It's Breakfast Throwback Time
Breakfast has always been not only the most important part of my day, but my very favorite part of the day. I simply love it, and long before I knew about green smoothies, acai bowls, or gluten free waffles with sunflower seed butter… I was really into cereal. All sorts of cereal.
I liked it so much that my niece and nephews called me Aunt Cereal, and my house was known as Fiber Central. They were referring to the Aunt Cereal who was then in her 20’s and ate semi-healthy cereal, mind you. But in reality, my love for cereal went way back to childhood.
I thought about this last night when my niece and I reminisced about the breakfasts of yore. Our convo inspired me to dish about the 10 things I’d have for breakfast if gluten, soy, dairy and sugar comas weren’t a concern.
POPTARTS. Before I even get into my litany of cereals, can we please just talk Poptarts? And not berry, please. I want the one that has sugar in its name, i.e. Brown Sugar Cinnamon. And I want both of them, not one, like some of my college roommates with more self control would have. Then, let’s toast them to the point of almost setting off the fire alarm, producing a crispy tart that literally sizzles in your mouth. YUM. And, #thosewerentjustforbreakfast either… anyone else have 2 am Poptart parties?
Lucky Charms. Or Magic Stars. Or Marshmallow Mateys… whatever was cheapest at the store, it really didn’t matter. What did matter was getting the least amount of cereal and most amount of marshmallows in my bowl, and then letting it all simmer, so the concoction would get a little, but not too, soggy. A bonus was having the milk turn to various shades of the magically delicious charms. Let the sugar high commence.
As long as we’re talking about cereal that turns your milk different shades, can I just pour a big bowl of Cocoa Pebbles? Back in the day (as in the 70’s) perhaps the best part about this cereal was its cool prizes. Who else remembers Fred and Barney coin purses? Or little dinosaurs? Prizes aside, nothing beat having a big bowl of chocolate goodness that turned your white milk to chocolate gold if you waited long enough. A bonus for a deprived kid like myself whose mom never bought chocolate milk.
Prize Patrol, take 2. If you were a kid in the 70’s and always wanted a, oh, I don’t know, small terrarium, Alpha-Bits was your game for sure. Not only did this cereal provide all of your day’s sugar and then some, it also taught you the alphabet, and offered you the chance to spell swear words if you were a bit sly and clever at the breakfast table.
Fruity bowls. Sometimes after a shopping trip, I’d notice no chocolatey cereals, but more fruity options. Who remembers Fruit Loops? Fruity Pebbles? Crunch Berry?Trix, anyone? While these did the trick and satisfied my breakfast (sugar) needs, I wasn’t entirely sold on their consistency or flavor.
Speaking of consistency and more specifically texture, did anyone else get the roof of their mouth torn apart from Captain Crunch? I’ll give it a B+ for flavor, but eating too much of it was quite frankly a risky venture. Perhaps this is why Peanut Butter Crunch came on the scene, with its round balls that provided plenty of flavor and punch, with minimal damage to your mouth.
Unfortunately, my mom didn’t always buy me the sugary delights. Sometimes, I’d be stuck with the “boring” cereals like Rice Krispies, Cheerios, or Corn Flakes. Lucky for me, the sugar bowl was just an arm’s reach away, so I quickly doctored my boring bowl with probably a half a cup of sugar. I had the “sugaring” down to a science, where I’d carefully get all of the cereal properly doused with milk and therefore be able to really let the sugar glaze the cereal, mimicking the flavor of the more popular sugar coated options.
Let’s now talk cereal in Wisconsin, and consider the hot varietals. First, there was Cream of Wheat… a cereal I initially didn’t like, but then discovered how a few (or 5) teaspoons of sugar could change the game. This also worked for #bland oatmeal, and tied me over until I discovered the flavored brown sugar, strawberry, cinnamon & spice instant packs. Also good on a cold winter day was a toasty bowl of Malt-O-Meal, Cream of Wheat’s cousin, which had the benefit of being chocolate, a fact that didn’t stop me from adding #lotsofsugar to its already sugary base.
Enter college, where I took my love of cereal to a new level in the dorm’s cafeteria, with it’s CEREAL BAR… available at all three meals. Were they kidding? This was a dream come true for this carb addicted gal. Yeah, anyone else have Lucky Charms for dessert 7 days a week? Or maybe just plain eat have it for all three meals? Perhaps this explains the #freshmanfifteen and #reasonIcan’thavegluten… but I do look back fondly on those days of cereal.
As I got older, I honestly tried to be more healthy regarding my consumption of cereal. Like everyone else in the 80’s, I got really into fiber and delighted in cereals like Cracklin’ Oat Bran, Raisin Nut Bran, and Frosted Mini Wheats, thinking I was being super healthy. Well, when your bowl is literally almost to the brim with cereal, my serving sizes weren’t always quite healthy (nobody should leave the breakfast table super full from cereal) and I never considered that the healthy options also had healthy amounts of sugar. But damn, those bowls were amazing.
So, yes, you can see that I’ve always pretty much been obsessed with cereal. So much so that I actually (my words) “ruined my gut” and forced myself to be gluten intolerant. Of course, I’d love to eat all of the above, but at least I’ve got the memories (and a Fred Flintstone coin holder)… and now am quite happy with my green smoothies and coconut yogurt bowls, and am happy to eat clean grains like Purely Elizabeth while I search for a low sugar, gluten free Lucky Charm knock off. Not holdin’ my breath on that one.