I will fake it until I make it!

All about the escapades and thoughts of a girl who thinks WAY too much for her own good!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Differences: The Breakfast of Champions

Before I come home and forget all this stuff I wanted to write about a few more difference between living in Italy and living in the United States. So, let’s talk about the cereal aisle in supermarkets.

Now, in the U.S. the cereal aisle is exactly that. A full aisle loaded on both sides with a veritable cornucopia of every kind of cereal that could be invented by man. You’ve got your Cornflakes; Bran Flakes; Rice Checks, Raisin Bran; and Life. You’ve got your Count Chocula; Sugar Smacks; Franken Berry; Captain Crunch; and your Lucky Charms. You’ve got your Kashi Go Lean; your Kashi Good Friends, your Fruit and Fiber; and your various brands of Granola. And let’s not forget about the instant oatmeal in individual packets; rolled oats in the silo shaped cardboard box; Farina Wheat; powdered breakfast drinks; breakfast bars; granola bars; and last but not least… Pop Tarts.

In my first two trips to the grocery store in Rome I could not even find the “cereal aisle.” The reason being they didn’t have one. What they had was a small area of cereal (and I mean small) located near the tea and coffee section that provided four options; one granola based cereal that offered a choice of granola with chocolate chunks, or dried fruit. And the other which offered the choice between plain corn flakes, or corn flakes with chocolate chunks. I’m not kidding, four choices; two with chocolate chunks. In the U.S., with the exception of maybe Cookie Crunch cereal which seemingly makes no apologies for blatantly adding chocolate into a child’s first meal of the day, you don't generally find chocolate chunks offered in a cereal.

Of course, since my first foray into an Italian supermarket in October of 2009, I have found more of a selection in the cereal aisle, but nothing like it is in the States.

A large part of why the cereal aisle is so sparse is because the staple “breakfast of champions” for Italians is a tiny cup of scalding hot espresso and maybe, just maybe, a pastry. Cereal is just not consumed here like it is in the U.S.

In fact, when I was offered a bowl of cereal after spending the night at my boyfriend’s home, I asked in surprise, “You have cereal?” He promptly explained that the cereal in his house was only consumed by his nieces and nephew, all under the age of 10. “Oh.” I said with pursed lips and a prolonged “o” sound. then I unashamedly added, “Yeah, I’ll have some cereal.”

Color me childish, but I’m not embarrassed to admit I need a little more than 3 sips of super strong coffee to get me through the morning. After all breakfast IS the most important meal of the day!

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