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Cereal Eats: The Raisin Bran Family Tree
I wrote a post about a funny little candy bar called Chunky last week and a fierce battle about raisins raged in the comments. How does this wrinkly little dried fruit evoke such intense feelings in Serious Eaters? I decided to probe a bit deeper today, as we explore some of the other members of the Raisin Bran family.
I've talked about Raisin Bran before, in our Raisin-Bran-Off. We declared a clear winner (Kellogg's Raisin Bran) and I discussed the fact that I love raisin bran, except what I actually mostly love the sugary raisin. To recap:
I've loved Raisin Bran since childhood. And let's be honest, it's all about the sugary raisins. Raisin Bran was allowed, since in name and appearance it's masquerading as a healthy cereal, but oh, my sister and I knew those sugar-crusted raisins were secret treasure. Well, the sugar sort of disappears in milk, but just knowing the sugar granules were in there made it feel so special.
Ok but we're getting off the point. After Jamie waxed poetic about the seemingly forgotten cereal Honey Nut Clusters, I sough out some other lesser-known nutty-clustery cereals. Two that caught my eye were Oatmeal Crisp: Hearty Raisin and Raisin Nut Bran. Jamie joined me for this special compare-and-contrast edition of Cereal Eats:
Oatmeal Crisp: Hearty Raisin
Ok, this isn't technically a raisin bran. It's description reads: Sweet, crispy flakes with whole grain oats, juicy raisins and delicious oat clusters. Let's break this down:
Sweet: Unless you are a Frosted Flake, I do not want my flakes to be sweet. This was a major flaw in the raisin-bran-off and I did not care for it in this cereal.
Crispy: These flakes were definitely not crispy! They were rather thick and actually reminded me of curled pepperonis.
Juicy Raisins: "These raisin taste fresh," Jamie commented while we were taking a few dry handfuls from the box. So, I suppose that's a plus.
Delicious Oat Clusters: Indeed, these oat clusters are wonderfully "oat-y," meaning there is no sugary coating, but rather just a soft clump of oats with a slight cinnamon flavor. These proved to be delicious in milk.
Raisin Nut Bran
"Is this the cereal I was actually looking for?" Jamie gasped breathlessly as we opened the box. We cracked open the icy cold milk and proceeded to find out. The description reads as "Crisp whole wheat bran flakes with delicious covered raisins and slivered almonds." Let's see how everything measured up.
Crisp whole wheat & bran flakes: Now THAT is what I'm talkin' about. That is the crisp, shattering, unsweetened flake I am looking for! This would have won the flake portion of the raisin-bran-off.
Delicious covered raisins: This sweet, sweet mystery had Jamie and I scratching our heads. These soft raisins appear to be covered in some sort of beige coating. I ate one dry and was rewarded with a sweet, candy-like raisin that rivaled my beloved sugarcoated ones. We don't know what they are covered in and quite frankly, don't really care. As far as I'm concerned they are coated in delicious and that works for me.
Slivered almonds: As always, the complaint was simply that there are not enough of these nutty shards!
The verdict? Jamie and I felt if we incorporated the clusters of Oatmeal Crisp into Raisin Nut Bran, we would have the perfect nutty, raisin-y, cluster-y cereal. All around, these were both pretty good. I'll definitely be picking up Raisin Nut Bran again!
Anyone familiar with these lesser know raisin-y cereals? Let us know in the comments!
About the author: Aside from doing an awesome job with her role as Advertising Sales Manager, Leandra Palermo secretly harbors a lifelong passion with all things crunchy and served with icy cold skim milk. This column represents the culmination of that love affair.