A Taste of Yesteryear

Some of you that are old enough, may have memories of Nabisco Shredded Wheat “mattresses,” long before those mini-wheat “fakes” that are covered with white sugary stuff, became popular. No, I mean the “real thing”… The biscuit’s made of whole-grain wheat, with nothing added but a touch of salt … Cereal you couldn’t eat without salting it!

Do you remember Nabisco’s secret ingredient?

No, not in the cereal, but in the box. The cereal was sold in a cardboard package about the size of a small suitcase (with NO plastic or waxed paper inner liner). Each of the three layers was separated by the most ingenious marketing tool ever invented … cardboard cards!

Oh, it wasn’t the cards themselves that was the source of this marketing magnet. It is what was ON them. Each card was printed with information that was designed captivated the imagination of young eaters.They came in several series, each with a different theme.

The one that comes most readily to mind was the Injun-uity series. The cards, by cartoon, drawings and words, offered the wisdom of Native American “Injuns.” We kids of American were taught how to make furniture from things in the wild. How to cook over an open fire. How to build fires for different purposes, i.e. heating, cooking, and storytelling. How to make clothes from gunny sacks (that’s a cattle feed sack, for you young’uns). How to make headdresses out of feathers and beads. How to use an axe. How to make and throw a tomahawk. How to make moccasins and belts and a travois for your dog or horse to pull. So MUCH information!

If I remember correctly, there was a set of cards telling about wild plants that one could eat for survival … in case we ran out of Shredded Wheat, I guess!

Anyway, it was a vile cereal!! It was nutritious, but vile! But, the cards kept me begging for more. And my parents had to keep coming up with more creative ways to get us kids to eat the stuff. On several occasions Dad would threatened to give our food to the starving Africans. One time my sister pushed her bowl back across the table toward dad saying, “My sacwifice. Give it to the Afwians!”

And that brings me back to my memories. The ONE ‘recipe” that actually brought back fond memories of eating breakfast with Nabisco.

As near as I can tell, it went like this:

Poach 2 eggs in milk
Place 2 Shredded Wheat biscuits in a HUGE cereal bowl
Top with a generous pat of butter (not that fakey margarine stuff)
Dash with plenty of salt
Pour the milk and egg over the crunchy, tasteless biscuits rendering them a mushy mass with a flavor that is out of this world.

Perhaps it’s time to send a container-load of Shredded Wheat and poached egg to Africa.