Cereal: Examining The Quirky, Shaped Food That Shapes Us

national cereal day

CreativeLive has 12 different types of cereal to choose from. It’s a food that brings people together, stirs up conversations, inspires delight. Crafted in a laboratory and designed for optimal everything (did you know there’s even a Journal of Cereal Science?),  this breakfast staple is created with the consumer in mind — and it’s even got its own day, which is March 7.

To celebrate the creativity, inspiration, and experience that is cereal, CreativeLive staffers Lara and Stacie, who are also cereal connoisseurs, sat down to discuss this most quintessential American food.

­What is it about cereal that gets you so excited?

Stacie: I love how there are so many options of cereals. There’s always one to fit your mood for the morning, whether it be more health conscious or sugartastic, you’ve got choices.

Lara: Variety for sure! All the shapes, sizes, flavors, and textures.

­Cereal is such a nostalgic breakfast food. What kind of memories does it bring up for you?

Stacie: I feel like I ate cereal most everyday of my childhood. I remember going over to our neighbor, Jean, who drove me and my sister to school and my mom would pack us with little plastic Tupperware bowls that had our choice of cereal in it. When we would get to Jean’s place she would set up TV trays that would present our breakfast for the morning. It was simple and sweet.

Lara: Cereal for me is a comfort food. Growing up I would always have a bowl in the morning and then again after school. After school I was usually at a friends house, whose parents bought the good cereal (i.e. anything with sugar). Cereal was also a point of conflict between me and my mom. I’d try and sneak captain crunch into the cart when we’d go grocery shopping, and she’d only ever allow us GrapeNuts. Sometimes we’d get to have Cheerios, but they were off brand and never tasted right.

­The million dollar question: What are some of your favorite cereals and why?

Stacie: Oh, man. So, for the sugar and nostalgia factor of it all I have a soft spot of Fruitie Pebbles, Apple Jacks, Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries (duh), Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs, and Apple Cinnamon Cherrios.

For the more healthy choices I would have to say Udi’s Granola Cereal, Puffins, and Rice Chex. The sugary cereals make me think of growing up and playing outside with my best friend who lived next door.

The healthier cereals are the ones I eat now. It’s sorta funny how cereal lineage could mimic “growing up”, the older you get the sense of adventure and carefree sorta fades into making more responsible decisions, aka healthier cereals.

Though, I still like to live on the edge and eat some of my old favorites from time to time. Every Halloween I can’t help it and have to buy Count Chocula.

Lara: Captain Crunch is at the top of my list, because it is amazing. On the other side of the spectrum is granola, because it has so many applications.

national cereal day

­Do you use milk (or milk alternative like soy or almond)? What are your thoughts about using yogurt? ­How about adding some fruit or nuts to the mix?

Stacie: I’ve used all types of dairy product to aid my cereal needs. Recently, I’ve been dabbling with almond milk, which for the most part is good, but sometimes changes the cereal flavor. That goes the same with soy milk. I feel like milk is the classic choice for me and yogurt is good substitute but really only for the larger grained cereals like granola or mini wheats. I’m always for adding fruit to cereal deamed “boring” like chex or cherrios because it does add a little more taste that makes you feel like you’re being healthy. I don’t think I’ve added nuts before. Now I have something new to try!

Lara: I love vanilla almond milk. greek yogurt is good, too. Adding yogurt, fruit and nuts to the mix is a much different experience versus milk. This allows the user to eat cereal multiple times throughout the day without it feeling boring or repetitive.

­Did you ever collect cereal boxes (i.e. Wheaties Olympic or specialty movie/tv show cereals)?

Stacie: Yes, and my  mom might still have some of them up in the attic. I know I collected some Star Wars cereal that came out when the movies got re-release and a Corn Puffs box that had the Riddler from Batman Forever on it. There were probably others but if it had anything to do with superheroes or movies I probably kept it.

Lara: I never collected boxes, but I was obsessed with the back of them. I would read them over and over while eating breakfast, and look at the pictures. Maybe this played a role in me pursuing graphic design!

­As an adult, do you feel proud that you have control of your cereal choices?

Stacie: I don’t know if proud is the right word for me. I feel like I have more responsibility to eat well but there are times when I can’t help myself. When I was a kid my parents would always buy the less sugary cereals so now that I have the power to be able to have whatever I want, sometimes I cave in and eat a wonderfully sugary bowl of Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries! And boy does it feel good!

Lara: It’s pretty liberating to buy any cereal I want. I take this for granted!

­What are your thoughts on the more healthy cereals and do you eat them?

Stacie: Well, we buy them more then not now a days. I feel like being an adult, well sorta an adult, I lean toward the cereals that might be better for me, though still like getting some sweet ones like Peanut Butter Puffins. I just know that I will never get Oat Bran cereal. Mark my words I will never be that health conscious where I will eat cardboard!

Lara: Peanut Butter Puffins are my jam! They are the best straight out of the box.

­What are your favorite cereals to mix?

  cereal-combo  national cereal day

Stacie: At work I had been doing Cinnamon Toast Crunch with Cheerios which sorta makes Cinnamon Cheerios. Others I like to mix are Mini Wheats with Honey Bunches of Oats.

Lara: This one I’ve had a lot of practice with. It’s 70% Kix, and 30% granola. Sometimes i’ll add a sprinkle of cocoa puffs  or cinammon toast crunch.

­What’s the worst cereal you’ve ever had?

Stacie: I was never a fan of Cookie Crunch. I guess I never got the idea of cookies for breakfast even when I was a kid. I do remember having it once and the cookie/cereal past just got all mushie in the milk. It was gross

Lara: GrapeNuts. You can’t hear anything while you’re eating it!

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