2 April 10 • MAV Sunday, August 7th, 2011 Lately I have been in the mood for cereal and I honestly have no idea why. After graduating college I moved to Chicago and got my first real flat with Hilary, one of my best friends. We ate our bowl of cereal most mornings for years. It was our standard breakfast, we never questioned it and we loved it. Somewhere into my late twenties cereal stopped making its way into my shopping basket. I just sort of lost interest. Then into my early thirties most items packaged in boxes basically jumped off my radar entirely and I even started thinking ill of cereal. ‘Just a bunch of sugar!’ I scolded and tipped my nose in the air as I walked past the cereal aisle. But lately … well, lately it’s all I think about! I can’t honestly say that I think about having it as my main course for breakfast, I need a hot plate of food these days, but as a snack in the late morning or afternoon, as a compliment to my hot breakfast or as a late-night snack. Cereal! Bag broken open, fresh and crispy, poured into a bowl and topped with cold rice, soy or hemp milk (cow milk straight up doesn’t agree with me). Mmmmm! And thus begins one of the silliest dispatches I have and probably will ever make here at 3191 Miles Apart. I am doing a two-part cereal exposé! Now, mind you, I’m not talking about your basic cereals, I’m still too sugar-weary for that. My cereals have all been chosen from the ‘natural’ aisle at the grocer and are somewhat ‘wholesome’. I made sure the ingredients list was not too long and that I basically knew what those ingredients were (it drives me crazy when I look at a box and don’t know an ingredient). I also tried to keep the sugar below 6g which is no small task in the cereal aisle. This week … a basic taste test without milk (see below). Next week … I will have a bowl each day, see how they ‘sit’ with me (by ‘sit’ I mean do they stick with me, make me feel nourished, balanced and all around happy) and report back to you. Please note: I like to add my own little details to everything so I chose very plain cereals in hopes that when adding milk next week I could also add toasted coconut, fresh raisins, chopped walnuts, whatever. I’ll let you know the best combos I find! And one disclaimer: no cereal was wasted in the making of this dispatch. Who loves cereal??? Are you with me??? Let’s go! I have listed these in order of my preference taking into consideration only the dry test. Top Prize: Cascadian Farm Purely O’s — First thing I thought when I tried these is, ‘Oh yeah. These are tasty!’ I really like the feel of these (light), the taste (a little sweet but still oat-y) and I have a good feeling they will be even more delicious with milk. 2nd: Barbara’s Original Puffins — Love that you can taste the molasses in these. Definitely can feel the balance of 5g of sugar to the 2g of protein … these are nearly a sweet treat in my book. Very light and all around outstanding! 3rd: Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice — Um, this tastes just like brown rice. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. It’s not sweet at all, which I like, instead it has a very earthy flavor. I will need to add goodies to this once it’s in milk. Might win the prize at that time but right now it’s dead in the middle. 4th: Nature’s Path Fruit Juice Sweetened Corn Flakes — I added this into the mix for purely sentimental reasons. This was one of my top cereals back in the day (I ate gluten-free for a while) and I was even eating a bowl of it when I found out about the World Trade Centers on 9/11. Today I feel the crisp here is still unmatched. It’s like having corn chips but they are tinier and sweeter. I do find, however, that there is almost a machine-like taste to these dry. Hard to explain but they don’t taste natural; they taste a little metallic. We’ll see what the milk adds if anything. 5th: Kashi Go Lean — I wanted to include one of the Kashi cereals since they seem to have so many in the cereal aisle but I am already kicking myself for choosing this one. It’s too sweet! And it sort of has a heavy-handed bulkier taste. I’ll see if the milk calms it all down a bit … still trying to be open-minded. I will say one thing for it, it would make wonderful confetti at a party! : : : Whew. I don’t know about you but I’m hungry! See you next week for installment number two. Cheers!