What’s for Breakfast?
Trip with me back to the mornings of yesteryear. Those times when we bounded out of bed, scarfed a bowl of cornflakes, and headed for the school bus.
As a kid, I especially remember Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions. Rather then bore us with its “nutritional value,” Wheaties inspired us with photos of sports figures, such as Lou Gehrig, Dizzy Dean, Jesse Owens, and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. The clever advertising implied that by eating their cereal, you, too, could be a champion.
The Mascots of the Cereal Aisle
Now cereal boxes feature such mascots as the Trix Rabbit. Hmm . . . eat their cereal and you’ll be able to run as fast as a jackrabbit. Watch yourself soar to new heights after following the advice of the Cocoa Puff bird.
Munch on Lucky Charms and you’ll acquire all the charisma of an Irish leprechaun. Or follow the example of Tony the Tiger and you’ll have biceps big enough to punch out any bully who comes your way.
As a kid, I preferred the boxed cereals that came with a trinket. Pep offered a comic character button, that I collected. When my mother and I unpacked the groceries, the first thing I did was to run my unwashed, little hand down to the bottom of the cereal package to fetch the prize.
A St. Patrick’s Day Salute: Breakfast on the Emerald Isle
It being close to St. Patrick’s Day, I pulled out a photo of a what’s called a Full-Irish Breakfast—at least, in the travel brochures. I’ve eaten the hearty mélange in the morning each time I was in Ireland.
The colorful and filling meal most often comes with sausage, rashers (thick cuts of bacon), black pudding, blood sausage, white pudding, baked beans, and grilled tomatoes. It’s a heavy way to start the day unless you’re a farm hand or a traveler in sightseeing mode.
How Did We Get from Grass to Granola?
How did all this cereal eating come about? I asked Siri about this and found out that the cavemen (cavepersons) probably ate grasses. Such as wild rice, quinoa wild oats, and barley. As to protein, it required a serious hunt to literally “bring home the bacon.”
Not until the Middle Ages would mankind, (hmm. . . or, personkind) move onto porridge. By the beginning of the 20th century, a clever guy named Kellogg came up with today’s version of cereals.
We’ve Come a Long Way
By the time I came along, kids were starting the day with mushy bowls of cooked oatmeal or cream of wheat. But after the war, corporate America lured us into eating prefab cereals every morning.
To entice children to the product, sugar was added. I don’t know what the next incarnation of breakfast cereals holds, but I most often start the day with oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit with a granola topping—unless I’m visiting in Ireland.
Lisa Schlesinger says
Before I dive into the breakfast foods of yesteryear…and yesterday…I have to tell you how much I loved your writing on the Hill. Now I have a destination grocery that can anchor my exploration, and your description of their products helps me plan ahead. I shared the post with my youngest son…it’s a race to see who can get there first. Thank you for the post and for the fun ahead.