In My Kitchen: a cereal discussion

Posted on Updated on

He likely hadn’t heard of Australia’s “muesli magnate” Narelle Plapp. The power of cereal isn’t to be underestimated. She went from selling from the back of her car to a $5 million business in a decade.

Her Food for Health brand’s Liver Cleansing muesli variety contains no sugar of any kind and is the only pre-packaged muesli I buy when my time and do-it-yourself muesli efforts run out. Thankfully it doesn’t happen much. This IMK month beyond making a batch of muesli from my pantry stash of dry goods, kitchen time has been non-newsworthy, so…

Food For Health muesli
food for health brand muesli

Myself, I’m quite enthusiastic on the topic, particularly when it’s about muesli, although inauspiciously defined by Urban Dictionary as “a clever ploy to sell hamster food to human beings”. That may technically be true… but muesli is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Muesli is truly an equal opportunity cereal. It can be fat free, sugar free, fruit free, gluten free, nut free, vegan… You can buy muesli in a multitude of pre-packaged permutations but I think the best and cheapest muesli is bespoke. My creations include only oats or oat bran, pepitas, sunflower seeds, coconut and raw nuts.

Bespoke Muesli: organic oats, coconut, pepitas, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Cost: approx $20 for 3 months supply
DIY muesli – oats, coconut, pepitas, sunflower seeds and walnuts. Cost: approx $20 for 3+ months supply.

Like Emeril Lagasse “I can’t tell you enough about cinnamon. Cinnamon is an awesome spice to use and it goes great with something like apples in the morning or in a mixture of fruit or in your oatmeal or even in your cereal”  my secret muesli ingredient is cinnamon, added with plain full fat yoghurt (preferably homemade) and a smattering of fruit -fresh, or frozen berries.

Muesli attracts cheap shots…

“Keating unleashes the lip on ‘muesli-chewing’ Moore… Former prime minister Paul Keating has labelled Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore a supporter of “sandal-wearing, muesli-chewing, bike-riding pedestrians” because she opposes the Barangaroo project.”

… and is often misunderstood.

“The [green] movement must look long and hard at itself and break out of the comfortable ‘muesli-belt’ if it is to truly reflect the views of the wider community.” Head honcho at Global Action Plan and friend of BusinessGreen Trewin Restorick says environmental campaigners must do more to support disadvantaged sections of society.

But it’s a cereal discussion worth having…

“Some candy bars had more protein than many cereals. [Jean] Mayer dubbed them “sugar-coated vitamin pills” and wrote, “I contend that these cereals containing over 50% sugar should be labeled imitation cereal or cereal confections, and they should be sold in the candy section rather than in the cereal section.” Michael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

“Rule 36: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of your milk.” Michael Pollan

“Episode two tells the story of a modern marketing miracle: the story of the breakfast cereal. The Age of Plenty investigates the processing, marketing and advertising behind a breakfast that has singularly impacted the way we live. Breakfast cereal marks the birth of modern day “convenience food”, invented to make cheap and lifeless corn bits edible and easy to sell, and promoted through reverse psychology, cereal has transformed the way we eat and consequently the way we live. This series tracks the multi-billion dollar breakfast cereal industry, explaining the impact of television advertising on the promotion and sales of breakfast cereals, which endures to this day.” The Foods that Make Billions

Thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting In My Kitchen and the IMK community for foodie inspiration & the virtual company they provide. If you’d like to join in, link back to Celia’s blog.

Advertisements

49 thoughts on “In My Kitchen: a cereal discussion

    katechiconi said:
    October 9, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I think it was the advent of sugar and ‘sprinkles’ which turned basic rib-sticking morning-tummy-filler into a marketing dream. Plain oatmeal porridge or corn grits was dull and bland, but by heaven it did the job of filling you up and keeping you going. Once someone got the idea of adding fruit, nuts, sweetener and above all, packaging, the breakfast cereal industry was on the train to Profitsville.

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:31 am

      I have lovely memories of warm porridge or weetbix & hot milk in winter before school… As a kid there were only a few packaged cereals which were offered with milk and a supervised sprinkling of sugar only if they weren’t already sugary, and were a treat not for everyday. Yep, Big Bucks for far too long but I think despite their desperate hopes and efforts, the writing’s now on the wall.

      Like

        katechiconi said:
        October 10, 2015 at 7:44 am

        Oatmeal’s out for me now, the avenin protein in it acts exactly like gluten in my system. GF breakie can be a bit of a trial… Rice puffs, corn puffs, GF cornflakes are all too processed for my liking. My favourite hot cereal is now Lowan’s rice porridge with dried orchard fruits. I add a few sultanas and hot milk, yumm! Most of the time, though, breakie is fruit and lactose free greek yoghurt and a slug of honey if I feel the need.

        Like

          EllaDee responded:
          October 10, 2015 at 8:04 am

          For a while now I’ve needed a protein breakfast -eggs rather than muesli which works better for me as a snack rather than a meal. And the food intolerances that I seem to have acquired with age are fortunately only that.

          Like

          katechiconi said:
          October 10, 2015 at 8:22 am

          When we do finally get our chooks, it’s going to be boiled fresh eggs for breakie. Till then, I’ll make do.

          Liked by 1 person

    Francesca said:
    October 9, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Great post Elladee. Loved all those muesli quotes, specially the one from Keating. Sometimes I make it or Mr T buys it for himself. Sadly I cannot eat it. It seems to scour my innards and then…… I’II spare you the details as it’s dinner time.

    Liked by 1 person

      Glenda said:
      October 10, 2015 at 12:17 am

      Francesca, I am with you on this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:25 am

      There are foods that regrettably have similar effect on my innards, which age I think has caught up with. As I suggested to Glenda maybe higher proportion of oats/cereals, grinding of seeds and soaking might alleviate the effect. But there’s also no shortage of other great breakfast, snack options…

      Like

    acflory said:
    October 9, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I admit.. I like toasted muesli. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:21 am

      Oh me too! The office does it for breakfast meetings with yummy thick slightly sweetened yoghurt and fresh fruit… it’s divine… in moderation 🙂

      Like

        acflory said:
        October 10, 2015 at 9:40 am

        Oh yum! Stop! Definitely in moderation, although I’ve been known to have a bowl of muesli for supper… I figure it’s healthier than a biscuit..right?

        Liked by 1 person

    roughseasinthemed said:
    October 9, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    I thought taurine was for cats. Hope hers is a synthetic version. Yours sounds better.

    Anyway I eat muesli when I want some soya milk and need to pad it out with something. I do like dried or even fresh fruit with it though. Otherwise it is a bit hamsterish.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:02 am

      The Food for Health website blurb at least states “Slippery elm powder contains a gel-like substance that acts as a protective layer for the digestive tract, and taurine is a necessary amino acid for detoxification and fat metabolism… you can’t taste either in the muesli, but they’re in there working for your liver!” http://www.foodforhealth.com.au/products/muesli/liver-cleansing-muesli
      Yep, fruit for me too but generally not dried unless it’s the lovely fresh dried plums (aka prunes!) I buy from the farmers markets… sometimes the packaged stuff disagrees with me… sulphites I think.

      Like

    Glenda said:
    October 10, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Hi Ella, I love muesli (and Paul Keating) but alas, I have the same problems as Francesca. I wonder what it is about muesli that does it.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Probably the seeds… they can be hard to digest. You could try experimenting with mixes of more oats, grains, less seeds or grinding them, and/or soaking a la Bircher. (PK also has similar effect on some people 😉)

      Liked by 1 person

    Gerlinde said:
    October 10, 2015 at 3:14 am

    I also like the quote from Keating but my muesli and teeth usually turn blue because I like to add blueberries. My all time favorite favorite in the muesli department is the Bircher muesli, soaked oats with raw fruits . It is fresher and fruitier than the dry variety.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:16 am

      Blueberries are my go-to, always a packet in the freezer 🙂 I love Bircher too as it keeps in the fridge for days, just prefer to make my own so I control the fruit content, as many places make it too sweet for my preference.

      Like

    memoirsofahusk said:
    October 10, 2015 at 4:09 am

    Cinnamon, muesli, why hadn’t I thought of that? Thank you. Lovely view, by the way. I like plain yoghurt with a spoonful of a wholesome sugar-free muesli-like cereal we buy, for lunch. Which reminds me I haven’t had any today and it’s after 6pm! I’m hungry. Time to decide what to eat tonight. Have a lovely weekend.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 7:13 am

      Cinnamon anything… I also love it on a slice of buttered toast or banana etc bread 🙂
      Weekdays I eat an early protein breakfast and a lateish lunch so muesli is my in between filler.

      Like

        memoirsofahusk said:
        October 12, 2015 at 7:52 pm

        Mmm cinnamon toast oh yes! In fact, since it’s raining, cold and miserable right now why not? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    anne54 said:
    October 10, 2015 at 8:31 am

    I love muesli, and am so glad that it doesn’t affect me as it obviously does others. Poor them. 😥 I make our own, gathering the ingredients at the local nut shop. However, we ran out of the bespoke (aka bespoke — I love that!) while we have been away. Fortunately the little supermarket had muesli, but a very limited range. I didn’t dare look at the sugar content.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      I had given up on packaged muesli until I found the Food for Health variety… the usual offerings contain so many sneaky ingredients and compared to making your own a small pack of muesli costs a bomb!

      Like

        anne54 said:
        October 12, 2015 at 8:33 am

        And you can add in or leave out ingredients. I am off to the nut shop today to replenish our muesli supply!

        Liked by 1 person

    anne54 said:
    October 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

    I meant to add that I also love porridge, with bananas, a drizzle of honey and that wonderful cinnamon!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      That’s where the oats for the my muesli came from, the leftovers of our winter porridge oats which we enjoy with stewed apple/pears with cinnamon, nuts and honey… I haven’t tried banana… hhhmmm 🙂

      Like

    ardysez said:
    October 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

    You’ve taken the IMK series in a wonderful direction with this post, Dale. I love cereal, even one or two that I now know are not good for me. But the only ones I actually eat now are mueslis, and I shared my recipe (with cinnamon!) a couple of months ago. The one you recommend has a good ingredients list and I would try that one too if I didn’t have time to make my own. Very well written and entertaining, thank you!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I remember your post. I love being able to make my own muesli and yoghurt… a little bit of gratifying self sufficiency. Woolies carries the Food for Health muesli. Also btw, the walnuts I used were the Woolies Australian walnuts I mentioned a while ago – they are big, crisp and flavoursome.

      Liked by 1 person

    diannegray said:
    October 11, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I love this post. The quote “Rule 36: Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of your milk.” made me laugh loudly. It reminded me of eating Cocoa Pops when I was a kid! 😀

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 11, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Worse… fruit loops! That they still come under the auspices of breakfast cereals is completely ridiculous… may as well eat cake… I love cake for breakfast on occasion… usually the morning after the night before 🙂

      Like

        diannegray said:
        October 11, 2015 at 9:47 am

        Oh dear – that’s right, I remember Fruit Loops LOL. Yikes, the things we used to eat! I can actually still remember the sharp sugary taste of Fruit Loops. Iky!

        Like

    sara said:
    October 11, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I love muesli – sometimes I make my own when I am feeling that way inclined; I have an awesome gluten free recipe with puffed corn and rice with coconut, sunflower seeds, almonds and honey…as well as your standard granola which is delish as well. Lairds makes a delicious toasted muesli for about the same cost as what it would cost me to make it, and you can buy it bulk…
    Also, is that the view from your apartment? So high!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 11, 2015 at 11:21 am

      I saw Lairds sell loose dry goods now… that’s my next muesli progression rather than buying packaged ingredients. It’s not a good idea for me to add any sweetener at all to my muesli for everyday consumption, it blips my blood sugar. A little bit of fruit, usually berries, when eating it adds sufficient sweetness for me.
      The eyrie view is from my work desk… our apartment looks onto an inner west train line.

      Liked by 1 person

        sara said:
        October 12, 2015 at 6:32 am

        Oh, the view is from your work! I don’t know that I’d be able to live that high up, but work is fine :). I like muesli anyway it comes, really, but I do like the toasted sweetened variety the best (so naughty!)
        I am so stoked about Laird’s doing the bulk lines, it’s my favourite way to shop.

        Like

    Kim Bultman said:
    October 12, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Muesli seems to fall into the love it or hate it — or can’t it eat — camp. I love it, but can’t eat much of it. Your “muesli with a view” is breathtaking! Thanks for this educational post, photos of your 3-month supply, and your list of ingredients. Those “big, crisp, and flavoursome” walnuts sound wonderful! (Read about ’em in your comment section.) 😉

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 12, 2015 at 6:19 am

      Thank you 🙂 I only eat a small serve of muesli most weekdays… I’m not sure any more would be a good idea!
      The view is a small consolation for spending my days in the office.
      A lot of walnuts we get in supermarkets are imported usually from California and somewhat worse for wear by the time they have been stored and get here. So good local walnuts are somewhat remarkable 🙂

      Like

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    October 12, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I tend to favor proteins for breakfast (and I can’t eat nuts) so I’m not a cereal person, but it sounds like a great and healthy option for most people. 🙂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 12, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      I too prefer protein to kick start my day so an egg/tofu & veges is my usual breakfast but it’s always a long time until lunch so muesli, yoghurt & berries is my mid morning filler. The great thing about DIY muesli is you can leave the nuts out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Kourtney Heintz said:
        November 26, 2015 at 7:18 am

        I love Greek yogurt for breakfast too. 🙂 I’ve been tossing some salsa into my scrambled eggs lately to spice them up.

        Liked by 1 person

    ChgoJohn said:
    October 12, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I am not one for breakfast cereals. Never have been. I guess that’s why I’ve never gone the muesli route. I’ve seen so many good recipes for it, however, that I really should give it a try. To start, though, I think I’ll make a little less than a 3 month supply — or get a hamster. 😉

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      I’m not a fan of breakfast cereal either, even muesli until I had to reduce my cholesterol and needed a palatable way to regularly ingest oats/oat bran 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Fiona Ryan (@TIFFINbitesized) said:
    October 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    What a wonderful post. After a shaky beginning in my formative years with cereal, I am now a regular eater. I hate porridge though. Rule 36 is too true but I expect that many kids would say I’m wrong. I really enjoyed reading this.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 12, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I had the usual cereal upbringing but my breakfast of choice always has involved toast… I’ve done no carbs but life’s too short, so I indulge in moderation with protein. And keep muesli as a snack which I really enjoy. Some porridge is shockingly bad… but I’ve always loved porridge even at boarding school and also have lovely childhood memories of my Nanna’s with fresh cows milk and brown sugar… now it’s usually Sunday winter breakfasts but bespoke (of course!) organic oats with good milk, honey, walnuts or macadamias and apple/pear compote…

      Like

    Bill said:
    October 12, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Until this post, I’d never heard of muesli. I’m not sure if it’s known here in the States.
    I’ve eaten a mountain of breakfast cereal in my life, but haven’t had any for at least the last 10 years (probably 20). When I was in the office-work world I skipped breakfast. Nowadays I eat breakfast, but only after already working outside for an hour or two. After that a bowl of cereal isn’t sufficient!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 13, 2015 at 6:42 am

      I think granola is more common in the US but muesli is building a following. There’s an argument that a breakfast of milk with packaged cereal is better than nothing but if that’s what was on offer I’d choose the alternative.

      Like

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    October 22, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Your homemade muesli sounds most fine! I don’t eat it, but Pete has it every day for breakfast – he makes his own too. No coconut in his though, and he prefers hazelnuts to walnuts! Isn’t it grand how homemade allows for the perfect breakfast for every taste? 🙂

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 23, 2015 at 6:32 am

      I have no rules about what I put in my muesli, so any nuts, seeds and coconut if I have it but I have rules about what I don’t put in it… nothing processed, sweet and no dried fruit. I love hearing about other muesli DiYers 🙂

      Like

    sherry from sherrys pickings said:
    October 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    i’ve never heard of narelle plapp either. hard to credit it is a real name:) and as for muesli – eek i run screaming from the room. bird food for sure:=))

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      October 23, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Very real person and name, very successful provedore of “bird food” for humans 🙂

      Like

Comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s