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?