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The Classic Hot Cereal Is Hotter Than Ever

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

What’s the latest, hottest, newest food craze? Would you believe…oatmeal? Yes, the gruel-like breakfast bowl has been around seemingly forever, but it appears to be one of the trendiest foods out there right now.

Starbucks, McDonald’s and Caribou Coffee are all getting behind the stuff in a big way and, of course, health advocates have been urging us to eat it for years (not to mention your mother).

Starbucks has been pushing its ‘Perfect Oatmeal’ for more than a year now. For about a buck-fifty you get a plain bowl of oatmeal with packets of brown sugar, dried fruit and nuts for toppings.

Caribou Coffee is touting its new “handcrafted oatmeal.” You start with two choices: regular or seven-grain. Then you pick a flavor: classic, apple cinnamon, maple brown sugar crunch, very berry or cranberry orange. Cost is around $2.75.

Now that McDonald’s is into the act, you know it’s a bona fide trend. For just under two bucks, you get maple-flavored oatmeal sprinkled with fresh apple chunks, raisins and dried cranberries. If you can order that while smelling the aroma of pork sausage and hash browns cooking, you’re a better man than me.

Here’s Starbucks’ version

Most hotels feature oatmeal as part of the breakfast buffet, and fledgling ‘restaurant’ chain The Cereal Bowl even has oatmeal cookers built into the counters. You get six signature oatmeal menu choices, in addition to a nearly endless variety of cold cereal selections and combinations. The Cereal Bowl has locations in Newark, Del., and New Brunswick, N.J., with plans for new units in Miami, Fla., and Washington, D.C.

Smoothie chain Jamba Juice has jumped on the bandwagon, as well, promoting its steel-cut oatmeal.

We’ve been pretty on-trend at our house, too. We’ve been mixing in lots of fresh or frozen blueberries (the super fruit) into our oats and cooking up oatmeal that’s as purple as the Minnesota Vikings home jerseys. It tastes great. Just make sure you brush your teeth afterwards.

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