To get into the proper state of mind for today’s blog post, I decided to prepare a big bowl of “Tasteeos” and soy milk. Well, to say I prepared it is a bit of a stretch because I only needed to dump some little “o” shaped cereal nuggets into a bowl and pour on the liquid. I’m part of the 49-percent of Americans who begin each day with a bowl of cold cereal.
Why not have cereal for breakfast? There is a huge variety of the stuff, there’s probably something for any taste and lifestyle; and it’s very easy to “prepare”. Most supermarkets devote an entire aisle to these grain-based products that we take for granted.
The town I live in has a special place in the history of cereal. The voice of Tony the Tiger, Thurl Ravenscroft, was born in Norfolk, Nebraska on February 6, 1914. As the voice of Tony the Tiger, he helped to peddle “Kelloggs Frosted Flakes” for over half-a-century. (His uncredited voice is also heard in the song “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”.)
Frosted Flakes are among a long list of cereals of questionable health benefits people buy every day. The cereal industry uses about 816,000,000 pounds of sugar on their products each year. This figure doesn’t account for the even larger amount of high fructose corn syrup used in the recipes of most ready to eat cereals. There are even cereals that are sweetened with artificial chemical sweeteners, too. These amounts do not include the sugar that Americans spoon onto their “unsweetened” cereal.
I wanted to find out how many cereals have been manufactured in the United States, but didn’t have the patience to count from the very long list at Wikipedia. That list includes cereals only from the major manufacturers but not the generic or store label varieties. If you want to see the alphabetized list for yourself, check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_breakfast_cereals .
I’m sure the dairy industry is grateful for cereal. Most people pour milk onto their breakfast cereal each morning and for their night time cereal snacks. Certainly, the same can be said about the companies that manufacture soy milk, rice milk, and almond milk.
One of my most ironic breakfasts was some “Cap’n Crunch” soaked in rice milk. It was really yummy, but probably less healthful than eating devils food cake for breakfast. Most of the folks I know, who have eaten “Cap’n Crunch”, cannot stop at one or two bowls per sitting. By the way, the good captain’s full name is Horatio Magellan Crunch.
The first cold cereals were a form of granola. They were a bland mixture of grains that had to be soaked overnight in order to be edible. The first cereals, that we would recognize as ready to eat, are Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. They were first sold in 1906. By the way, “Cheerios” were first marketed in 1941 as “Cheerioats”. I wrote about them a couple of years ago. https://bluejayblog.wordpress.com/?s=Cheerios .
Believe it or not, there are some cereals that are reasonably healthful. Many of them are marketed by the usual “health food” brands, like “Cascadian Farms”, “Erewhon”, and “Lydia’s Organics”. The downside is they sell for a premium price. If you need to stick to a budget, you can eat unsweetened shredded wheat, “Grape Nuts”, “Wheaties”, “Total”, “Cheerios”, “Kix”, or their store label equivalents.
Aside from the sugar and HFC aspects, one of my major issues with cold cereal is that the inner bags are so difficult to open. I always have to fetch the scissors to start a fresh package.