Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Weird, and Not in a Good Way

I love cereal. I love it so much I'll eat cereal for lunch and dinner and snack on it at night or mid-afternoon. I can go through a box of cereal in a flash, if it's really good.

Unfortunately, cereal prices are subject to the whims of grain prices. With the current drought in most states in the nation's midsection, cereal prices are bound to rise. Cheerios is made with oats. Wheaties are made with wheat. Corn Flakes are made with, well, you get the idea. All of these commodities are subject to the worst drought conditions since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930's. Less product, more expensive to purchase and that gets passed along to us.

Therefore, when you're looking at your finances, a rise of a dollar a box, as I've seen predicted by summer, is going to hurt me. It behooves me to look at alternative breakfast choices. Maybe it's time to go generic or store brand.

This past grocery shopping trip saw no cereal on my shelf. That means I need to buy at least 4 boxes of the stuff to make it through the month. Yes, that's a box a week but, like I said, I love cereal and it's not unusual for me to have Cheerios for supper because I'm too tired to cook anything else. I generally buy what's on sale but even sale prices are almost double, in some cases, what the generic or store brand is regular price. So, one store brand found its way into the cart. To the right is the store brand's "Life" equivalent. It was only $1.99 for a large box.

It's not as sweet as the named brand. My first reaction was, "Well, I'm not buying this again." But as I finished off the bowl I wondered just how much sugar is in regular Life. Maybe this is what I should be eating. I think I will give this a chance to grow on me. I can't beat the price. Life was "on sale" 2/$5.00 for a smaller box than this. If you have the idea that the only good thing is the name brand, you'll never branch out and find something just as good for less money. I'm going to continue to give this a try. There are other store brand versions of cereals that I like. I need to give them a chance, too. Saving $10 on cereal every month is a winning proposition.

There was also a special edition on the shelf. I like Special K and the chocolate version. Adding strawberries might take this to a whole different level of goodness. It wasn't on sale but was intriguing enough that I bought a box. Maybe it will make a good snacking cereal too. I love to eat the chocolate version straight out of the box when I'm raiding with my guild in World of Warcraft. I figure, compared to other things I could eat, cereal isn't too bad for me to snack on in the evening.

I poured out a bowl of this and took a look.

Granted, this is taken with my cell phone but look at those strawberries. I understand you can't put fresh strawberries in a box, but to me, their dried, shriveled, curled up look is unappealing. In this fashion, the taste of strawberry is all but lost. It was like snacking on strawberry scented cardboard chunks. Well, this isn't going to be a cereal I eat during World of Warcraft play, that's for sure.

Maybe it will be better with milk. Nope. The strawberries don't puff out when immersed in milk. You're still eating these dried dessicated strawberry things. There was little in the way of chocolate chunks, too. In the chocolate version of this cereal, there are large chunks of chocolate throughout the cereal. Here, there was chocolate but in a quarter the size of the other version. This is just weird, and not in a good way.

I guess the whole motivation for this cereal is to get people to eat more fruit. Combine it with chocolate and we'll eat pretty much anything. Well, it fails on both accounts. The strawberries are a shadow of their former selves and the chocolate has been thinned to small slivers you miss unless you're searching for them. At $4.29 a box, this is too expensive to be anything more than a one time thing.

I can still get strawberries. Granted, they come from Chili and tend to be a bit less sweet than locally grown, available fresh at the beginning of July strawberries, but I can get them. In fact, I had fresh strawberries for breakfast yesterday, ate the whole quart. They were good.

So file this under "I ate it so you don't have to". I think you'd do much better to forget the dried strawberry cereal and either buy yourself some Chili-grown strawberries or get a banana and slice it onto your Special K. You'll save yourself some money and the result has got to be better than this.

Beverage: Irish Breakfast tea


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