Monday, October 11, 2010

Holy Bunches of Oats! Part Two!

I'm nothing if not dedicated to cereal. Really. So when I promised to diligently taste-taste five different flavors of the distinctively delectable cereal Honey Bunches of Oats last week, I meant it. And now, un-bait your breath, dear cereal obsessives: The results are in. But first, a word on how the test went down. Over the course of four or five days, I tried all five cereals with the same type of milk. Also, contrary to my very nature, I abstained from mixing -- all cereals were enjoyed sans accoutrements. And that includes fruit. Just me, one type of cereal, and milk. What I learned both surprised me on some fronts and reinforced my expectations on others. As a reminder, the five varieties were: Almonds (i.e., original), Cinnamon Bunches, Pecan Bunches, Peaches, and Apples and Cinammon Bunches (a LIMITED EDITION box, so rare I felt guilty eating it. Not really.). And now, let's go to the leaderboard, Mo! In order of ascending awesomeness...

5) Peaches. If you read my last post, you'll know that I totally saw this coming (sorry, Jos). I'm just not a big fan of dehydrated fruit in cereals. It's a total cop-out. If you want fruit on your cereal, put some damn fruit on your cereal. None of this "fruit" H.B.o.O. has tried to pass off as bite-size peach slices. The flavor is funky, and the chalky texture is all wrong. What's more, all of the flakes and oat bunches are tinged with the same funky flavor. Not a big fan. In the general pantheon of cereals, I'd rank this around the middle of the pack.

4) Apples and Cinnamon Bunches. See above. The "apple" slices are slightly more palatable than the "peach" slices, retaining a bit of the chewy texture of real dried apples. Are these real? Maybe so, maybe not. But they just have no place in my cereal bowl. They taste artificial (both flavor and texture), they're hard to identify because they're the exact same color and size as the blonde flakes (I like to know what each bite has in store for me... the element of surprise I could do without), and most of all, they don't make a compelling case for apple chunks pairing well with cereal. Apple flavor is great (see Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, et al), but as far as fruit pieces go, I'm not convinced. LIMITED EDITION = eh.

3) Cinnamon Bunches. Now we begin to get into the good stuff. Cinnamon is to cereal heads what crack is to crack heads. Right? Maybe it's just me. But cinnamon, man -- it's great. HOWEVER, cinnamon execution herein leaves a bit to be desired. The texture of this cereal is similar to that of original Honey Bunches of Oats. However, instead of a honey flavor, you get a mediocre cinnamon. It's enough to float my boat, but not enough to sink my battleship.

2) Almonds. This is the original. The OG. The godfather. Etc. And dammit, it's good. The recipe really stands the test of time. I've never got sick of it, and I don't think I ever will. I'm not going to describe the taste here, because if you don't know what Honey Bunches of Oats tastes like, you're probably not really a cereal fan -- that is, you're reading this blog simply to score chicks. There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm sure you'll do fine, but so as to preserve the integrity of this endeavor, please simply leave Cereal Hour open on your browser, or saved prominently in your list of Favorites, and leave the heavy lifting to us.

1) Pecan Bunches. Without much fanfare, I hereby declare Pecan Bunches to be the king of all Honey Bunches of Oats flavors. It has usurped the original, the OG, the Godfather, etc. It has stolen the crown. It has executed a bloodless coup, ascended the ranks, climbed the corporate ladder to the very top, whathaveyou. It's just a great cereal, whether you dig pecans or not. And I do. While retaining most of the appeal and charm of the original, it steps things up a notch with a nutty flavor and crunch that is nearly unrivaled in the cereal aisle. Granted, part of the reason I've given Pecan Bunches the nod over the original, which is very good, is that it's the underdog, the outsider, the newcomer -- and I have a thing for underdogs. I value a taste of something new. Something that both references and improves upon the original. That's no easy feat. So challenge me if you must, but this is my vote: Pecan Bunches in 2010. And thank you for your time.


  1. I can't believe that Peaches got ranked last...and yet, you eat it. I hereby formally request that you cease and desist consuming my favorite and your least favorite Bunches of Oats cereal.

    Thank you for your time, indeed.

  2. i don't eat it. you are mistaken. that is either you, or the rabbit.