Review: Cracklin’ Oat Bran Cereal

IMG_3811How did I get here?

All I did was innocently pour myself a bowl of Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Sure, my friends told me that it was a “slippery slope,” and that “once you crackle, there’s no going backle.” But I didn’t listen. No cereal could be that good, let alone that addicting.

Yet here I am: curled up in the fetal position on a milk-stained mattress in the basement of some “Cracklin’ house.” As I pull myself to my feet, the air is dusty with cinnamon and graham. I stagger to the door, past the scores of bran junkies, savagely filling their spoons and stuffing their faces with little brown rectangles in a futile attempt to recapture the thrill of that first bowl. I leave, and blinded by the daylight (how long have I been here?), I wonder how I hit this new low.

Cracklin’ Oat Bran: not even once.

But of course, you have to try it at least once. For so long, Cracklin’ Oat Bran was a forbidden fruit to me. Seen as a “top shelf” cereal, COB was always just out of a child’s reach, right next to Oatmeal Crisp, Basic 4, and all those other cereals which tempt with bright colors but also cost an unheard of $4.99 per box. Plus the hidden cost of your soul, of course, but my 8 year old self had no conception of this oat addiction epidemic.

But now I know why.

Because it’s worth it.IMG_3812

The rectangular outlines of compact oat bran are rounded on top and flat on the bottom, but corrugated on the sides: a perfect metaphor for their attractive appearance yet hard to digest nutritional content. See, they may be a good source of fiber (as if the word “bran” wasn’t already a neon-lit indicator of their ability to…erm…vacate intestines), but a mere 3/4 cup serving of COB is a heavy 200 calories.

I may not be one to care about nutritional content in cereal, but even I have to be careful around these if I have any hope of outliving the milk in my refrigerator.

The oat bran is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg as the spices of choice, and that choice is obvious immediately upon opening the bag and inhaling, with the smell being akin to a freshly baked holiday pie crust.

Eaten dry, the rectangles are crunchy, but not in a dense or strenuous way. Instead, they just pleasantly crumble into a slightly gritty pile of graham-flavored debris. It’s tasty, but the strong cinnamon overtones can be overwhelming, even to the point that it sucks your mouth dry like some poor sap stuck in a time loop, forced to relive 2010 and the stupid “Cinnamon Challenge” again and again.

IMG_3813That’s right. These babies need milk. When you slather your thirsty bowl of human kibble with liquid goodness, the formerly dry and crunchy squares quickly absorb it. And through some wonderful process of “oatosynthesis,” they take on the texture and flavor of slightly soggy cinnamon graham crackers. In fact, if we’re being oddly specific (and when aren’t we?), they taste exactly like Keebler’s Scooby-Doo Cinnamon Graham Cracker Sticks.

The previously stifling cinnamon and nutmeg become sweet kisses on top of the remarkably oatmeal cookie flavored base. Snickerdoodle Cereal may have been a good alternate name. Remember how I promised portion control? That went right out the window as I chomped down piece after piece like Scooby-Doo himself scarfing down Scooby Snacks.

So if you want a bowl of tempting cookies and milk, go ahead: splurge and buy yourself a box. But when you find yourself sneaking into a Montana cow pasture at 3am just to steal enough milk for “one last spoonful,” don’t say I didn’t warn you.


The Bowl: Cracklin’ Oat Bran

The Breakdown: Too expensive, too unhealthy, but who cares, give me more of these amazing, milk-guzzling cinnamon rectangles!

The Bottom Line: 10 bad Cinnamon Challenge memories out of 10

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2 responses »

  1. reading your review (which seems to be more like a love letter or a huge shout for hel) those bastards seem to be a pimped version of weetabix?
    Although it’s definitely not the same, c’ause it’s granola and not this crunchy squares that get soggy, but i bought a Speculoos flavoured granola this review reminded me of. It was as addicting and absolutely not healthy 😉


    • You blasphemizing heretic, don’t you dare compare Crack Oat Bran to Weetabix! Weetabix is mild, hearty, and ultimately innocent. Crack Oat Bran is sinister and scheming. It sells itself as the solution to your dietary woes, hell, there’s “oat” and “bran” in it’s name, it must be healthy. And you can’t get more down home than calling something “cracklin'”… it’s reminiscent of a glowing campfire. But make no mistake, Crack Oat Bran will reel you in, sink its claws into you and never let go. It’s like a high-class hooker who takes you to the dive bar and makes all the other degenerates crazy with jealousy, and then makes a show of leaving with you, thus inflating your sense of self-esteem and your libido all at once. Crack Oat Bran would take your candy-ass Speculoos-flavored granola (which actually sounds delightful) and beat it with a cinnamon and nutmeg flavored baseball bat in a dark alley, then act as if was valiantly saving it when the authorities arrived. This review wasn’t a love letter or a cry for help, it was an open admission that the author was a willing slave to Crack Oat Bran. You would be too if you ever got the backbone to put down your weak little Weetabix and found yourself a box of good ol’ American Crack Oat Bran.

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