The Cereal Quest: Day 83 – All Bran Golden Crunch, Literally Like Eating Cardboard

This morning I knew I had to finish the bowl, no matter how bad these Kellogg’s All Bran Golden Crunch taste.  What I should say about these is that they lull you in to a false sense of security, when you first put a spoon of them in your mouth you might think “mmmmm…..these taste sweet and yummy”, if you could swallow them straight away then that would be fine, but you can’t, instead of swallowing you have to gnaw down on them and chew for what seems like forever until they are a size capable of being swallowed.  The problem is the sweet flavour disappears pretty quickly and then you are left chewing what genuinely tastes like cardboard.  The best way to understand what I mean is to chew some cardboard now, if you are not near some try licking your carpet, it will be a similar taste.  Once you get the cereal down to a swallowable size you can finally swallow it, ordeal over.  Until the next spoonful.  Spoon after spoon of misery.  These are without doubt the worst cereal so far, even worse than Froot Loops.  But I strolled out my door proud this morning, I managed to finish the whole bowl.  I have one bowl left for tomorrow and then they will be gone.  If I get through them I deserve a medal.

The Cereal Quest: Day 82 – Slow and Sluggish

Today I knew I had to be in work early, we had a container to unload.  I got up early, washed and headed downstairs, I felt half asleep and was not excited about tucking in to my All Bran Golden Crunch.  I physically couldn’t even finish the bowl.  It was just horrible, I was too tired and it was rock hard and my teeth were waking up.  On the way to work I was caught in loads of traffic because the road I usually take was shut so I was frustrated and then something else confused me, why on earth in an age where we can put man on the moon, can we not invent a vehicle capable of carrying milk faster than 15mph.  It is unbelievable, I love getting milk delivered by the milkman, its a tradition that I hope keeps going for many more years but getting stuck behind one when already late was so annoying.

The Cereal Quest: Day 81 – Cheerio Honey Cheerios and Hello All Bran Golden Crunch

So this morning I sat and enjoyed my last bowl of Nestle Honey Cheerios and sat and contemplated what cereal to have next, I have been living the high life with nice treats like Honey Cheerios and Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes lately, I knew that whatever I was to buy today had to be one of the less exciting cereals.  I can say that the past few days of Nestle Honey Cheerios have been a real pleasure, I had even emailed Nestle to thank them, I went out of my way so I was hoping for a nice personal reply, maybe answer some of the questions I had asked, maybe I expected too much because this is the response I got:

“Dear Mr Botto,
Thanks for your email.
We are pleased to learn that you are enjoying one of our cereals and do appreciate the time and effort your have taken to contact us.
As the manufacturer of many popular breakfast cereal products, we are aware of the need to ensure high standards are met and comments from our consumers are a vital aid to maintain these standards.
Consumer feedback is important to us and I will ensure that your comments are forwarded onto our Marketing Team for their reference.
Thank you and Warm Regards,
Zack
Consumer Relations”

Disappointing genericness considering the compliments I chucked their way in the email I sent them (see yesterdays post).

Here are the vital statistics for Nestlé ‘Couldn’t Give a Monkeys’ Honey Cheerios:

Cereal Cost:  £2.29
Real Servings per Box: 6
Cost per Serving: 38.1p
Pros – Beautiful taste, stay crunchy, great as a snack.
Cons – Not enough in the box.

photo1-30When I went to the shop to choose my next cereal I saw these beauties out the corner of my eye, I used to love these as a kid (not at my house, we couldn’t afford them, but I made sure I was always friends with someone who had them), they had not been allowed to be sold in the UK for health reasons for years.  The only place you have been able to get them are online or in old style sweet shops that for some reason seem to all also specialise in imported American food,  sadly Tesco jumping on the bandwagon for these have now seen people will pay big for these, they clearly don’t know I am trying to save money at the moment.  I will have to wait until Lucky Charms are on offer.

Unfortunately for me the cereal on offer today was ‘All Bran Golden Crunch’.  As someone with IBS anything from the All Bran range is bound to make me feel a bit ill.  I didn’t know if it was just me who gets effected badly by All Bran so I Googled and found a lady called Jo-Jo on an IBS forum (yes they exist) said this:

“I had a bowl of it 2 days ago, had one again yesterday because i thought it would help me go quicker in the morning… big mistake. Today i went great, i thought the all bran was my “new cure”, not! I am in so much pain right now. It can’t be because my intestines are full because i went enough this morning, eptied me out completely. My insides feel so raw, sore, inflamed and hot. It hurt so much i feel dizzy. The kind of pain that won’t let go. I took 2 advil, hope they help. The pain got gradualy worse during the day. Take it from this guinny pig, stay away from All bran! “

It’s not just me so I was not looking forward to these, I don’t care how much they dress All Bran up, it is still All Bran, it is still not going to make me feel great,

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I sat down to eat them and they were insanely crunchy, like chewing blocks of tarmac, except tarmac might taste nice and not screw up my stomach.  They were coated in something sweet, they tasted like ‘Tracker’ bars that had been left out for weeks to go hard.  I nearly couldn’t finish them my body was telling me no, I could cope with the taste initially but they were unbearable near the end, I made it through just after seeing on the All Bran website that these will help me to “Start achieving digestive harmony”.  Once I have completed my All Bran Golden Crunch review let me be the judge of that.

The Cereal Quest: Day 80 – Apology Letter to Nestlé

Today I knew I had a 3 bowler ahead of me. 3 bowls of refreshing Honey Cheerios.  I was excited, I got up and went straight downstairs, I was very tired and I think the first half of my first bowl was tarnished somewhat by ‘morning breath’, after that was fought off by milk and honey and a few sips of tea the rest of the bowl tasted great.  I then got changed and set off for work and had my 2nd bowl at lunch time.  During the eating process I felt the urge to write to Nestlé and apologise for never trying these before.  Cereal siblings are a danger, if I don’t like the first born I rarely bother going near their siblings, e.g. Shredded Wheat and Cheerios.  This box has taught me a lesson to judge each box and each person individually.  My letter read as follows:

“Dear Nestle,
I am writing firstly and primarily to say sorry and apologise to you, for years I have thought that your Cheerios products are dull and boring. In fact on one occasion I bought a box of normal Cheerios and our gerbils had to finish them, they didn’t find them boring and dull but they used to lick blocks of salt. However, recently I have been trying to explore lots of cereals including some that are new to me and I discovered your Honey Cheerios, which have changed my view on things completely. They are delicious, they stay crunchy in milk, an ability that is lacking in other cereals I have had for example Kelloggs Corn Flakes or indeed Weetabix. I feel I can enjoy these without the need to rush. I think you have got just the right amount of sweetness per ‘o’ and they have come at a good time as the last cereal I was eating was your Shredded Wheat which sadly didn’t bring too much excitement to my life. I want to thank you for the improvements you have made and look forward to trying other new cereals of yours as my quest continues. Do you know how many different varieties of cereal you do including all variations? What is your favourite cereal and why?
Thank you again.
Best regards,
Phil Botto”

I await their reply but feel better for apologising.  I hope they appreciate my feedback.

Tonight I had my 3rd bowl of the day just before football, I like to see if different cereals help me play better.  These didn’t for the 1st half as I had stitch and kept clutching the right side of my abdomen but in the 2nd half I did play what must be one of the best passes of my life back flicking a ball forward over the defence and in to the path of our striker who to be honest scored an incredible goal in to the top corner.  It was a joyous occasion for everyone involved on our team.  Unfortunately we did let a 3-1 lead slip and lost 4-3 in the end due to the fact they had a man taller than Jack’s bean stalk upfront who is fairly handy in the air.  Tomorrow will be my last bowl of these doughnut shaped cherubs but once the quest is over and if I remember I will be back for more.  Who knows what cereal will come next?

The Cereal Quest: Day 79 – A Rank Outsider?

When I started the quest if you had put all the cereals in front of me (much like supermarkets do) and asked me to rank from best to worst I can assure you that despite never trying them Honey Cheerios would have been in the bottom 25% for definite.  So it has come as a massive surprise that I absolutely love these tiny little honey coated rings of delight.  I had a wonderful bowl of them this morning, they were all crisp and the milk they left me for drinking was beautiful.  Even though I probably ate some that last night were spread over the carpet in my boot it didn’t matter.  Some cereals that put ‘Honey’ in front of their name are really horrible, there is no honey just extra sugar, but these are special, they deliver. Tomorrow might have to be a ’3 bowler’, breakfast, lunch and tea! I can’t wait.

The Cereal Quest: Day 78 – Hello Honey Cheerios!

So my wife very kindly bought me some Nestle Honey Cheerios that for some reason I really want to call Honey Nut Cheerios, such was the strength of the mid 90′s Kellogg’s advertising of Honey Nut Loops (“let’s loop together!”).  If I make said typo anywhere during the consumption of this cereal this is why.

When I looked at the box this morning I was excited, honey acts as a sweetener, manufacturers put it on so not to have to put sugar on the cereal.  I was pleased to see it had won an award.

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However once I read what the award was it was less exciting and if anything put a hold on my excitement to try something new.  I saw the bold white writing but initially missed the fact that the ‘readers’ recommend this cereal.  The reason for my sudden lack of excitement was that I know my Mum reads that magazine and she eats fish pie and cauliflower cheese, not much else, 50% of her diet is probably fish pie, I hate fish, therefore there is a 50% chance that these would be horrible based on my mums taste buds and my twisted logic.  Once I opened and tucked in served with ice cold milk I was overjoyed, far from tasting fishy they had a sweetness to them, a crunch to them and a ‘we could use these as a cheap snack to put in my daughters bag’ thought to them.  They were good, roughly 86% of them stayed crunchy and my daughter like them, its a cracking start, and although they have followed a relatively dull cereal they have put my expectations for the servings ahead at a high level.  The only slight issue was that they are like Stoke City, they do not like travelling.  To the point where the boot of my new car was lined with them when we got back tonight, not to worry I collected up the golden rings promptly.  I felt like Sonic.

One word of warning, I had a particularly long and enduring upset stomach this afternoon (I knew it was long as the lights that came on in response to my movement in to the toilets turned off about 10 minutes before I even left the toilets), this may have been down to the Honey Cheerios, it may have been down to the fact my brother in law pretty much forced me to order a ‘Mix Burger’ last night which was a chicken burger on top of a cheese burger, topped with chilli sauce.  We don’t and won’t know which is was for now but I will keep an eye on events over the next few days.

The Cereal Quest – Day 77 – 1 Down 6 to Go!

So today saw the end to another cereal, Shredded Wheat (number 17 in the quest) gave me 8 portions which included being served with milk, dry, hot and cream with bananas.  The dexterity of Shredded Wheat is impressive although not all the servings tasted great.  Dry was dull and cream with bananas made me sick.  The final bowl was served traditionally, cold milk and a light dusting of granulated sugar to make it taste better.  I timed the consumption and both ‘wheats’ were consumed in 1 minute and 5 seconds.

I had a slight issue as this left me without a cereal for tomorrow, we were going straight to my wife’s brothers for the night and it was going to be a fair old drive (including a lunatic who tried accelerating at me so I had to drive on pavement round a roundabout near the M5), my wife was popping to the shops during the day so I got her to call me when she got to the cereal aisle.  She picked my up a cereal that I have never tried before so I will be very excited to try it tomorrow, we packed it in the car with us, trying new cereal is great, it makes you want to get up in the morning.  When I was on the phone to my wife I skillfully had the phone sandwiched between my ear and my left shoulder which although made me look like a parrot having an itch did enable me to continue working.  When I got off the phone someone at work said “you ought to be careful, my friend dropped her phone in the bath doing that.”, this caused two-fold confusion as a) I wasn’t in a bath, I was stood upright on a mezzanine floor and b) I do not understand why so many people drop phones in the bath, surely people know that water and electrical products don’t get on?  Don’t they?  I can almost understand the amount dropped down toilets, I doubt there are many people these days who can honestly say that they haven’t played a game of Angry Birds, Temple Run,  Football Manager or whatever game is in these days on the toilet, it helps pass the time, although the focus needed to maintain concentration on both toiletting and Temple Run must make it hard to achieve results on both counts.

Anyway, here are the vital statistics for my Shredded Wheat review:

Cereal Cost:  £1.95
Real Servings per Box: 8
Cost per Serving: 24.3p
Pros – A flexible traditional cereal, cheap serving cost and good for you.
Cons – Bad ideas on serving suggestions, can get tedious.

The Cereal Quest: Day 76 – Skimping and Saving

So tomorrow we have a new boiler going in which adds to a ridiculously expensive month which has included a new car, new car insurance and now the boiler.  Because of this me and my good lady are trying to be very sensible with money, something that does not go natural to me at all, I am definitely the type of bloke that will go to Tesco at lunch to buy a sandwich and end up spending £20 on who knows what.  Me and my wife have set ourselves £120 each to live off and see how long it lasts us, I need to prove I can be sensible so I am avoiding shops.  All this saving means I will most probably be eating more cereal now as its a cheap meal.  This morning I was freezing cold, mainly because yesterday morning I was too hot so turned the radiator off and had forgot to turn it back on which didn’t please me or my wife.  Due to the chilliness I decided to pour milk over my Shredded Wheat and microwave them for a minute or so, it was weird, I have never microwaved Shredded Wheat before but have microwaved Weetabix on a regular basis throughout my life.  This smelt just like the microwaved Weetabix but had a lot less flavour, it was also really sloppy and loose whereas Weetabix can stiffen up.  After this I left for work, another 2 Shredded Wheat in hand.  Near lunch time one of my bosses said he was popping to Tesco, excellent, it meant I didn’t need to go near the place and he would get the milk, it also meant we would probably get some cake, bonus.  I got my two Shredded Wheat out of their packet and waited for him to get back.  He strolled in soon after and put away the shopping, I arose out of my swivel chair like a dog seeing a rabbit.   I walked to the kitchen and opened the fridge to see this:
photo1-28The fridge door was empty apart from yesterdays cream, which I can assure you after yesterday making me sick was off the menu.  My boss had forgot to buy the milk.  This meant only one option, dry Shredded Wheat for lunch.  I am enjoying this money saving already!  I sat there trying to nibble at the ridged straw like Shredded Wheat trying not to cut any more of the lining of my mouth.  It tasted like I had stolen a birds nest and started chewing on it.

 

 

It is good to have cereal that is healthy, which Shredded Wheat definitely is.  However tomorrow I will have my last serving and I am looking forward to something that can bring a little more excitement to my mornings than these.  They do a job but really need a bit more of a punch of flavour.

 

The Cereal Quest: Day 75 – Are the Old Ones Really the Best?

Before I start todays post I will quickly let you now I have now set up a sponsorship page for The Trussell Trust, they run food banks in the UK and help feed the hungry, if you like this or any other posts on The Cereal Quest please help feed a hungry family, just £2 buys the average box of cereal, so visit www.justgiving.com/thecerealquest to buy someone who needs it some cereal.

Thank you.

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This morning during the consumption of another couple of Shredded Wheat I managed to cut myself as one of the strands of straw like wheat split off and pierced the inside of my lip, this was not appreciated.  The milk acted as a very soothing cleanser to the cut which was helpful but shouldn’t have been needed.  The cereal itself this morning tasted fresher than other days, it tasted like it had been picked from a field and stuck in my bowl, I like this about Shredded Wheat, it does taste like Wheat does when you pick it from a field.

Today was to be a two portion day though, especially after I found this old poster used in the early days of Shredded Wheat:

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I had tried milk, that worked fine but I had never had cream on cereal and I knew I wasn’t a fan of putting fruit on my cereal but I was willing to give it a go.  I went with my gut feeling (something I was going to revisit later) and combined both cream and banana on top of the Shredded Wheat, this is how it looked:

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This should taste great bananas and cream goes great together, they are a classic combination, ask a banana split. But there were a few issues here, the main ones being that the cream doesn’t penetrate the Shredded Wheat in the same way its thinner cousin, milk, does.  It just sits on them, this is not useful.  The other is the taste is for want of a better word ‘manky’.  It is not tasty at all, but miles worse than the taste is the aftertaste that repeated on me for about an hour until eventually I was sick in the work toilet.  That was my new gut feeling.

It was my brother in laws birthday and he was having a curry at night, with my stomach already very nervous and having been sick earlier I thought maybe a nice Chicken Dopiaza with Peshwari Naan might calm things down, I knew within 20 minutes I was wrong, very wrong.

The Cereal Quest: Day 74 – Shredded Wheat Distractions

As I awoke this morning and opened the curtains to see a beautiful sunny frosty morning, a wonderful way to start the day.  I went downstairs to get my daughters breakfast ready, make me and my wife a cup of tea and get another couple of shredded wheat.  It struck me this morning more than ever that Shredded Wheat could make a great ‘emergency gift’ at Christmas for when someone gets you a gift unexpectedly and you panic (having not realised you were ‘doing presents’) and usually grab them something random as a gift, these come pre-wrapped and with a bit of simply sprucing up they could look like this:

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After this quick bit of craft I got my bowl of Shredded Wheat and sat down to eat.  A simple way of working out if a cereal looks aesthetically pleasing is to eat it whilst my daughter is eating her breakfast (which today was Shreddies), if it does look good she will want mine not hers, she was not interested today.  She thought that squares of brown were more interesting than my Shredded Wheat, she was right, but Shredded Wheat clearly wasn’t made to be exciting, it was made to make you feel like you are eating healthy, which today it did, I felt I had had a good fibre intake for the day.  Unfortunately I had sprinkled sugar on this serving and after promising to try it without sugar on today I had to take a portion to work so I unwrapped the gift I had prepared earlier and popped it in my car to have at lunch.

At lunch I got my Shredded Wheat, poured on the milk and sat at my desk to enjoy, I had about a mouthful when I got unnecessarily barked at by a Springer Spaniel, I had done nothing to provoke the dog so I turned to face him and barked back.  This continued for about 2 minutes (time flies when you are trying to out-bark a Springer Spaniel) then I realised my Shredded Wheat had been taking on loads of milk, to the point where there was no more milk to take on, it had worked its way up in to the wheat and made the majority of it soggy, I had to eat it, I don’t like cereal waste but the lack of sugar and the consistency of the Shredded Wheat left a lot to be desired, I finished the bowl off quickly and thought about where I had gone wrong, I worked out where it had gone wrong, I was a human and I had been barking at a dog, it was not Nestle’s fault.  I was sorting out an email to send to Nestle to ask for serving suggestions today but then heard they had withdrawn sales of some of their ready meals due to them containing horse so figured they probably had enough on their plate without an unexpected email from me requesting serving suggestions to spice up what was a bland cereal.

I was considering having 3 bowls today but instead we had two lovely friends over for tea, I made them a burnt lasagne, I went to the freezer to get some garlic bread but their was only enough for 2 people, I considered trying to make Garlic Shredded Wheat but bottled it and instead made a homemade garlic bread on toast, garlic toast.  We sat and reminisced on the good old days, the time I had ran out of his house scared because I thought I had eaten his Mum’s croissant by mistake and the time his arm got hit by a lorry and he didn’t move.  It was a delightful evening, great company, peach squash, lemonade and peach squash with lemonade. Tonight has set my imagination going, maybe not garlic but would a Shredded Wheat be nice as a savoury?