From an early age we are taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and constantly bombarded with advertisements of kids performing better with a bowl of Weet-Bix under their belt. Even now my mum still regularly cites the ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper’ routine.
Take a look at the layout of most supermarkets and you’ll notice the breakfast cereal aisle comes about a third of the way in (not as prominent as ‘confectionary’ but better than boring neccessities like toilet paper and soap) and takes up one whole side. Gone are the days when there was just oats and one or two other cereals. Now there is everything from Fruit Loops, to Cocoa Pops, to Nutri-Grain, to Weeties.
Anastacia Marx de Salcedo labels the breakfast cereal as the ‘characteristic carb’ of America, in comparison to China’s rice and Egypt’s bread. In her article, The breakfast liberation front, which featured in US online publication, Salon, Marx de Salcedo states,
“For almost half a century, the American public has been happily chowing down out of boxes, cans, pouches and bags… Cold cereal is our lodestar, our old faithful, our most quintessential food.”
Despite the claims, not all breakfast cereals are nutritional, with many having a very high sugar content. And as obesity is still on the rise in many Western countries, the problem in America may have something to do with the fact that “ready-to-eat cereal… is the No. 3 supermarket top-seller, ringing up about $9 billion in annual sales.” And with the ever increasing advertising targeting children, these sales of sugar-rich cereals aren’t likely to fall.
Next time you find yourself a third of the way in, surrounded by brightly coloured boxes of cereal claiming to be nutrient-rich, take a moment and think about what your actually eating.
Here’s one to try at home:
“Test-drive this cuddly recipe, home bakers: Take oat flour, corn starch, sugar, salt, vitamin E, trisodium phosphate (also used to prep wood for painting), calcium carbonate and that old food-industry standby “Natural Flavors” (not!). Mix with water to form a slurry (a sticky paste)and ram into a narrow chamber with a long, twisted screw, until it shoots out an O-shaped orifice at the other end. Slice into toroids(that’s doughnut shapes to you), load into puffer and explode under 200 psi. Voilà! Cheerios!” – Anastacia Marx de Salcedo, Salon.com.