Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cracklin' Oat Bran: Living in Danger

I'm listening to the song "Standing Outside a Broken Telephone Booth With Money in My Hand" by the Primitive Radio Gods, and thinking about Cracklin' Oat Bran. For some reason the two seem to fit. Maybe it's the hollow rectangular shape of the cereal recalling an empty phone booth. Maybe it's the lightly toasted oatmeal taste syncing in my brain with the ethereal piano solo at 2:41. Maybe its the fact that both are outlaws of sorts -- Cracklin' Oat Bran with its unorthodox shape, Primitive Radio Gods with their one-hit-wonderness, both relegated to the sidelines of popular culture, both enjoying a sort of forlorn cult status from the fringes of our popular imagination.

Whatever the reason, Cracklin' Oat Bran has been on my mind. For a good while. Well, for a few days. Until Saturday night, I had actually never tried the stuff. Now I realize it's the XTC or the Beta Band or the Zombies or the Action of the cereal world -- revered by few, forgotten by most. And that's fine. Because mystique is very becoming on cereal, and Cracklin' Oat Bran is nothing if not mysterious. Its squared-off edges and geometric cuts and hard angles seem manufactured in some grey North Korean factory or some underground Montana bunker, infused with military precision and the vestiges of a time when, as Abe Simpson once put it, men's haircuts were so sharp you could set a clock to them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nutritious Bran Treasures Mush

Behold: a cereal name creator. It's kind of stupid. But that didn't stop me from crafting Lucky Dipped Sugar Cubes (TM), a Japanese children's brand; or Sweetened Nut Granola Loops (TM), a healthy alternative to Froot Loops; or even Nutritious Bran Treasures Mush (TM), something you should never, ever eat, yet will nonetheless be appearing on grocery store shelves in Spring 2011.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cereal Remains of the Day

A cereal sage named Wally recently posited an interesting question to me: How does the enlightened cereal consumer handle the fractional remains at the end a cereal box after the last full bowl has been poured? Is this a matter of choice? Or is there a right and a wrong way to do it? I lean strongly toward the former, believing that cereal consumption is a matter near and dear to the soul and that the only potential sin pertaining to cereal is to not eat it at all. But still, it's a question worth addressing: How do we handle such remains, and why?

But first, allow me to clarify: I'm not talking about crumbs or sugar dust from Frosted Mini Wheats or stale Cheerios or anything else unsightly. My advice is to dispatch of such things forthwith. But what about the raisin-less flakes at the end of a box of Raisin Bran? What about the final fifteen Frosted Mini Wheats? What about the last quarter-cup of Rice Krispies?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

S'mores vs. Waffles

I feel like a kid again. What's better: S'mores or waffles? Two of the supermarket's most sugary, unhealthy, unnatural, highly processed, and damn delicious cereals (in small doses, at least) currently reside in my kitchen cabinet, for no reason other than the fact that they were on sale, and I am, on occasion, a sucker for sugary cereals. I have fond memories of Post's Waffle Crisp, a cereal that hasn't been around for ages yet seems to have been reborn as Kellogg's Eggo Cereal. Adjacent to the latter at Pac N Save was an attractive blue box of Smorz cereal. So I picked them both up for $2 a pop.