Most Saturdays when I was a kid, my dad would make us waffles, sausage or bacon and dirty eggs for breakfast. For those of you who don’t come from a Southern or rural background, dirty eggs are scrambled eggs that have been cooked in the same skillet as the sausage or bacon in the left over grease. On Sundays, there wasn’t really much time to cook breakfast because we went to church pretty early. So Mom always made us those canned Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with the icing and orange juice from concentrate. But the rest of the week we had cold cereal for breakfast, with the occasional Malt-O-Meal thrown in for good measure.
Let me just come out and say it, I’m a big fan of cereal. Probably not quite on the Seinfeld level but pretty close. Whether its the sugary, honeyed, no-nutritional-value-whatsoever kid’s cereal or the fiber-filled, hearty, good-for-you adult cereal, I pretty much love them all. So today, I thought I would rank the top five cereals in both categories.
Top 5 “Adult” Cereals
#5. Shredded Wheat – I’m not talking about the wimpy spoon sized shredded wheat but the original kind that were called biscuits under the serving information. You would put two biscuits in your bowl and have to smash it up to actually eat it. It just has a really great crunchy flavor.
#4. Life Cereal – Now I know this was marketed as a kid’s cereal with the whole Mikey likes it bit. But it really isn’t. If they added any sweetener to it it was certainly a negligible amount. The great thing about this cereal is that it pretty much stayed crunchy in milk forever. You could pour yourself a bowl, go mow the back forty, and it would still be crunch when you get back. I’m not sure why you would want to do that because then the milk would be all warm, and I can’t stand anything but cold milk on my cereal. But hey man, if that’s your thing, whatever. Far be it from me to tell you how to eat your cereal…
#3. Grape-Nuts – Despite the confusing name; there are no grapes or nuts in this cereal. And despite the disconcerting feeling that I’m on the verge of breaking a tooth every time I eat it, I love this cereal. This is the king of the stays-crunchy-in-milk cereals. I imagine that if scientists could genetically engineer a milk that would instantly saturate breakfast cereals, rendering them nothing but mush, you could deluge Grape Nuts with the stuff and it would still be rock hard. And it tastes good as well.
#2. Cheerios – Who doesn’t like cheerios? Loving Cheerios seems to be hard wired into the human genome. The next time you go to a mall, look at the all the babies being pushed around in strollers. What are they stuffing into their faces? Cheerios. I have always loved this cereal and, even as kid, was slightly suspicious of it’s inferior, bastard half-brother Honey Nut Cheerios. Give me a bowl of Cheerios, slice half a banana into it and pour some cold milk on…mmmmm pure breakfast nirvana (the heaven-like state of being, not the band).
#1. Kellogg’s Raisin Bran – It was tough to decide between this and Cheerios for the number one slot, but two scoops pulled through. The great flavor combination of the naturally sweet raisins and the bran flakes is just impossible to beat.
Top 5 “Kid” Cereals
#5. Count Chocula – I had a fierce internal debate on this one. I’m a fan of the cereal with marshmallows in it, but which one to choose? You’ve got your Lucky Charms which are magically delicious. And then as counterparts to Count Chocula you have Franken Berry and Boo Berry. But Count Chocula won out because of the Chocolate. Most kids like chocolate and the translation to cereal is usually pretty tasty.
#4. Corn Pops – The great thing about Corn Pops is that they’re not overly sweet like some kid cereals. They have just the right amount of sugar to really compliment the corn taste. I also think that the corn puff is infinitely superior to the rice puff, which is why I always preferred these to the Super Sugar Smacks.
#3. Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries – I never was a big fan of Cap’n Crunch (any of the varieties) when I was growing up. Although they do stay crunchy in milk, they also have a tendency to cut the roof of your mouth. I became a fan of Crunch Berries however when my wife was pregnant with our first daughter. For whatever reason, she craved Crunch Berries throughout her pregnancy and it was the only cereal we had in the house. So there’s probably a sentimental reason for my liking them so much now.
#2. Cookie Crisp (chocolate chip) – I remember the first time I saw a commercial for this cereal on TV. I was stoked! The slogan was great: “You can’t have cookies for breakfast, but you can have Cookie Crisp!” The first time we got a box, my mom had to ration it or I would have eaten Cookie Crisp cereal for every meal. There’s just something great about having chocolate chip cookies (one of my all-time favorite cookies) as a cereal. I still love this cereal.
#1. Fruit Loops – Whenever I was a kid and given the choice of what cereal to get, Fruit Loops would usually win out. They stay crunchy in milk, the’ve got a great fruity taste and they turn the milk into an ambrosia fit for the Olympian gods. You’ve also got to love Toucan Sam.
Honorable mention. Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs – I know this cereal doesn’t exist, but I really wish it did! Calvin’s favorite cereal exemplifies what kids look for in a cereal: chocolate and sugar in copious amounts.