic O's, though. Horrible.
7. Trader Joe's Twigs, Flakes & Clusters
I know, I know. Sounds like sawdusty rabbit food. But while I mostly use this for mix-ins, this stuff's even toothsome (though austere) by itself. And so healthy. Woops, I just mentioned mix-ins.
8. Parade Brand Corn Flakes
Kellogs Corn Flakes are pretty damn good, too, but I think this knock-off is better. Corn Flakes are among the most delicious foods human beings have ever devised, but we all have this weird corn flake amnesia: once free of the mid-bowl reverie, we forget how great they are. I discussed this on Public Radio last week, and several kindred spirits subsequently wrote in to corroborate me on this.
Nature's Path Organic Heritage Flakes Cereal
Really dull, ploddish-looking product from a company even more musty and ascetic-seeming than Kashi. But I hear they're the cat's meow. I just ordered in bulk from Amazon, getting a further discount by signing up for their Cereal Subscription service....which means they deliver every six months (and I can cancel anytime
Avoid: Quisp. Should be called "Neo-Quisp". They've tinkered with the recipe; less brown sugar, less vivid corn flavor. Those bastards.
I have just discovered Grape Nuts Flakes. They are reminiscant (sp?) of Force Flakes and I am loving them.
Also looking for "Abundance Cereal", a legendary product made solely for Costco and reportedly decommissioned...though still sometimes findable. Any notes out there?
Post Grape Nuts
*Served cold, the more you chew it the more flavor it imparts. Not the strong flavor of say a granola type cereal (sweet and nutty) or a Honey Bunches of Oats (sugary), but something very elemental and ethereal -- as if you are tasting the goodness of the earth.
*Served hot, it beats the living daylights out of a bowl of oatmeal.
I guess I'm an old fashioned conservative when it comes to cereal. I have two everlasting favorites.
First is shredded wheat. I love Barbara's Bakery Shredded Wheat that comes in round, seamless biscuits. Really good! But there are times when I have to search out the old fashioned large biscuits of shredded wheat. There is a great Turkish dessert I make with it that is similar to baklava, in that it has a layer of nuts, butter,and brown sugar with a light hint of cinnamon in the middle. The traditional dessert is made with shredded phyllo dough, but the shredded wheat has a nuttier crisper finish to it. To make it, pinch the seams off the shredded wheat biscuits and separate them into two halves. Line a square or rectangular baking dish with a layer of them packed neatly together. Cover with a layer of nuts (any kind of nut except peanuts) crunched in a food processor with a liberal amount of butter, brown sugar and a touch of ground cinnamon. Spread evenly across shredded wheat. Cover with a top layer of shredded wheat halves finished side up. Drown the whole thing in ghee or drawn butter, cut into squares prior to baking, then bake at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour. I'm an over-the-top kind of cook, and I use enough butter to come nearly to the top of the shredded wheat. Remove from oven, cover with a cake cooling rack and pour off butter. (It will have a nutty flavor to it that is great on toast or for cooking or you can store it in the freezer for next time.) Pour raw honey or a flavored simple syrup over the dish and allow to cool. Serve with Turkish coffee..... It is SOOOO good! But not diet food!
The other thing that absolutely requires old fashioned square biscuit shredded wheat is gingerbread houses at Christmas time. I use the halved shredded wheat for thatched roofs on my Seven Dwarfs gingerbread houses. Fun!
For breakfast, a long standing favorite of favorites is oatmeal. But not just any oatmeal. It has to be the long cooking comes-in-a-round-box type of oatmeal, and it has to cook down so thick that you have to hold the pot down when you spoon it out of the pan. Line the bottom of a large soup plate with the oatmeal, top with a generous layer of Kellogg's All Bran, top that with a generous sprinkling of brown sugar, then gently float some milk or Half & Half on top. Do NOT stir! Eat with a spoon as you would a pudding. My #! favorite breakfast cereal for seventy years now. Good stuff!
I guess I've given up on other types of cereal. The boxes read great in the store, but when I get them home they rarely deliver in the bowl. But every now and then, I do have to have a bowl of Rice Krispies with a banana in it.