Regarding syrup-topped breakfast items, if pancakes are the Britney Spears (sort of plain without all the fixins) and Belgian waffles are the Christina Aguilera (foreign-sounding and crispy), then French toast has got to be the Jessica Simpson of the three. In my book, French toast will be forever doomed to third place. However, if I see French toast on a menu coupled with the words “cinnamon” or “vanilla,” I will order it without hesitation. Itâ€™s like those two words make it magically different â€“ itâ€™s no longer stale bread in egg batter. Itâ€™s sweet, golden heaven on a plate.
This must be what the good folks at Aunt Jemima had in mind when they conjured up their newest entry into the world of store-bought breakfast, Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal. Along with their other new flavor, “Maple Syrup” (â€¦thinking OUTSIDE the box, Aunt J!), they have attempted to provide us with a modest simulacrum of the griddle breakfasts they are known for, in porridge form. Previously, you had to choose between a vaguely religious figure on the Quaker Oats box and a vestigial icon of racialized domesticity on the Cream of Wheat box. Now with Aunt Jemima in the mix (which has been owned by the Quaker Oats Company since the 1920s), weâ€™ve got a new smiling logo in town.
I immediately went for the Cinnamon French Toast flavored oatmeal because, yes, it added the word “cinnamon.” The Maple Syrup flavored one was a no-go. Why anyone would choose to eat a meal that is named after a topping rather than an actual food is beyond me. The bright red packaging is inviting, reminding me of the boxes of frozen pancakes, frozen waffles, and frozen blueberry pancake-wrapped sausage Iâ€™ve scarfed down in the past. The oatmeal comes in boxes of four and ten. The 4-pack is cheaper ($1.00!) but still yields portions that are a bit on the small side. However, you should be doing what every cereal commercial commands and eating this as PART OF A COMPLETE BREAKFAST. So shut up.
Overall, Aunt Jemima Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal tastes pretty good. There is a rich brown sugar and cinnamon flavor which gives it just the right amount of sweetness. Itâ€™s not diabetic coma territory, but weâ€™re not in Bland Town, either. Preparation is extremely easy, but adding boiling water and stirring don’t allow the rolled oats to really grow. Instead, they stay mostly flat as they soak, so it lacks that really filling quality youâ€™d find in other brands. The oats do get tender, though, and the cinnamon flavor is rather robust. It doesnâ€™t exactly recreate the flavor of authentic French toast, but itâ€™s closeâ€¦ and for what amounts to about 25 cents per bowl, itâ€™s an easy pick on a cold winterâ€™s morn.
So, for those of us who prefer our hot breakfast in a bowl, Aunt Jemima has provided us with a pretty decent initial foray into the highly competitive world of instant hot cereal. As she goes up against Big Daddy Quaker Oats and Cream of Wheat in our local grocery aisle, hereâ€™s hoping Aunt J. takes home more than the bronze medal. Everyone knows that Third Place = mom jeans, and nobody likes that.
(Nutrition Facts â€“ 1 packet â€“ 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 160 milligrams of sodium, 100 milligrams of potassium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of soluble fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 4% iron, 10% phosphorous and 8% magnesium)
Item: Aunt Jemimaâ€™s Cinnamon French Toast Instant Oatmeal
Size: 4 count box with 1.34 oz packets
Purchased at: Price Chopper
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Delicious cinnamon. Tasty brown sugar. Marginally convincing French toast flavor. 25Â¢ per bowl. Easy prep. Part of a complete breakfast.
Cons: The Jessica Simpson of breakfast foods. Small portions. Rolled oats stay flat in water. Mom jeans.