Thursday, July 16, 2009


My whole family likes Miniwheats. Tanya introduced me to them back when we first got married, and I am hooked. Now, original Shredded Wheat is one of the more disgusting culinary inventions that I know of. It's just a brick of knitted wheat-based fibers that look like they are ready to be made into a burlap sack, and taste that way. They tried to improve on this at one point by making a cereal called Miniwheats -- not the same as the present version, and I don't even think you can find them anymore. These were simply smaller bricks of unflavoured wheat fiber, each one still too big to fit in one's mouth. Then someone at Kellogg's got a brilliant idea: why don't we make them so small that you can actually spoon them into your mouth like other cereal. Genius!

They called the new cereal "Bite-sized Miniwheats." And then they went totally crazy and put sugar on them. I don't know why this took so long, since every other cereal is full of sugar. These were "Frosted Bite-sized Miniwheats" -- today simply Miniwheats. The great thing about this cereal is that it tastes quite sweet for the amount of sugar on it, because all the sugar is on the outside where you can taste it (and, if you're like me, you make sure that the sugar side always goes directly on the tongue). Coating is an easy way to get flavour without all the bad things (calories) that go with it. Another food that takes advantage of coating is salted nuts, which are not nearly as full of salt as you might think. Soups are the exact opposite: all the flavouring gets mixed thoroughly, so you have to have a lot of anything to experience its flavour. That's why soups are full of salt -- usually over 100% of your RDA, sometimes 200%. Even low-salt soups are still pretty salty compared to other foods, but they don't taste that way.

Recently they have added some additional Miniwheat flavours, such as strawberry and blueberry. I actually like these quite a bit, but I had to laugh at the official flavours: it's not just "blueberry," it's "blueberry muffin." As though the cereal has anything in common with blueberry muffins other than the blueberries. It's obviously a marketing ploy, and one that works, too, at least on my kids. Alex was telling me how much he loved the cereal. "At first, Mom just said it was blueberry," he explained. "And I didn't want that. But then I read the box and saw that it was blueberry muffin!"

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