Chow Down

Once again, it’s time to celebrate cereal. Yes, it’s National Cereal Day in America.

We’ve embraced cereal in America. The ready to eat stuff first originated in the 1800s. Pouring it into bowls and adding something to it is standard breakfast fare in many houses.

Back as a kid, my favorite was Wheaties. Yes, I was a Breakfast of Champions guy. The flavor was so-s0 but I believed in the advertising. My little sister was strictly a Cheerios person. It was Cheerios or nuttin’. This was back in the day when all that was available were those basic miniature oat inner tubes. She did like adding banana to it.  On Saturdays, the practice was done to the sounds of the Roadrunner and Bugs Bunny, cool friends to have.

Mom liked it because we could ‘make our own’ breakfast without involving electricity and sharp objects. I liked making a game out of it, racing around the kitchen while multi-tasking, grabbing the ingredients, bowl and utensils in the fewest possible steps and motions.

Unfortunately, the refrigerator wasn’t properly grounded. We were warned never to touch the refrigerator handle and the counter at the same time, but in my quest for speed, that’s what I did.

I can still feel that current coursing through me.

My reaction was apparently to scream and cry with pain. Mom came racing in. “What happened?” I told her I’d been shocked. “Well, keep it down,” she replied. “You’ll wake the baby.”

Blaming the Wheaties for my error while acknowledging that Wheaties essentially tasted like wet cardboard, I switched to Raisin Bran. It was my go-to for about a dozen years. Oh, I tried Kix, Trix, Coco Puffs and Life. I think Lucky Charms, Count Chocula and other disgusting, sugary cereals came out then. I tried them at friends’ houses during sleep-overs and found them repulsive.

I liked Puffed Rice and Shredded Wheat for a long time, but they gave way to my all-time favorite: Grape-Nuts. I put very little milk or sugar on them. It was, my wife noticed when I introduced them to her, like eating a mouthful of gravel. I found chewing rocks personally rewarding. Maybe it’s the Neanderthal in me.

They were once tried with beer, Miller Lite, I believe, just to see how that worked. It provoked a shrug sort of response, meaning, not good, not bad, just different.

But eventually, I drifted into eating oat meal regularly. Organic steel-cut instant oats (now GF and non-GMO) with a little brown sugar and cinnamon, berries, fruit and walnuts have been my breakfast preference for the past dozen years. And today, in honor of National Cereal Day, I had pancakes.

What’s life without whimsy?

Probably Cheerios.



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