In our kitchen cupboard we have boxes of Cheerios, Raisin Bran and Chex cereals. With a little variance, those are the cold cereals that I’ve grown to start every morning with.
Yes, just plain Cheerios. Not Honey Nut Cheerios, Oat Crunch Cheerios, Happy Heart Shaped Cinnamon Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Very Berry Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios or Limited Edition Frosted BerryTeam Cheerios.
Yes, plain Raisin Bran. Not Raisin Bran Crunch, Toasted Oats and Honey Raisin Bran, Raisin Bran with Cranberries or Raisin Bran with Bananas.
Chex? What kind of Chex, Corn, Rice or Wheat?
Yes, just those three kinds of Chex. Not Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex, Apple Cinnamon Chex or Honey Nut Chex.
Again, just those three cereals?
Yes, Cheerios, Raisin Bran and Chex. Not Shredded Wheat or any of its varieties or dimensions. Not Cinnamon Toast Crunch and any of its incarnations. Not Cap’n Crunch or any of its iterations including the infamous “Oops, All Berries.” Not Cocoa Puffs, Count Chocula, Lucky Charms, Life, Frosted Flakes, Frankenberry, Kix, Trix, or any other cold cereal mix, including whatever Grape Nuts are.
Not meaning to trample on the hard work of 1,000 cereal industry marketing executives but my days of adventuresome breakfast cereal consumption have gone the way of the secret decoder rings that were often found at the bottom of a cereal box. At this point, my morning concerns land on what is going to keep my digestive system rolling efficiently and little else.
My dad ate cooked breakfasts for as long as I knew him. Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, pancakes, waffles and his daily, weekly, and perennial favorite; bacon and eggs. Every now and then he could be seen eating a bowl of cereal, but not very often. Just as infrequently he could be seen fixing his own breakfast, but thanks to my stay at home mom, not very often, either.
My early adult generation, an age where both Dads and Moms now had their hands full in the morning trying to get on the way to work, drifted away from the cooked breakfasts. We may have gotten things together on the weekends to make eggs, bacon or sausage and pancakes. But the need for hasty getaways during the week made breakfast a box to be checked rather than a meal to be savored. Plus, tossing an emptied cereal bowl into a dishwasher is a whole lot easier than facing a sink filled with greasy frying pans. But isn’t it amazing what the cereal aisles have become at our local grocery stores?
In my youth there were a dozen or so “go to” cereals and each came with its simple and grain based descriptive name; Wheaties, Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies. Brands affiliated themselves with iconic characters; the Trix Rabbit, Snap, Krackle and Pop, Sugar Bear, Lucky Leprechaun, Bruce Jenner (Better Get Your Wheaties) and so on. Many of them played well with the glory days of the Saturday morning cartoon.
Breakfast has never had the culinary sex appeal as lunch and dinner but it serially remains at the top in importance. As with everything else in a modern world, the March of progress has changed the entire breakfast paradigm and apparently, that means taking an established brand and trying to morph it into as many flavors as possible.
That said, how long will it be before a dozen eggs come flavored in Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate or even Limited Edition Frosted Berry?