In the post below, I mention having cereal for breakfast. If you're a long-time reader of this space, you know I adore Cheerios. While I like their fruit-flavored ones, my all time favorite is original Cheerios. I find them to be perfect World of Warcraft raiding food and will, sometimes, have a bowl next to the computer when I'm playing. Most of the time, ice cold milk and a bowl of Cheerios is a meal, any time.
One thing I've noticed as a difference between Mariano's and Dominicks is the smaller selection of cereals. Dominicks had one full aisle, both sides, with cereal. They jumped into "organic" or "natural" cereals in a big way a couple years ago when they remodeled the store. The selection was huge and included brands I had, heretofore, only seen at Whole Foods. I was thrilled that I didn't have to drive to Whole Foods to get Barbara's Puffins cereal in peanut butter flavor. Dominicks had it.
Mariano's doesn't think like that. Cereal is on one side of one aisle. I can't even tell you what's on the other side. It's divided into General Mills and Cheerios at the west end of the aisle and Kelloggs and Rice Krispies at the east end with a middle section that contains the "organic" and "natural" cereals. The selection overall is thin and, if you are looking for sales, they are few and far between.
I don't have time...well, actually, that's not completely true. I don't make time, during the week to have pancakes or an omelet or yogurt and toast for breakfast. This meal is very important to me because I have to take medication in the morning and some of it needs to be taken with food. Cereal, with it's quick fix speedy glory, means I don't forget that pill line up. Those times I'm really late and swing by Dunkin or Panera for a quick breakfast are the days that I find my medications still in my pants pocket at 3:30 in the afternoon. That's not a good thing. Plus, it just starts your day out better when you can collect your thoughts over a bowl of Cheerios and explain to Mija that she has to wait until the cereal is gone before she gets the milk residue.
At Dominicks, I could count on some cereal being on sale every week. If it wasn't an advertised in the flyer sale, it was a sale by virtue of being a frequent buyer. It wasn't uncommon of me to have 6 boxes of different kinds on the shelf. Ah choice. How I love thee.
Mariano's hasn't, at least in the last 3 months that I've been going there, put as much cereal on sale as Dominicks did. I wonder if cereal on sale was a "loss-leader", meaning dropping the price of a box below or a few pennies above the cost to the store, was a way to get people in the door knowing they would probably buy something not on sale. And there isn't the large selection at Mariano's. Perhaps that is by design. They seem to be more conscious of the subtle and not-so-subtle shifting of the American palate to more healthy foods. I wouldn't buy a box of Frosted Flakes, although if it was on sale for $1.50, you would certainly tempt me. That kind of cereal isn't as readily available as at Dominicks.
One day, while standing in the aisle, looking forlornly at the offerings, I chanced to see a small selection of cereals in the middle, between the General Mills and Kellogg's behemoths. These cereals, limited in kind, were the same size as the box of Cheerios I usually buy but priced a dollar less. Ever conscious of my pocketbook, I bought a box. While it won't replace Cheerios as my all-time favorite, when I'm low, and cereal is on the list, I buy a box of this.
These are good. I bought them because of the price. I go back to them because of the taste. It's comparable to Cinnamon Toast Crunch but different in that it's not as sweet. The cinnamon sugar flavor is there and, if you eat them right out of the box, they are messy. They leave a cinnamon residue in the bowl which prompts Mija to give me a disgusted look because she won't lick out the bowl with the residue in it.
I'm leery of companies that tout their environmental awareness. Mom's Best Cereals doesn't trumpet what they do for the environment on their spartan web site. It's more on the box, itself. All boxes are made from recycled materials. They don't use preservatives. They buy wind credits to off set what energy they use. There's no high-fructose corn syrup to be found in any of their sweetened cereals. While the above kind is my favorite, I have also had their "Blue Pom Wheat Fuls", very similar to Frosted Mini-Wheats, and those were good. They have 6 kinds of instant oatmeal as well as quick-cooking and regular oatmeal. When I make oatmeal, I use Bob's Red Mill Scottish Oats, but, when I need to use oatmeal for something else, I reach for Quaker. I would be hard pressed to change that unless there was a clear price difference, but I'm thinking of giving their instant oatmeal a try. I shy away from instant because the ingredient list on a package of Quaker instant oatmeal reads like War and Peace. I don't need all that stuff in my body.
The take away from this is that, if you chance to see this brand on your store shelf, it comes with my recommendation on a couple of kinds. There are three kinds that I will be trying the next time I need to get cereal. I'll never not have Cheerios on the shelf, but for a change of pace, this seems to be a new, good find. That the boxes are cheaper is a huge plus.
Beverage: English Breakfast Tea