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Insane in the Grain

February 1st, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  6 Comments

This picture is of our cupboard’s cereal section, which is large enough to fit a mid-size military commissary. But it’s all just for us–two adults and two small kids. Refilling all these bins yesterday made me realize: we might have a cereal problem.

I have written before about my anger at the corporate grainpimps of America, who try to shill their sugar-cereals directly to my preschoolers. But I’m deeply ambivalent about even “healthy” cereals. The question is, is daily cereal for breakfast really a good idea at all?

Part of my angst dates back twenty years, to my days as was naive young cereal-eating American going to high school in Europe. The northern German breakfast, I learned, is a fastidious little spread with several dry flatbreads, maybe a slice of buttered toast, thin slices of cured meats and mild cheeses, a soft-boiled egg, and, as often as not, candles and linen. Seriously. Even in my loucher living situations there—sharing a ramshackle apartment with the bass player from my band—breakfast still seemed to be a near-ritual. We could have been up all night drinking, smoking and rocking or whatever the hell I did as a teenager, and still: Eggs. Prosciutto. Doilies.

Contrast that with the cereal routine. Find a big bowl or small basin. Pour in processed grains. Add dairy. Lower face to bowl. Shovel. Refill.

Not all that different from trough-feeding hogs in a factory farm, and now my kids are into it, too. So much so that to inspire them to drag their asses out of the bed in the morning, I try to get them to focus on what combination of cereal they’d like in their trough/bowl: rice krispies? kashi? A mix?

On the weekend, we’ll feed them, without irony, bacon from pigs who were fattened on the same cereal-diet. Sometimes the kids get pancakes. Or an egg. Since we got the one-pot, like Ebert, we’ve taken to porridge from time to time. But is that any healthier? Short of the German breakfast banquet (which I am just too lazy/tired/pressed for time to do every morning), what should we be feeding them for breakfast? An egg every day seems a little hard on the arteries, but who knows.

Calling all you amateur nutritionists out there: what should be for Frühstück?


  1. Matt says:

    February 1st, 2011at 10:14 am(#)

    How about some fucking yogurt?

  2. Kat says:

    February 1st, 2011at 10:31 am(#)

    Ahh…you, sirs, are why I love this website.

    Any mommy-oriented website would be full of the wailing and gnashing of whack-job teeth after that article. (And truly–what to do? Force myself to eat breakfast? Don’t worry about it? What non-carb options are there that don’t require me to look at a stove before 1030 am?)

    My answer has been yogurt. But now, it will be…fucking yogurt :).

  3. Shane says:

    February 1st, 2011at 7:45 pm(#)

    Yoghurt yes, but m’lady asks “Where’s the fucking fruit”? She’s been fermenting beets and turnips with whey these days and the shit is real good, so maybe she’s channeling some good tips. She adds, “Brown rice, yoghurt, and the fruit reels ’em in, ’cause it’s sweet. Honey for the finicky ones”.

  4. Matt says:

    February 2nd, 2011at 8:27 am(#)

    How about some fucking Smuckers?

  5. Nathan says:

    February 2nd, 2011at 9:49 am(#)

    Fermenting beets and turnips with whey?! Sounds like a survivalists breakfast. How about some fucking armageddon flakes?

  6. karen says:

    February 5th, 2011at 8:16 pm(#)

    fucking homemade yogurt? that’s what my kids have been asking for all fucking week, seeing as I had other pressing matters to attend to and the fucking yogurt got missed.

    mine get cheerios, pseudo or real rice crispies and, on special occasions – read: when on sale – the fabulous cereal they consider sugared: strawberry special K.

    I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I am failing as a purveyor of health.

    Oh shit. Kat was right.

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