A Cereal Childhood

by Holly on October 18, 2010

in breakfast,dinner,family,lunch,reviews

Growing up, the Everythingtarian family was a devout, cereal-eating bunch.

We ate it for breakfast.

We often ate it for lunch.

And yes, on those neverending days when Mama Everythingtarian was sick of wiping snot, making pot after pot of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese and taking care of more than five daycare kids in addition to her own four daughters, we ate it for dinner too.

Whenever I found myself clutching my grumbling stomach in dire need of sustenance to survive my years of childhood sans kwashiorkor, I knew there was no point in whining to Mama E about it. Mostly because I already knew what she would say…

“Have a bowl of cereal.”

In case you needed confirmation: yes, I was a drama queen from a very young age.

I distinctly remember the one time Daddy Everythingtarian tried to make us French toast. I was eight years old. Mama E had left for work when Daddy E sprung into the kitchen offering his four precious daughters piping hot French toast on a Saturday morning.

Can you imagine the excitement me and my freshly-awoken Medusa hair felt in that moment? I was as excited for this French toast breakfast as I would be later that year when I received a Troll doll, bright blue windsuit AND Ren + Stimpy dinner tray for Christmas.

While Daddy E makes a killer bacon + eggs breakfast and can grill with the best of ’em, I soon learned sweet breakfasts are just not his thing.

He forgot to put milk in the eggs.

Ten minutes later, two slices of soggy bread weighing about five pounds each plopped onto my eagerly-awaiting plate. My eight-year-old self even knew something was inherently wrong upon discovering the middle was still raw.

I took one look down at my plate and asked, “Dad, will you hand me the Cap’n Crunch?”

And so for the majority of my first 18 years of life on this Earth, cereal it was.

While my palate has since matured and ventured deeply into the Everythingtarian world of yog messes, oatmeal, Oaty Cakes and PB+B toast, nothing will ever replace a bowl of ice cold milk and cereal for breakfast.

Sometimes, I still dream of our cereal cabinet, which was the rectangular one right about the oven that could fit approximately 10 cereal boxes.

We had Kix.

We had Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

We had Total.

We had Lucky Charms.

We had Cracklin’ Oat Bran.

Most importantly, we ALWAYS had Honey Nut Cheerios.

You can imagine my excitement then upon finally getting to my last bag of 3 Sisters Cereal to discover it was a environmentally-friendly version of this #1 family favorite…

Nothing but whole grains and a touch of honey (but sadly, no nuts).

Just one cup of this cereal has 120 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and immunity-boosting amounts of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus…

The verdict? The Marshmallow Oaties were good.

The Sweet Wheat was even better.

And the Honey Oaties? The best.

While I needed about three bowls of this to fill Grown-Up Holly’s stomach, I thoroughly enjoyed each and every crunchy, delicious bite.

If I had been able to enjoy it with a glass of orange juice and the loud, rageful sounds of my three sisters pulling each others’ hair while listening to Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby” in the background, I would have been immediately transported to 1991. If I had been able to enjoy it with a glass of orange juice while getting my own curly mop of hair pulled, I would have been immediately transported to 2001.

In the Everythingtarian house, hair pulling is still an effective tool to get what you want.

Instead, I ate the Three Sisters cereal for breakfast.

I often ate it for lunch.

And yes, I ate it for dinner too.

I may be 25 years old now, but I’m still not risking the kwashiorkor.


Jamie @ Tearaveler October 18, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Baha kwashiorkor.. don’t mean to laugh – I just remember learning about it in my days as a dietetics major and didn’t have to look it up!
Anyway – cereal fam right here too! Pretty sure thats my little sister’s go-to meal any time of the day ( the cooking genes weren’t spread evenly between the four of us… =) or maybe it’s just what we do in the Minny, that and hot dish!

glidingcalm October 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm

haha i just posted about three sisters cereal!! it is awesomeeeee!

Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) October 18, 2010 at 9:28 pm

We never had the “good cereals” but my Aunt had a cereal drawer full of sweet and sugary cereal. It was the best :) I actually almost bought some Golden Grahams yesterday…hmmm.

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I love cereal – when in doubt, that’s what’s for dinner!!! We always had cinnamon toast crunch in my house. Delicious.

hippierunner October 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

You have me wanting cereal now! Luckily, I made a very random purchase of Cap’n Crunch yesterday! I couldn’t resist the retro box.

Sarah B. October 18, 2010 at 9:40 pm

My parents only ever let my sister and I put sprinkles of sugary cereal on top of our bowls of cheerios…now that I am an adult, I can eat all the bowls of sugary kids’ cereal that I want :)

The story of your dad’s failed attempt at making french toast reminds of the time that my grandpa made my sister and me pancakes. He knew that we loved pancakes and so he made us pancakes in the shapes of animals. They were terrible, they were burnt and kind of rubbery. My sister and I refused to eat them :)

janetha October 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm

HOLLY. dude! that’s it, we are destined. my family was the exact same way. cereal coming out our ears. and honey nut cheerios were MY FAVORITE. yup! i got the 3 sisters cereals (and have indeed been eating them for B L & D) but didn’t get those! i am so bummed. i got the frosted mini wheat ones, the cinnamon toast crunch and the lucky charms. i despise lucky charms. i would always eat out the little cereal pieces and leave the mallows behind. at least marshall likes it! anyway, i love this post, i love you, and i love cereal.

claire October 18, 2010 at 9:51 pm

So funny because I ate french toast my mother made almost everyday and we were never allowed sugary cereal but plain cheerios. I love this story though Holly…love food and family stories!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans October 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm

We never got “sugar cereal.” I’m pretty sure we got something called “flax o’s.” Thanks hippie parents.

Amy B @ Second City Randomness October 18, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Cereal was my thing growing up, too. And I still go through stages now. My roommate from a couple years ago was amazed that I polished off an entire box of Go Lean crunch in approximately 2 days. I can’t help but crave the carbs… good stuff!

VeggieGirl October 18, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Confession = I eat cereal for breakfast and dinner. A lot.

amanda October 18, 2010 at 10:55 pm

nuttin’ wrong with cereal for breakfast, lunch AND dinner. it doesn’t matter if you’re 5 or 25…there is just something about the comfort in cereal.

Katie October 18, 2010 at 11:05 pm

I can’t even tell you how many times I heard “Eat a bowl of cereal” and happily obliged. That was one thing we ALWAYS had and all hell would break lose if we ran out of milk. Also, it was the only time I’d drink milk…although I’d never slurp up the nasty leftover milk.

Mimi (Gingersnaps) October 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Oooh, cereals are so nostalgic for me! My grandpa always had Total. My mom always liked to keep Golden Grahams around, though I called it “sugar bears.” Oh, and can’t forget Cheerios and Frosted Miniwheats.

I hated Raisin Bran growing up, because I hated raisins…but now I really like it.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) October 19, 2010 at 12:26 am

the house i grew up in was a house full of General Mills and lots of cereal! I swear I wonder if I am gluten intolerant b/c back in the day i ate SO MUCH cereal. As in, i lived off it for…years! as a kid, I swear!

Love your 3 Sisters review, thanks for that one!

Jessica October 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

This post just melteddd my heart dah-ling, melted it!

I personally, was all for honey bunches of oats, smart start, honey nut cheerios (!!) and yummy trader joe’s granola growing up! Yes I’ve been fed well from the start :)

That cereal looks delish, i’ll definitely be on the lookout! And appropriately enough, I’m eating a bowl of shredded spoonfuls with raisins and pumpkin pie spice as I read this! LOVE YOU!

Eden October 19, 2010 at 1:33 am

I too had a cereal childhood.
this whole post reminded me of Dr.Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham
I like cereal in a box.
I like cereal with a fox.
I like cereal in a house.
I like cereal a mous (hopefully a pet mouse.
I like cereal here or there.
I like cereal anywhere.
ok…im lame….

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 19, 2010 at 5:36 am

We were huge cereal eaters too! We had a mix though, some sugary, some healthy.

Lauren October 19, 2010 at 5:48 am

My dad made awesome bacon and egg breakfasts too but was not the best with pancakes or french toast. It must be a dad thing.
Okay, cereal is was and always will be my favorite snack/meal. Now that I am older and much more refined, I try not to supplement this as my entire meal, rather an enhancement as a bedtime snack. Honestly, I think I have eaten a bowl of cereal almost every night for the past 20 years. Love The Three Sisters cereals too! I haven’t tried any of those but the CInnamon Toast Squares are amazing!!!!!

Abby October 19, 2010 at 6:47 am

These days I eat ridiculous amounts of bite sized Shredded Wheat and granola, but back in the day? Good lord, I loved sugary cereal. Golden Grahams, Cocoa Crispies, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Corn Pops–it was like crack. Remember those six-packs of a variety of single-serve cereals? We took them camping all the time and they claimed you could eat it using the box as a bowl, but I never made that work.

My point? I love cereal.

Susan October 19, 2010 at 7:08 am

Love this! We were such a cereal house too. Shredded wheat (weird but I loved it), cheerios, and cinnamon toast crunch were our staples.

My dad can cook TWO things exceptionally well: pasta sauce and crab cakes. But he messes up making things like pancakes – even with a premade mix!

Maya October 19, 2010 at 7:18 am

I love a bowl of cereal for a snack. If I ate it for breakfast, I’d probably be hungry an hour later, so it’s perfect for snacks. I LOVED Captain Crunch. Puffins kind of remind me of them…kinda.

Alex @ IEatAsphalt October 19, 2010 at 7:33 am

There is something fantastic about honey nut cheerios. Cold cereal never fills me up anymore, such a shame.

Jessica October 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

I regularly live off of cereal. It’s delicious!

Kacy October 19, 2010 at 9:56 am

It was all about the cereal for me growing up as well. Sometimes I got frozen pancakes or a little debbie snack cake, but most of the time it was cereal and I loved it!

Kailey (SnackFace) October 19, 2010 at 11:10 am


OK, I feel better now that I got that out. (Actually I have to shadoob, but that’s entirely different.)

TMI City right hurr.

Anyway, we were a big cereal family, too! Hell, we still are! Shredded wheat, Honey Nut Cheerios, Capn’ (a rarity), Kix, it goes on forever.

Need to try that brand, though! I’d probably just pour milk into the bag and have at it.

Love you!!

Dana @ my little celebration October 19, 2010 at 11:40 am

Cereal was a staple in my home as a child, too. Funny post : ) Honey Nut Cheerios are my favorite now, but only if they have a fat banana sliced on top. Yum!

Sami October 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

i’m a cereal lover too. could eat it for everyyy meal. <3

Erica D October 19, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I’ve always said that when the world ends and I am stuck in a bomb shelter eating one food for the rest of my existence…I would prefer it to be cereal. Much has changed in my food choices over the years, but that conviction has not.

(This probably has to do with the fact that I grew up in a house that never had less than 30 boxes of cereal stocked at a time. My dad was a little obsessed with buying our favorite foods on sale, and in mass quantities…)

Nichole October 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I love cereal my favorite now is peanut butter Puffins! I always like to eat before bedtime and cereal with high sugar is not always the best choice! I always loved Grape Nuts as well – even as a kid which is a little strange but I think that comes from staying with my Great Grandparents after school while I was in grade school! haha

K October 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm

I just found honey nut o’s at an organic grocery in Madrid. I was so stoked! “Have a bowl of cereal” – I can hear my mother saying it now :)

Katie October 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Eeee I love honeynut cheerios – such a favorite! We always had kix growing up, too – and that is also a major kiddie favorite. On Sunday nights, my mom never cooked, and we always ended up having popcorn or cereal for dinner, it was the best. I don’t think tastebuds outgrow cereal.

Also, your nails look awesome!

Laura October 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Oh troll dolls, aren’t they terrifying!? My 3 year old niece plays with my old ones now, I don’t know why my mother kept them.

Virginia @ YtotheUmmy October 19, 2010 at 10:04 pm

i loove cereal! and growing up, i swore honey nut cheerios were WUZZUP and WUZZ HAPENNIN’! :D

mammaeverythingtarian October 20, 2010 at 6:57 pm

To all you mom readers STOP-stop cooking dinner for your children everyday before you go to workk a 6-midnight shift and wake up at 5am for daycare to arrive cuz they will NEVER remember it!!! Instead just have cereal :) that they will remember

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