Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Rule: People recommending that a particular cereal tastes like Buc-Wheats cereal need to have actually eaten Buc-Wheats at some point in their lives.

Man. Two recent commenters to my original post lamenting the absence of Buc-Wheats cereal from the marketplace proposed some current alternatives.

It seems clear that neither of these writers had experience with actual Buc-Wheats.
Upon cracking our first box of Kelloggs' Frosted Flakes GOLD this morning the look and taste were immediately quite evocative of our late, lamented Buc-Wheats. It's been too many years to say for sure but to me the similarities are more than casual.
If by "more than casual" you mean "not at all", then yes, of course, I agree with you.

I went and bought a box of Frosted Flakes GOLD, even though I could read on the box that Frosted Flakes GOLD is corn-based. It is honey-flavored with horrific marshmallow overtones. (Like Honey Nut Corn Flakes, but sweeter.)

Not two weeks later, we hear from this individual:
There is a cereal out there that is almost exactly like Buc Wheats. It's called Maple Buckwheat Flakes Cereal by Arrowhead Mills.

Wow, I thought. Maple. Buckwheat. We could be on to something.

Here, again, we have a problem with language, in which one needs to remove the word "exactly" and replace it with "nothing".

So now I've got these two boxes of cereal (Frosted Flakes GOLD and Maple Buckwheat Flakes) in my cupboard and I have no intention of eating any more of them.

For those of you who never ate Buc-Wheats, or who have smoked too much of the locoweed to remember, permit me to attempt an evocation of this discontinued cereal.

It was a wheat-based flake. The closest in texture I know of is Total. But less sweet, a little more whole-grain in flavor. The maple sweetening syrup was drizzled into the cereal, so that most of the flakes were unsweetened, some had just a bit of sweetness, and a few were fused together in a tasty clump of sweet maple-y goodness.

One could compare this in the savory realm to homemade Chex Mix, in which one stumbles across an intense shot of worcestershire sauce-soaked Chex in a handful of mildly seasoned Chex.

This irregular texture and sporadic sweetness was a huge part of the cereal's awesomeness.

In fact, my recollection is that at some point the recipe/manufacturing processes changed. Some rumors suggest that the actual buckwheat was removed--I don't recall noting that, but I do recall that after the change the flavor of the flakes had a bit less depth.

Also after the change there were no longer any maple-encrusted clumps of flakes. The application of the maple flavoring was far more evenly applied.

I still loved Buc-Wheats during this era, although not quite as much, and when I want a cereal that evokes this latter-day Buc-Wheats I turn to Kellogg's Healthy Heart Maple Brown Sugar Smart Start.

It's too sweet and crunchy by far (wish that I could extract the oat clusters), but the maple flavoring combined with the whole grain (in this case oat bran) flakes is the closest thing I've got.

Commenters are welcome to offer their own suggestions, so long as they follow the rule (above). And I'll say right now that unless you write 250+ extremely convincing words describing what about a particular cereal is like Buc-Wheats, I'm not going to run out and try it.

Fool me twice, won't get fooled again.

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Tim said...

Can you get America's Test Kitchen to reverse engineer it?

Anonymous said...

Look at that beautiful orange box back there hiding, teasing us to go back in time and enjoy one more bowl.


Anonymous said...

Oh and try Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Crisp from 'General Mills' (kind of a slap in the face)

It doesnt hold a candle, but for me its as close as you can get out there. The maple flavor is decent, but the bummer is that it tastes artifical after a few bites.

Anonymous said...

please post this!


Anonymous said...

I'm the Arrowhead suggester and I still maintain my original opinion. I've been searching in vain for my favorite childhood cereal -- Buc Wheats -- and the Arrowhead Mills cereal is the closest thing out there. I just finished a bowl now. Feel free to send your half finished box to me. However, I do remember the giant clumps of mapley goodness that is missing from the Arrowhead stuff.

Anonymous said...

Oh, one more thing, you're welcome.

Anonymous said...

I remember digging in the box for the shiny flakes covered in mapley sugar coating. I'd take the box, sit in front of the tv and feel my way through the box. My touch alone I could pull out "the good ones"...

You are right, TOTAL has a similar bite feel as Buc Wheats, but nothing compares to it.

Unknown said...

You nailed it exactly! All the things I loved about Buc Wheats. I'm not sure if I really noticed the change in mid-run, but I do remember the original awesome version so well I can still almost taste them. That nutty flavor and crunch, and the varied intensity of the maple coating was just so perfect in the bowl. None of the maple flavored cereals I've had since they were taken off the shelves can hold a candle to Buc Wheats

Druid said...

Towards the End of Buc Wheat production, they started coating the flakes with honey, instead of maple; the person who thought that a honey-coated flake tasted like Buc Wheats might have only tasted the later, lesser, Buc Wheats.
My aged mother, when I go over to visit, whips me up a one-off of Quasi Buc Wheats out of whole grain total (?), molasses, and Maple Syrup. She refuses to share the recipe, but however she does it, it tastes juuuuust right.

TCUal said...

The best I'be found is to prepare a bowl of Wheaties and drizzle just a bit of Mrs Butterworth syrup on it before submerging it in milk. This is the best imitation for me.

TCUal said...

Forget trying to find a good pre made substitute for Buc-Wheat on the market. Here's the closest imitation I've been able to come up with:
Drizzle a little bit of Mrs Butterworth syrup over a bowl of Wheaties before pouring on the milk.
Not exactly the same, but it satisfies the craving for what is my all-time favorite cereal.