Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Breakfast cereal in the UAE

It's been a while since I did any reconnaissance work at the grocery store. How about we talk about breakfast cereal for the last day of NaBloPoMo?

Except for my very early childhood (where I can remember eating homemade bran muffins for breakfast), cereal has been the standard first meal of the day. I guess you could almost say I was addicted to the stuff - if I didn't have a bowl of some kind of flaked or squared or circled grain in a bowl with milk, it was like my day hadn't started yet.

There are a lot of food situations in foreign countries that I've adapted to with considerable aplomb. Weaning myself off breakfast cereal hasn't been one of them. In Russia, we ate weird European mueslis but it was close enough. In Syria, the pickings were very, very slim, and it says a lot about my dedication to breakfast cereal that we choked down ghastly Egyptian cornflakes each morning while we lived there. In Jordan, we reaped a bountiful harvest of expired Lucky Charms boxes that lasted us for a few months. Those were good times.

Here in the UAE, there is more breakfast cereal selection than I've ever seen in my entire existence abroad. There may even be more than in the US. And yet. It's a shame that a lot of it is stuff like this:
 Have you ever seen such a large collection of unabashedly sugary cereals? I submit that you have not, because AYE CARAMBA. It was bad enough when we first moved here, but ever since I read What to Eat, I can't look at these things without experiencing a wave of horror at what is considered to be a breakfast food (or a food, period).

 The selection continues. I tend to stick with Multigrain Cheerios, Shreddies, and sometimes Rice Krispies, because those cereals at least give the appearance of being non-sugary (just don't look at the nutrition label).

Farther down, you start moving into bran flakes territory. I have tried a lot of these cereals and they are almost all disgusting. Especially the Carrefour brand stuff, yeesh.

This is the selection of muesli. The Jordan's brand is really good and it has no added anything. The ingredients are just oats and dried fruit. Sometimes I eat it with plain yogurt, and that takes it up a notch.

The abysmal breakfast cereal choices here have finally weaned me from my habit. These days for breakfast, I sometimes have oatmeal or bread with peanut butter. What I never, ever have is Weetabix. That cereal is so horrifyingly disgusting, I cannot even imagine anyone choking it down.

If I go to Spinney's I try to keep a clear eye for shredded wheat, which sometimes deigns to grace the shelves in the breakfast aisle. Sigh. Should I just give in and eat Nestle Crunch cereal for breakfast??


Jen said...

1. Funny story: When I was reading your post and got to the sentence about Muesli, my cursor was positioned right over the 'o,' and I read, "The ingredients are just cats and dried fruit." But hey, it's on the other side of the world, so, you know, whatever floats your boat.

2. I almost never, EVER eat cereal. But I think we've had the breakfast conversation before. =) Exception: Quaker Oat Squares. Mmmmmmmmm.

Kathy Haynie said...

My breakfast of choice these days is a bowl of brown rice with some fruit / dried fruit mixed in. Short grain brown rice is naturally sweet. Mmmmm...

(Here's a link to a post written by my best friend. I got hooked on the brown-rice-for-breakfast after reading this.

Bridget said...

Kathy, I love the idea of brown rice for breakfast! And I happen to have some that I just cooked for dinner. I might try this tomorrow morning (but I probably won't be able to resist pouring a little milk over it).

Bridget said...

And Jen, Quaker Oat Squares are my favorite!!!!

The Ensign's said...

Heck yes you should.... Nestle crunch sounds delicious, but then again I prefer me sugar cereals and eat a bowl of trix almost every morning =)

Bridget said...

Janae, I love Lucky Charms/Marshmallow Mateys, but the chocolatey sugar cereals gross me out, and Trix makes my mouth hurt. Doesn't it make your mouth hurt??

Liz Johnson said...

I admit a huge weakness for Captain Crunch w/ Crunch Berries and Fruity Pebbles, although I never buy them. I am eating plain oatmeal for breakfast these days. If I feel extra fiesty, I throw in some frozen blueberries. Yum.

Sarah Familia said...

Uncooked brown rice whirled in the blender and then cooked like oatmeal is absolutely luscious--so creamy. I like it with cardamom, honey and sultanas. Kind of like that Indian dessert.

My favorite way to eat muesli is soaked overnight in a mixture of yogurt and water, and then topped with fresh fruit in the morning.

Crys said...

That is a lot of cereal! So I was really into homemade yogurt and homemade granola, or toast, or eggs, but then I had a breakdown and now I eat Lucky Charms pretty much everyday of my life...and yes I know exactly what is in them...Please feel free to judge me ;)

Jen said...

Even you can eat Weetabix if you put a heaping spoonful of sugar on top. I think I only ever bought two boxes of it in England basically because you have to eat it in the first 30 seconds after the milk touches down, or it's just as bad as soggy/swollen Kellogg's Shredded Wheat. What you need to avoid is GrapeNuts.

I looked at those pictures, and it looks like many are akin to cookies and milk for breakfast. Why not admit that and go right to the sweets aisle? Admittedly, I am also a cereal addict -or- oats topped with Yum-Yums guy. This morning's yum-yums for the oats was a drizzle of blueberry freezer jam.



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