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Breakfastime musings about cereal.

Cereal Eats: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, a Timeless Cereal

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[Photograph: Amazon]

If you heard me say "they're grrrrrrreat!" (which I probably should never say out loud), you would immediately think, Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and good ol' Tony the Tiger, right? Yet, when was the last time you actually thought about Frosted Flakes? Or had a bowl for that matter? I know, me neither.

When a mini-box came in a variety pack, it was the last cereal chosen before a loser like Raisin Bran or plain Cheerios. Never once did it get chosen as a birthday cereal. And don't even think I ever touched its barrel in the college cafeteria.

This week, while browsing the cereal aisle, I spotted that iconic blue box and thought, too boring to talk about in my cereal column. But has that been my problem all along? Have I overlooked the simple Flakes for more colorful and interesting cereals? Do people even eat it anymore? How do you people feel about Frosted Flakes? Perhaps we have something to talk about after all.

It took me a little while to realize that the various boxes of cereal I bring into SEHQ weren't going to be met with the enthusiasm I was expecting. The delivery of 8 varieties of Frosted Mini-Wheats was met with groans of "why?", Waffle Crisp was deemed inedible by almost everyone but me and there has been a nearly-full box of Fruity Pebbles languishing on the shelves for a solid month (out of my sight and reach, for my own reasons). What do you mean you'd rather eat sandwiches and pizza and tacos and whatever insane black magic Kenji is creating in the kitchen? What do you mean you don't want to consume 500 empty calories in a few handfuls of frosted marshmallow-y things? Sigh. So alone.

But when I sheepishly placed the bright blue Tiger-clad box of Frosted Flakes in the kitchen, I heard several cries of "Oh! Frosted Flakes" "MMM Frosted Flakes!" "Yay! Frosted Flakes" Uh, you get the picture. The people were pleased! As I crammed a handful into my mouth, and tasted sweet, corn-flaky, frosted sugary goodness, I realized why. Frosted Flakes is a perfectly executed cereal.

Simple is the key to this classic cereal. Kellogg's Frosted Flakes was introduced as 1951, as Sugar Frosted Flakes. As with many cereals from that era, the "sugar" was dropped from the name. Like Raisin Bran, the name Frosted Flakes cannot actually be trademarked because it's a description. In fact if you look at the box it actually says FROSTED FLAKES (of corn).

There are tons of varieties of "frosted flakes" out there, but only Kellogg's has that distinct and beloved flavor. I was surprised to find there are only 5 ingredients in the sugary flakes. Milled corn, sugar, malt flavoring, salt and good old BHT for freshness. Look, I'm not saying it's health food by any stretch, but I was surprised to see the ingredients were so, simple.

What makes Kellogg's Frosted Flakes so darn good? First off, the corn flakes themselves have that indescribably corny flavor and the flakes set the standard for the perfect crispness and thickness. Other brands are too crumbly, too thick, and too brittle. (Am I the only one who cares about this kinda stuff?)

Then of course, there's the most obvious trait of the cereal: the frosted coating. I've used the word "crusty" before to describe this on cereals and once again will acknowledge that unless we are talking about bread, crusty is never a good word for food. Well I hereby want to state that when we are talking about a sugary frosted cereal, crusty is very, very good.

I've had knockoff brands that are slick and slimy and grainy and just all around worse. You want a nice sugary crust coating each crispy, corny flake. That is what makes Frosted Flakes so awesome. I don't even think I have time or space to talk about how Frosted Flakes are in milk. The flakes shed their sugary coats and transform into satisfying cornflakes, surrounded by a perfectly sweetened pool of milk. THAT IS A DELICIOUS BITE OF CEREAL, MY FRIENDS.

If I could go back in time, I'd choose the Flakes first out of that mini box variety pack.
Frosted Flakes: Are you bored with them, or do you agree that they are a timeless top cereal?

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