Another Reason Why the Gradual De-White-Breadination of the US is Perfectly Okay With Me
Posted on December 29, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 79 Comments
Because it means I get churro-derived breakfast cereal. Athena and I both spotted this box in the store, said “Dude! Churro cereal!” almost simultaneously, and lunged for the box. I got it first because I still have the slightly longer reach. But I will share it with her, I promise. Regardless, it is truly an age of miracles and wonders.
And for those of you asking whether it’s actually possible to get the sheer, unalloyed awesomeness of a churro into a breakfast cereal form, the answer is, of course not. Churros are perhaps nature’s most perfect hot fried pastry; Post Mini Cinnamon Churros™ can’t hope to replicate their native awesomeness. And as a breakfast cereal, the individual churro nuggets seem little unwieldy to me (I’m eating it as a snack, picking up each piece with my fingers, rather than trying to navigate the things unto a spoon through a bowl of milk). But this breakfast cereal version seems more like a churro than, say, a breakfast cereal version of a doughnut is like an actual donut, or a breakfast cereal version of a cookie is like one of them. The breakfast cereal churro is at least in the same actual family as the real thing, rather than being merely a sugared corn product extruded in the shape of something you’d rather be eating. So it gets a pass from me.
I could go on about how a churroesque breakfast cereal is a testimony to the growing cultural and financial power of the burgeoning Hispanic market in the US. But then I would need graphs and charts and an easel. What I can tell you is that churros are fantastic and that having them even in denatured breakfast cereal form makes me happy. So thank you, Hispanic America, for being enough of a purchasing force in the US that I got to eat these this morning. You rock.
Ehhh … without dunking them into hot chocolate which is so thick and creamy that it’s almost like chocolate pudding, you’re missing much of the awesomeness that is churros anyway.
That’s a personal preference thing, I have to say. I prefer my churros undunked, with just cinnamon and sugar on them.
“are perhaps nature’s most perfect hot fried pastry”
I have fond memories of my two trips to New Orleans (Worldcon and World Fantasy) and having fresh beignets at Cafe Du Monde … and watching the sun come up.
I will keep an eye out for this new cereal tho, could be interesting.
When you get around to trying them with milk, does milk make them taste more . . . churro-ish?
Since you should also be thankful for the things that are not available as breakfast cereal, I’ll also take this opportunity to say you’re welcome for the lack of Bagel ‘N Lox MiniBites Cereal. I assure you they’d be nasty in milk…chocolate or otherwise.
Ah yes, Hispanic food/culture. I worked for 9 years with whole lot of people (most of the factory!) who were Hispanic of one group or another. After all those years of being fed home made Mexican, or sampling stuff from Honduras or Puerto Rico, I just can’t survive long on plain white bread American foods anymore. Count me in to the Committee for the De-Whitebreadinization of America.
(Also spent years working with people from Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Albania and probably a couple of others that I’m forgetting. Good times folks, Good Times).
You must never have had a Portuguese malasada.
Malasada = Portagee sweet bread fried like the thin fried dough you get at carnivals or fairs then brushed with melted butter with your choice of powder toppings (I, like John, prefer cinnamon sugar on mine)
GO ETHNIC PASTRIES!!!
You’re welcome, and thank you guys for coming up with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, the most amazing cereal–most amazing food, really–ever. Who but anglos would have thought to lovingly sprinkle a breakfast cereal with crack cocaine?
Well, isn’t that just barftastic.
You’re welcome Joe I. And thanks to whomever invented tamales, especially banana leaf wrapped tamales. Not a sweet or a pastry, but good grief I can eat them until my eardrums burst.
Wow. That’s pretty awesome. Though I have to agree with Michael Walsh: beignets are the win.
I might be wrong about this, but I thought the churro was a Spanish invention (i.e. from Spain) and therefore technically not Hispanic. But as a member of the Hispanic community I’m more than happy to take the credit.
I need a funnel cake flavored cereal. Food Scientists – get to work!
I will second their unwieldness for use with a spoon – though they do taste pretty cinnamon-tastic. The dang things are frikkin’ huge.
I haven’t had a real Churro since I left California many years ago, but I pine for them from time to time.
While bowing to no one in my love of churros, I’d put both beignets and hungarian langosh up as contenders for nature’s most perfect hot fried pastry.
Sam: Churros are originally from Spain (though there’s a different theory that the Portugese brought them from China). But wouldn’t be surprised if most folks in the US who’ve tested them have gotten that taste via Hispanic culture.
Don’t think I’ve ever actually tried churros, but I do love me some funnel cake.
To take this to a more serious level than it probably deserves, is this part of the gradual de-white-breadination of the US … or part of the gradual white-breadination of non-US culture? Some of both, I suppose.
I had some Churros in the Camden Town market a couple of weeks ago and filled with cinnamon & chocolate, it was delicious.
I hope more and more so-called-ethnic food becomes common. Thanks to the Polish and south-asian (indian-pakistani) society we get a lot more decent food in the supermarkets compared to a decade ago. If they can take the good stuff from here and enjoy it as well as everyone, everyone’s better. I just hope they don’t get addicted to the rubbish food culture US &UK tend to import around.
Wait, you’re in Ohio and I’m in So. Cal. You’ve seen these in your super market but I have not. Either I don’t pay attention in the cereal isle (possible) or they’re being tested in your neck of the woods.
I will look this evening for Science!
Ohio is a test market. If it can make it there – a product tends to be able to make it anywhere. Of course, this also means sometimes you find something you find utterly AWESOME… and then everybody stops carrying it, because you were one of a small group that liked it.
We, however, are to thank that Throwback Mountain Dew is now national, I believe. (I had to haunt gas stations to find the twelve-packs for a while.)
@HAKAN: I spent much of 2011 in Pakistan, and there was an huge amount of sweet, tasteless white bread available in the supermarkets. I think it was mainly for expats, though. Most middle class Pakistanis would have cooks and would eat homemade bread in the form of roti and naan. My experience of Pakistani supermarkets is largely bland, but I suspect that’s an artifact of catering to mostly expats (including returned expat Pakistanis) who want wonder bread, processed cheese and instant coffee.
I live in Hong Kong, and sweet white bread is endemic here. There are some bakeries which do real bread, but any sliced bread is incredibly sweet. Cake sweet. Luckily, there are some bakeries (http://donq.co.jp/ have a local operation) which do real French bread. If you ever go to Hong Kong, go to Sogo in Causeway Bay, find the bakery in the basement and get the kind of bread you would find in Paris.
Bearpaw beat me to it. In fact, highly processed breakfast cereal seems so essentially white-bready to me that it took me a while to figure out the title of this piece.
You can get them on Amazon, by the way.
When you mention de-white-breadination I cannot help but think of a friend who grew up in the midwest. She cannot eat at Chipotle because their rice is too spicy for her. Because of the cilantro. I know, it is kind of sad actually. We went to get Thai food as a group and not only was the only thing she could get on the menu the chicken satay with peanut sauce and plain white rice, but the smell of mine was too spicy and she had to switch seats.
So glad I grew up in California!
All the best,
i thank chinese americans too whenever i get ti eat some kung pao!
I’ve lived in San Antonio for almost 20 years and I don’t know of one single place that sales churros or churritos or whatever they’re called. What’s up with that? Tamales are all over the place, though.
Hey! How does a tamale-based cereal sound?
Raise your hand if you had to Google ‘churro’..
I’d never heard of them.
@Nathan: But tell me the world would not be a better place if the breakfast cereal industry invented Sufganiy-Os.
These have just joined Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch as a favorite eat-dry finger cereal.
Aside: I’m a bit confused, does “Hispanic” no longer also refer to things from Spain and the Iberian peninsula in general?
Never underestimate the ability of the processed food industry to cater to all possible markets. Highly processed grain particles, mixed with sugar, in the form of an ethnic food! Hoorah! Yet another grand contribution toward the obesity epidemic!
Bring on the tamale cereal, no, really bring it on. I’ll be a tester. Mmmm masa… mmmmm… pork/chicken/beef/goat/whatever else filling.
I’ve had dead-fresh churros on Olvera Street and dead-fresh beignets at the Cafe Du Monde, and … the churros were better.
Tamales in banana leaves are not to be despised, but I much prefer mine in corn husks. And while we’re on the subject, putting sugar, honey, or cinnamon on sopapillas is a heathenish practice. They should be eaten with the meal, not as dessert.
With the exception of the beignets, all these things can be had 10-20 blocks south of my apartment, in a neighborhood so emphatically and recently Mexican that some of the little corner groceries have shrines in them to Our Lady of Guadalupe. (The churros peddled in our local subway stations are, alas, not fresh at all.)
There is almost no pastry on the planet which cannot be improved (perfected?) with the addition of cinnamon and sugar. My daughter is a fan of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I wonder if she’d appreciate a bowl-o-churros, too? Of course, the churro itself is reputed to have a long and colorful history that crosses at least three continents. And yes, this is clearly one more brick in the long, long road to obesity in America. But is that the fault of the manufacturer, or the fault of a consumer public which should know better than to treat corn-based-sugar-cereals as “food” when they are, in fact, a snack? As God intended. (reaches for the box of Cap’n Crunch)
Americans will not rest until we have easy access to tasty, unhealthy foods from every nation and culture. My people have contributed the hot pastrami sandwich, so I think we’ve done our share.
@Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Your comment on tamales in corn verses banana was jumbled up. I to find corn husk tamales to be an enjoyable moment of eating, although banana leaf tamales edge them out for superior flavor.
Oh wait, you actually meant that backward comment? :-O ~fainting and taking a case of the vapors~ LMAO. I think in someways, a lot of it also depends on the cultures you grow closest to. In the case of my amigo from Vera Cruz (home of proper banana leaf tamales), he and his wife were very big about sharing their food (n fact most of the people i worked with were very nice about sharing their food).
One of the guys I worked with was from the state of Hidalgo and was a master at making barbequed goat… to be used in the making of tacos. And a couple of my buddies had wives very good at making breakfast tamales that had cinnamon and raisins wrapped up in corn husky goodness. Damn… now I’m hungry.
I can’t even imagine a world without Tortilla chips and salsa
Curse your people for contributing hot pastrami sandwiches to American culture. Now I’m torn as to whether to go get some tamales or a hot pastrami sandwich on course bread.
I’ll note in the case of the churro breakfast cereal in question, it’s made with wheat rather than corn. I was vaguely surprised myself.
grr damn my wandering mind… coarse not course. Stupidity cause by a bad week. ;-)
Such are the thoughts that lead to dystopian visions…
:( bummer, and i was so excited to try churro-flavored puffed corn. no wheat for me!
Looks pretty tasty, though.
Chile exploding churros recipe case resolved
I, too, am surprised that “Hispanic” has been decoupled from Spain. The Spanish ones are definitely made from wheat, as I asked and decided it wasn’t worth three days of gutache. I was quite happy with soaked chufas.
They’re not just in Ohio; I’ve seen them in the grocery stores here in south Louisiana. Haven’t tried them yet; but I may be tempted into sampling them yet.
On another pastry note; king cakes are now appearing in the groceries—just when you were thinking about dieting for the New Year comes the attraction of strawberry and cream cheese filled king cake! (I can feel the pounds piling on.)
You’re welcome! Even though I’m Puerto Rican and not the least bit Mexican. :)
My favorite example of the whole “melting pot” America has always been that you can walk into pretty much any Irish Pub in the country and order a chicken quesadilla/Nachos. It’s always made me smile.
Alas, apart from the ceviche controversies, my ancestor haven’t made much of an impact to U.S. cuisine (yet).
The ice cream trucks in our neighborhood bring chili-mango and salted-lime popsicles. Enough said.
@D. Paul Angel
I grew up in the midwest, and still live there, and certainly know a few people from the hinterlands that their first encounter with curry was quite jarring, but your friend…?
There’s something wrong with her.
She either doesn’t want to try new food out of fear, or she’s putting on a food show for attention. Either way, she is not indicative of the region. Lord knows, the people here love the hell out of their Chipolte… they line up outside the door! It’s crazy.
Heh. America is a food melting-pot. My office sits in a triangle between a SE US barbeque joint, a Vietnamese restaurant, and a Greek diner-bar. In the parking lot, right now, are two food trucks: one is curry, the other tacos. Gotta love it.
but…but… but… it’s an abomination… *flabbergasted* It might well be a yummy abomination though. I just can’t wrap my head around it.
Oh, and Cilantro does not make food spicy. Chile and pepper make foods spicy. Cumin enhances spice if it is present. So says I, the Chicana who can’t eat spicy food and thinks Tequila is gross.
Recant your heresy about tequila being gross. Recant I say.
tequila isn’t gross. It’s evil. And the last time was the last time between tequila and me and I mean it this time. No more. My body can’t do that shit anymore.
Anybody who thinks tequila is gross — I’ll drink your share, no problemo. Been drinking it for 45 years now (not as much as I used to, but there’s still a bottle in the other room in case I want some).
Went to college in southern Colorado, found out about sopapillas, tamales, and OMG green chili, yum! And now I’m in Berkeley, within walking distance of good Mexican, Thai, Indian/Pakisani, Japanese, Chinese, Ethiopian, Cambodian, Cajun, Vietnamese, and Italian food. Oh, and there’s a good falafel place half a block away. Damn shame so many bookstores are closing, though…
I am going to have to disagree. I believe that the funnel cake is the most perfect fried pastry. Churros are awesome too, but I think the funnel cake wins. Too bad they haven’t made a funnel cake breakfast cereal. That would rock!
Good to know! I don’t think it is a drama thing, but she is definitely the most sensitive person I’ve ever met when it comes to spices. The Chipotle here just added brown rice too, which makes their burritos all the more awesome. And, i found out, you can request they double wrap them and they’ll do it for free :-)
@D. Paul Angel…. ah, but do they also have refried black beans?
@ Digital Atheist
Never! But if you ever want to drink rum, I’ll be more than happy to share my expertise, and maybe even a glass.
@Xana… mmmmmm.. rum. Dark or light? i like both.
@Digital Atheist 5:28
Well they have black beans and pinto beans, but neither are re-fried. Sorry. But if you have never been to a Chipotle I highly recommend it. It is easily the best inexpensive chain I’ve ever eaten at. They also put a large emphasis on fresh ingredients and buying local, too.
I am also with you on liking tequila! As well as rum, gin, vodka, bourbon, whiskey and, my personal favorite, whisky :-)
Jon Hansen at 4.24, don’t be so dismissive. The intense dislike for cilantro is common though it varies as a proportion of the population from country to country. I love spices but to me cilantro tastes like soap mixed with copper salts (yes, I have tasted that mixture) with vicks Vaporub. The botanist who named the Long Coriander “Eryngium foetidum” obviously shared my dislike.
If you said something like that at my table and did not immediately apologise you would have to leave. In matters of taste you cannot argue and you certainly should not assume that someone is fearful, attention-seeking or has something wrong with them just because their taste differ from yours.
I’d like to put in a word for what my grandmother called “Bohemian Fried Cakes” and what all the rest of us called “boozey donuts.” Dey haz RHUMS in dem. And they’re frosted with a yummy frosting. If you bite the corners off and inhale through them, you can get a lungful of rum fumes. RUMMY YUMMY.
Haven’t had them in years. I’ll have to ask my mom if she still has the recipe.
Most people are fine with cilantro, but it has a soapy flavor element. Some people can’t taste another element that covers the soapy one, so they end up with a different perception of cilantro than the rest of us.
So it’s not what’s ordinarily called a “matter of taste.” It’s a matter of gustatory physiology. If someone says they can’t stand cilantro, it’s at least silly and probably rude to tell them it’s an acquired taste, or any of the other dumb things people say when they like something that someone else doesn’t.
I happen to love it myself. I’m lucky enough to be able to taste the covering flavor. But I also like nutrient yeast, which most people can’t stand.
Incidentally, I defend the right of people not to like cilantro (or anything else), even if they’re not one of the unlucky ones to whom it tastes like soap. Hell, I know some people who don’t like chocolate, and I don’t give them shit about it, even though I find that jawdroppingly alien to my own preferences.
At one point on a company trip to Disneyland, me and a coworker made it a mission to sample every churro from every churro stand we saw. That was the rule. If we saw a churro stand we hadn’t eaten from, we got a churro.
We didn’t really notice much difference between the various churros, aside from some being hotter and crispier than others, but I think I’m still carrying the belly fat from that day….
I don’t eat grains anymore, but I must admit when I saw this photo a small, 8-year-old part of me cried out, “WAAAAANT.”
Scalzi: De-White-Breadination of the US
“white bread” as in bleached flour? Or “white bread” as in “plain”?
I don’t think I ever heard of a churro until this moment, so just wondering.
My two most common foods in this category are shredded wheat and oatmeal. If you want some non-bleached-flour foods, then there’s always oatmeal.
Greg, I’m going to assume you’re being deliberately silly, and don’t actually need an explanation of the term ‘white-bread’ as meaning “of or pertaining to the blandest American WASP culture.”
These are shaped a little bit like my beloved King Vitamin, which is ever so hard to find these days.
Also, as regards superior pastries: I recently found the deliciousness that is Marinela at my local 7-11. They have Hostess beat hands-down, and they also don’t use beef fat. Double win.
I’m not being dismissive because he tastes differs from mine. I am being dismissive and calling her out as a drama queen from the evidence presented by Mr. Angel.
1. She said the Chipolte Rice was too spicy, but it’s not. It’s just plain rice with unidentified bits of green included (a food-fearer’s natural enemy: Green stuff). Anyway, there’s no spice on it. So, I take that to mean that she hasn’t ever truely tried the rice or chipolte.
2. She blamed the spicyness of the rice on the Cilantro, which as you stated above (correctly) tastes like soap, NOT spicy, as she claims. Which also leads me to believe she’s never actually tried cilantro either (that she knows of…)
3. The group date of Thai food. I’m assuming that she didn’t choose the place. And since I’m also already assuming that she is A. A drama queen. And B. A food-fearer, then I am also assuming that she was probably a little miffed for having to go to what she considers an icky-poo-poo food place. So, being “Forced” to move seats due to the spicy smell was nothing but a bit of acting out teen queen drama for not getting her way.
Am I assuming alot of things?
Do I care?
And that, my friends, is the heart of being truly dismissive.
You are dismissed, Pat.
Guys, you’re being stupid about a trivial thing, regarding a person you don’t actually know, on a comment thread about churro cereal. Jesus Christ. Stop it now.
WHEEP! I’m going to look for this product in our markets… even though I try to buy non-sweetened cereal for day-to-day consumption because of the snack-attack tendency.
Thanks for sharing… I think.
Hell, I know some people who don’t like chocolate, and I don’t give them shit about it, even though I find that jawdroppingly alien to my own preferences.
As someone who doesn’t like chocolate, I note that the smarter people who do figure out pretty quickly that being polite about it is a great way to get shortlisted for “Ah, crap, I got chocolate again. Here, you can have it.”
WRT whitebreadization, it’s always interesting to me, as someone who has lived in a lot of different places, what counts as ‘ethnic’ food. Here in northern California, people think of moussaka and paczki as exotic ethnic foods and Molson is an imported rarity among beers – things that were “normal food” where I grew up – but every Costco sells churros at the food counter, and if you can’t find a restaurant nearby that serves sesos and has menudo on the weekends, you’re just being deliberately obtuse.
“Churros are perhaps nature’s most perfect hot fried pastry”
Yes, they are!
I literally just saw the churro cereal on the shelf at a Walmart the other night. I should really get a box and hope Sabrina doesn’t scarf ’em all down before I can try a bowl.
(I did get another cinnamon-sugar-enhanced product recently…Mission Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips. Yum! Sadly, it’s a seasonal thing…)
Oh, and Chipotle started around here, over by the University of Denver. I do like me a steak burrito with black beans. Approved by Ozzy Osbourne, no less! :-)
Some people shoot their cereal from guns; we beat ours with whips …
So, if the churro is so amazing, which it is, that it was made into fake churro cereal, WHY CAN’T I BUY A REAL ONE AS EASILY AS A DOUGHNUT????
What is wrong with the world, that the churro is not as ubiquitous as a krispy creme?
I’m just saying, those in charge of making my world better had better get their acts together.
mythago, yesterday: As someone who doesn’t like chocolate, I note that the smarter people who do figure out pretty quickly that being polite about it is a great way to get shortlisted for “Ah, crap, I got chocolate again. Here, you can have it.”
*quickly hides copy of The Prince behind back*
Well, now you’re just going to get chocolate all over your book.
mythago, I’m an amateur chocolatier. I’m used to having chocolate all over EVERYTHING. One year I walked into the UPS store to ship my Christmas production run (all gifts, I don’t sell them) and everyone in the store immediately looked up because I brought the smell of chocolate with me; it had permeated my clothes, and followed me around in a cloud. I’d wondered why I was getting those funny looks on the street.
Xopher, you make me want to be your best friend.