One of the biggest challenges to eradicating plastic from my pantry has been accommodating the seemingly endless voracious appetite of my boyfriend, who at 6’6″, and topping out at slightly less pounds than the 8 inches shorter me, has both hollow legs & apparently, a black hole where his stomach should be. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a LITTLE, but it’s kind of emotionally traumatizing to come home expecting at least half of the ENTIRE leftover pizza from the night before to be there and finding only crumbs.
Anyway, part of the reason for the voracity is because Justin is pretty much a twenty-something absent-minded professor, and he’ll get so engrossed in a photo project that he’ll forget to eat for like, ten hours, and then drag himself, shaking and starving, into the kitchen and grab for the first item he can ingest with the most facility. So basically chips, or cereal, or other easy to grab foods that only really come in plastic bags.
Since we’ve been living together, Justin’s been really awesomely awesome about the no-plastic lifestyle, and has even become mostly vegetarian without my even asking him (he calls himself a “flex-itarian” but I can’t even….what?). So now that the majority of our food is of the needs-to-be-cooked variety, he finds himself in the dragging-shaking-starving scenario quite often.
As far as cereal goes, we survive pretty well on whole grain oatmeal (though I should look into bulk whole oat groats). I eat it just raw with almond milk & honey when it’s hot out, but it’s not really up his alley. So after some research on homemade cereal (and one awesome batch of homemade granola that disappeared in about 1 hour) I found this recipe for corn flakes & decided to try it. That was when the Doom descended upon me. (A Song of Ice and Fire anyone?)
So for the recipe you need cornmeal, sugar, a stainless steel frying pan, a sifter, and a spray bottle for water. I used blue cornmeal from the bulk bins at Whole Foods that I’d brought home in a fabric bag, labeled with a strip of paper instead of a twisty tie. I transferred it into my handy pasta sauce-turned-storage mason jar.
I didn’t think to use my colander/strainer as a sifter (which was much better suited, btw) so for the first batch I used my tea strainer. Needless to say, my first “flake” was about as thick as a skin flake. Albeit, a very large, grainy, purple skin flake. The problem was that I couldn’t sift enough cornmeal onto the pan with my tea strainer…so I tried the old Dump ‘n Shake, pouring about 1/4 a cup of cornmeal onto the pan and then trying to level it by shaking the pan. The problem with THIS method was that the cornmeal was too thick, and the water from my spray bottle wasn’t saturating it. No matter what I did, I kept coming out with dry, dusty cornflakes.
So I tried to get creative, and pour the water straight into the pan…
Yeah…. See that empty left side? That’s what happens when you mess with a recipe. JUST FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, OK? Trust me.
Anyway, the flakes weren’t cooking evenly, due to the thickness of the unevenly distributed cornmeal, and by this time I was hot and annoyed and my sprayer hand was cramping up from so much spraying that I succumbed to “I Am Annoyed So I Am Going To Be Impatient And Mess Up The Recipe More” Syndrome. So my flakes were both burned and undercooked. And still dusty. *mutters*
Fluffy reject flakes:
All in all, I ended up with one bowl’s worth of acceptable cornflakes, and a deep, unending hatred for their manufacturing. Oats are healthier, and in general, less genetically modified. The end.
The conversation after I finally threw down my spatula and turned off the burner:
Me: I am NEVER doing this again. You can either eat oatmeal and granola, or buy cereal and face my wrath.
Justin: *snickers* Honey Bunches of…Wrath.