Feb 12 2009
If you spend all day working hard, you need a stick-to-the-ribs breakfast to carry you through. When guest contributer James Stone’s favorite commercial cereal disappeared from his local HyperMart shelves, he experimented until he came up with his own adaptation. But rather than paraphrase him, let him fill you in…
Cereal grains are healthy and hearty, and have long been considered the “staff of life” when made into bread. Eating hot porridge made from cereal has fueled mankind for thousands of years from Egypt to Scotland, and across the Atlantic to America. Whether guiding a kayak through whitewater, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or meeting the challenges of the office, hot cereal has the power to help you through your modern-day life.
Think hot cereal is boring? So did I when thinking of mom’s oatmeal. But the following combination of cereal grains has a flavor I haven’t tired of for almost 20 years. Six and one-half ounces is a week’s worth, and the most expensive ingredient, as I remember it, costs about $1.30 per pound. It requires about ten minutes of cooking time, and I am able to get all the ingredients for my mix at a local food co-op, though they can also be purchased online.
Ingredient List for Magic Morning Mix The list isn’t long, as you can see:
- • triticale (a hybrid of rye and wheat) flakes
- • barley flakes
- • wheat flakes
- • rye and oat flakes
- • flax seed or flakes
Making Magic Morning Mix To make enough for a week, combine:
- • 1 cup triticale flakes
- • 0.5 cup EACH barley, rye, rolled oats and wheat flakes
- • 0.5 cup rolled quick oats
- • 0.25 cup flax flakes (OR half that amount if using flax seed)
Because I like the cereal, I mix enough at these proportions to fill a one-gallon container, with some left over to add when I run short. Don’t fret if you don’t have the exact proportions—I’ve chosen a mix with proportions that suit me, but you might think differently.
Cooking Directions A half cup of the mixed dry cereal plus one cup of water brought to a boil and then turned down to a vigorous simmer takes about ten minutes, with occasional stirring. Covering the pot is not necessary. Since I don’t always wait ten minutes, the quick oats in the mix let me fudge the time without it tasting like under-cooked hot cereal. I usually occupy myself by making coffee during the ten minutes it takes to cook the cereal.
At the table I add brown sugar and chopped dates, with a splash of milk. Other delicious garnish variations—separately or in combination—include:
- • raisins
- • dried, freeze-dried or fresh berries
- • sunflower seeds
- • sesame seeds
- • slivered almonds
- • honey or maple syrup
The possibilities for variations of this cereal are limited only by your imagination and what you can find at hand. You might even add these garnishes in the last minute or so of cooking. After a breakfast of Magic Morning Mix, I’ve split firewood for hours and felt no need for lunch until 2 p.m.
A commercially available cereal mix called Five Grain Cereal contains the main ingredients mine do and is marketed by Purcell Mountain Farms. I’ve seen Five Grain Cereal in the bulk food section of grocery stores and packaged with the other hot cereals. I don’t know the proportions they use, nor do I know if they add quick oats. They are also more likely to use flax flakes than flax seed as flakes are much easier on those with diverticulitis.
Sounds delicious to me! Thanks go out to James for letting Outside Up North share his recipe and photo, and to his wife Susan for photo editing. Now, time to make up a shopping list…