Screwing up Cereal

by Ben Miller



Shortly after starting my job I realized that I could get an extra half hour of sleep if I just ate breakfast at work. Since then I’ve been bringing milk and cereal into the office.

I have a few general rules when selecting cereal. First, I only buy whatever is on sale that week. Cereal very well might be the most marked up item in a grocery store (nearly $5 for a box of Cheerios?! Please). Second, I don’t get anything overly sugary like Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, etc.

These restrictions limit my options, but I’ve developed a solid core of choices that rotates based upon the prices that week: Cheerios, Rice Krispies, Honey bunches of Oats (with almonds or regular), and Corn Flakes serving as the option of last resort.

This rotation worked well until two weeks ago. The only cereal option on sale and in stock was Honey Bunches of Oats with Cinnamon Clusters. I grabbed two boxes (about what I go through in a week and a half) figuring that it would be OK.

Boy was I wrong. I would rather eat cardboard. The makers went way overboard on the cinnamon to the point that it overwhelms any other flavor. Even worse, it doesn’t even taste like real cinnamon, but an overly sweet concoction that is mixed in with way too much sugar. It also somehow screws up the texture.  The cinnamon clusters, which can be a good half inch across, are rough and sand-like, even after thorough soaking in milk.

I made it through one box before giving up. Luckily Cheerios were only $1.88 at Safeway this week. Order has been restored to the breakfast world.


10 responses to “Screwing up Cereal

  1. oh lord ~ i feel your pain on the price of cereal! it is totally absurd… i know which weeks will be good when a decent granola is on 2-for-1, LOL. i, like you, eschew the super-sweet stuff and usu eat granola, smart start, or fiber one (the one w/ the oat clusters NOT the wormy looking one, LOL).

  2. Seriously! Aren’t grain farmer’s overly subsidized the government anyway? Why do little wheat cubes cost so damn much?!! I’m a Total Raisin Bran type of girl myself…

  3. trader joes owns cereal.
    or, if I’m shopping someplace that isn’t trader joes, I tend to buy Peace brand cereals. Their Raspberry Ginger is amazing.

  4. Agree about Trader Joe’s. The large box of Puffins at TJs costs me half what the small box goes for at my local grocery store.

  5. I can’t speak to the cinnamon incarnation, but I think the almond version of Honey Bunches of Oats is actually pretty damn tasty. It’s been a while, though — breakfast-wise, I’m back on a banana kick these days.

  6. Never had this one, but it can’t be THAT bad, the other honey bunches are so good!

    One of my favorites is Heart to Heart with the delicious honey-toasted O’s and hearts…mmm.

    Too bad this cerealphile is also lactose-intolerant. Woe is me…

  7. Buy cereal in bulk, or oatmeal in bulk.

    Mix up individual servings of oatmeal (without the liquid) on the weekend. In the morning either a) nuke it in a container with milk or water while you’re getting ready in the morning or b) nuke it at work if you have a microwave there.

    It’s cheap.

  8. Costco – they have brand names and their private label stuff is good too.

  9. Make your own! Homemade granola and homemade grapenuts are easy and good.

    Granola–8 cups oats, 1 cup oil, 1 cup sweetener (if you use sugar rather than honey put a little water in it first.) Toast in a bowl at 250, stirring every 20 minutes. Add other things if you like when it comes out of the oven (raisins, coconut, etc.)

    Grapenuts–make a not-too-sweet cake, crumble, dry until hard.

  10. I am reminded (in a good way) of the excruciatingly detailed description of the Cap’n Crunch consumption methodology from Cryptonomicon.

    For breakfast I’ll stick to a granny smith, hard cooked egg or crumpet with cashew butter…


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