On the left you see Kellogg's Cracklin' Oat Bran, a 1977 cereal that got a huge boost from the oat bran craze of the 1980s but now has been largely relegated to the section with old folks' serials like Uncle Sam. On the right, Nature Valley (a.k.a. General Mills) Baked Oat Bites, a new product this year. Notice any similarities?
Yes, that's right -- they both look like little square oat frames. The Nature Valley stuff has a tiny strip of frosting on it, but you can't really taste it. It's also more brittle; the Cracklin' Oat Bran has more give, like the classic oatmeal cookie that both cereals taste like.
I'm expecting a huge donnybrook in Cereal Land; could be one of those battles where eighteen lawyers enter a room and five come out alive. It's pretty bloody in that cut-oat world.
Still, I hope we can all learn to get along. I think we need to get more oats and other fiber into our diets if we want to make America great again.
Think about it: Back when Samuel Johnson published his dictionary (1755) and could define oats as "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people," the Scotsmen were well on their way to becoming the world's greatest engineers. Watt, Telford, Baird, McAdam, Bell, Maxwell, the other Watt, Rankine, a pack of Stevensons and Ewings and Andersons and so on... The Scots had that rep for centuries. That's why Star Trek's chief engineer was a Scotsman named Scott (called Scotty) who drank Scotch. (Big imagination there, boys.)
It's no coincidence---oats make you smarter because constipation makes you dumber. Back in the heroic days of Scotsmen, when they even put oats in their organ-stuffed sheep stomach, when the mighty Roman Empire could think of no solution to the Scots and other northern maniacs but to wall them off, they were eating oats by the bushel. Nowadays they probably eat cheese and yogurt and meat and chips and bananas and haven't had a good idea or BM in years.
The moral: Watch for the cereal killers to after each other, and eat your oats so you can be smart like the old Scots and not dopey like the modern Scots. Your heart will be lighter, or at least your bowels will be.