WHILE OTHERS search for the perfect omelette, fluffy French toast or crisp bacon, we are forever on the lookout for peerless cereal. It needn't be elegant. Lump-free will do.Hot or cold, healthy it must be. And, once freely garnished with apples, raisins, currants, honey, milk, cream or yogurt, it can be ambrosial.
Our quest for the best cereal has led us to creamed wheat with maple syrup in Vermont and Rocky Mountain highs of stick-to-the-ribs oatmeal in Colorado.
In Southern California, we took no notice of guide books that said the best breakfasts were on the terrace of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the better to watch the movie stars. We ignored advice that the Beverly Wilshire has the best corned beef hash in the West.
True cereal devotees know that the Old World Restaurant in Westwood is the only place for morning fare. There, on polished wood tables beneath masses of hanging plants, hot, creamy, cinnamon-spiked high fiber cereal is served with a side of currants or papaya.
Fattening, you say? An average serving of one-half cup of cooked cereal is only betwen 75 and 100 calories. Filling it is. And cereals contribute importantly to every nutrient need except calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Although cereal is an incomplete protein, when combined with milk products, the proteins in each supplement one another.
It is not surprising, then, that the famed restorative Bircher Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland, serves its patients muesli, a Swiss cereal combination of raw fruits, nuts and grains. Known now as birchermuesli, after the clinic's founder, it is served topped with schlag (whipped cream) in many Swiss restaurants and cafes. And, it can be ordered at dinner as well."Since our main meal is lunch, lots of Swiss families eat it for dinner. It makes you healthy and strong," declares Margret Maikstaller of the Swiss Embassy.
Naturally, in keeping with all of this, cereal should be as natural as possible. There are several fine sources in the Washington Metropolitan area to obtain ready-made granolas, steel-cut rolled oats and packaged Swiss Familia Birchermuesli.
Yes: Inc., Food Shop, 1015 Wisonsin Ave NW, sells unsweetened granola for $1.30 a pound and Swiss Familia Birchermuesli at $1.74 for 12 ounces and $3.99 for 32 ounces. Bethesda Avenue Co-Op, 4949 Bethesda Avenue, Bethesda, has natural granolas ranging in price from $1 to $1.45 a pound, and rolled oats at 32 cents a pound. At Kennedy's Natural Foods, Baltimore Road and Route 28 in Rockville, a pound of date nut granola is $2.13. Kennedy's also sells Walnut Acres Brown Rice Cream Cereal, one pound for $1.22.
Walnut Acres, Pennsylvania mail order source, offers an organic oatmeal at 69 cents for one pound, three pounds at $1.79 and five pounds for $2.70. Its catalog of natural foods includes a wide range of natural cereals and grains and can be obtained by writing Walnut Acres, Penns Creek, Pennsylvania 17862.
Note, however, that prices are increased by shipping costs of approximately $1.30 to $2.10 for orders of one to 10 pounds. There is also a $1 handling charge. OLD WORLD RESTAURANT HIGH FIBER CEREAL (4 servings) 1 cup whole grain wheat (can substitute oatmeal) 1 1/2 cups oat flakes 3 ounces honey 4 ounces raisins 1 1/4 cups cream 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon cinnamon Sesame seeds and wheat berries to taste
Cook all ingredients over medium heat for 1/2 hour. BIRCHERMUESLI (3 servings) 3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk 3 tablespoons oat flakes Juice of 1 or 2 lemons Juice of 1 orange 6 grated apples, 1 sliced orange, 1 sliced banana or 1 pound mixed berries (rasberries, blueberries, etc.) 1/2 cup chopped nuts
Mix condensed milk with the oat flakes and the lemon and orange juice. Add all fruits and nuts and some cream if desired. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes and serve. Recipes courtesy Margret Maikstaller, Office of Cultural Affairs, Embassy of Switzerland