STATESIDE STORIES: The Iconic Cereal Bowl

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by Mary Foran

Roaming through the aisles of a typical American grocery store, you will probably notice that there is usually one aisle dedicated to that great American breakfast food: CEREAL!

Not just one kind of cereal, but dozens of brand names that most Americans know and love.

My Spanish niece couldn’t believe her eyes when she first saw the cereal aisle: so many choices the mind boggles!

Cereal aisle/Rex Roof via flickr, CC BY 2.0

Cereal aisle

Americans’ love affair with breakfast cereals starts with babies’ “Pablum”, a soft,warm, palatable type of porridge which is easy to administer to a fussy child.

Then, as the child grows, come the more colorful ones with cartoon characters and brand-name mascots on the boxes. They are served with cold milk and, of course, a glass of juice. Some names to look for are “Trix”, “Lucky Charms” or the “snap, crackle and pop” of “Rice Crispies”.

For the older child, there are “Kellog’s Corn Flakes”, “Wheat”, “Rice” and “Corn Chex”, Cinnamon “Life” or the crunchiness of “Grape Nuts”. Healthier alternatives include “Granola” in all its forms, full of oats and nuts and berries.

If you prefer it hot, how about “Instant Quaker Oats” or “Cream of Wheat”?

The truth be told, breakfasts can be quite substantial in America, and many restaurants offer it 24 hours a day. One visitor we had from the Isle of Wight on England’s southern coast actually took pictures of diners and their large portions. She was shocked and so were the guests!

Americans just love their breakfast cereals, no matter how expensive they have become with the inevitable inflation that plagues every economy. Everyone, it seems, has their own favorite cereal, which brings back memories of before school meals: on-the-go, eaten quickly, before the school bus came (or before a parent drove you to school!).

Nowadays, a breakfast burrito or an egg-and-sausage sandwich are popular from a fast-food restaurant, or if you really don’t have time to waste, there are toastable “Pop-tarts” and “Eggo Waffles” to enjoy!

American breakfast/Rene Schwietzke,via flickr, CC BY2.0

American breakfast

A really typical American breakfast includes eggs cooked in a variety of ways, toast of any kind with jams, sausage or ham, and pancakes with real butter and real maple syrup!

Remember, “breakfast” is just that: a break to your all-night fast!

Doctors recommend at least a piece of toast with peanut butter on it for the protein. They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day to get your engine started and maintained throughout the day.

“Hash Browns” are also on the breakfast menu: shredded potatoes browned on the grill!

A breakfast of just cafe con leche and croissant con mermelada/Kathryn Yengel via flickr, CC BY-ND2.0

A breakfast of just cafe con leche and croissant con mermelada

When I lived in Spain, my breakfasts consisted of a “cafe con leche con croissant a la plancha con mermalada.” (I never counted calories!) That kept me going all day!

Now I count calories even less, with a slice of cinnamon-raisen bread slathered with Philadelphia cream cheese, peanut butter and Blackberry Jam (blackberries grow like weeds here!). I add a cup of hot milk with Instant Coffee to taste (a substitute for a real cafe con leche!) and lo and behold, I have a scrumptious start to my busy day!

Seeing the abundance and plenty offered in American grocery stores really surprised my niece, who quickly came to the conclusion that “Americans are spoiled” by having so many choices available.

Photo by frontriver via Flickr, CC BY2.0

She could be right, in that we may not appreciate just how lucky we are in the States. But there’s another side to it: Americans work hard and believe in the motto that “the customer is always right”. If it’s choices they want, that’s what businesses try to offer.

Maybe more choices would work in Spain as well! The coming generation might take that into consideration…




Featured image by musicfanatic29 via Flickkr, CC BY2.0
Cereal aisle by Rex Roof via Flickr, CC BY2.0
American breakfast by Rene Schwietzke, CC BY2.0
Breakfast of croissant and coffee by Kathryn Yengel via Flickr, CC BY-ND2.0
“The customer is always right” by frontriver via Flickr CC BY2.0