I don’t know why it took me so long to try muesli. I like granola and oatmeal, both of which are twigs on the same branch of the breakfast family tree. Yet, every time I saw muesli on the shelf, I’d think “Looks interesting. Maybe one of these days” and then buy something else.
So I finally decided that one of these days had arrived and bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Muesli. They’re my go-to for oatmeal, so it seemed like a safe bet for the experiment.
I’ll admit to being both intrigued and bemused by the notation on the package that it can be eaten hot or cold. I don’t think there are any other breakfast foods designed for eating both ways. Granted, in my somewhat misspent youth, I’d occasionally eat English Muffins without toasting them, but that’s hardly what the makers intend. And, as Maggie pointed out, while there are people who eat Grape Nuts hot and Pop-Tarts cold, neither is standard behavior*.
* Yes, Pop-Tarts’ packaging pays lip service to eating them straight out of the box, but really, that’s not what anyone expects. Remember, the “Pop” refers to them popping up out of the toaster.
So, anyway, I expected cooking instructions for the “hot” option. And they’re there. I didn’t expect instructions for eating the cereal cold. I mean, do you really need to go beyond the standard “Pour into bowl, add milk to taste, eat”? Actually, yes. Those rolled oats need to soak up some liquid or they’re going to taste like cardboard.
I followed the instructions. I won’t make that mistake twice.
Served hot, it was an uncomfortable combination of sweet, hot sludge and weirdly warm nuts. The sunflower seeds were especially peculiar: their mouthfeel was different from anything else in the bowl–and not in a good way–and when heated, their flavor didn’t harmonize with the oats. Maybe if I’d used milk instead of water, per the alternate instructions, it would have turned out better, but I’m dubious enough that I’m not going to risk it.
The cold preparation was much better. But I found the recipe incorrect. Using the recommended quantity of milk, even after somewhat more than the recommended soaking time, I wound up with something that closely resembled soup. Maybe that’s the tradition, but when I finish the solid contents of my cereal bowl, I don’t want to have enough milk left to require a drinking glass.
Fine-tuning ensued. I find that about 2/3 the recommended quantity of milk and about 50% more soaking time results in something quite tasty.
In the final analysis, I’m not sure whether the experiment was a success.
I’ve still got about half the bag of muesli left. I plan to finish it, mostly on days when I’m not working and don’t have to balance soaking time with commuting. But will I buy it again? Not Bob’s; I’m quite sure of that. But I might try someone else’s interpretation.