Welcome, dear readers, to The Takeout Draft, our recurring feature that combines our love of food, fantasy sports, and arguing on Slack.
Every week, we will select a topic of conversation from the food and drink world. Takeout staffers will then field a team via the snake draft format. After five rounds, The Takeout commenteriat will vote on who they believe was victorious in that week’s draft. At the end of the year, the staffer with the most weekly victories will select a charity of his/her choice that The Takeout will make a donation towards.
Before we get into this week’s breakfast cereal draft, let’s announce the winner of last week’s Takeout Draft: Best Ice Cream Topping, as voted by readers... oh my god, in a blowout, it’s Kate Bernot!
Kate Bernot: Thank you for the rounds of applause. But this week is going to be tough. Are we talking cereal with milk? Without milk? Both?
Kevin Pang: Let’s go cereals served in milk.
Allison Shoemaker: Cereal with... broth?
KP: Here’s the draft order as selected by the randomizer:
1. Kate Bernot
2. Allison Shoemaker
3. Kevin Pang
KB: Alright, let’s kick this off with a beloved, all-time favorite: Honey Nut Cheerios
AS: goddammit bernot
the hot fudge of cereals
KB: A little sweet, but not too sweet. Amazing with milk, pretty darn good dry, too.
AS: Is it too early to wave the flag of surrender?
KB: We buy boxes of them at Costco.
AS: HNC = the perfect breakfast cereal
KP: Allison, let’s not allow Kate to bowl us over like last week. What’s your #2 overall selection?
AS: I’m feeling generous, so I’m going to bypass the cereal I assume will be your #1 pick in favor of something else sweet: Lucky Charms
I’m a sucker for those little marshmallow-adjacent entities
KB: Wow, bold choice. You’ll have a lot of supporters and critics.
AS: I can only live in my truth
TBH, I don’t eat many sweet cereals, but I have a soft spot for that one
KP: Please settle this: Do all the marshmallow shapes taste the same?
AS: I think they do, but my memories are foggy.
KB: Yeah I don’t think I could blind taste test them and determine stars from horseshoes.
KP: For my pick, I’m really glad it fell to my #3 position: Frosted Flakes. To me, the idea of a fruit flavor-augmented cereal is unappealing—there’s something artificial I can’t get over. The pleasures of Frosted Flake is that the cereal colors the milk to an even milkier flavor.
KB: Eh, Frosted Flakes I could take or leave.
KP: Whatevs man
KP: For my next pick, I choose a cereal that sacrifices flavor for texture: Rice Krispies.
KB: Rice Krispies are pretty good in the same way that McDonald’s fries are good: There is a deliciousness window.
Also, we really can’t discount their contributions to marshmallow baked desserts.
AS: We really can’t.
Also, gotta love that snap crackle pop
KP: Aside from the auditory delights and the crispiness (you’re right about the deliciousness window, Kate), it’s an incredibly versatile ingredient for other food—RK squares, even fried chicken crispy-crunchies (I know we’re judging this only by its cereal + milk criteria, but whatever)
AS: Okay, I’m going with another classic here: Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
KP: There it is
AS: A standard. More hardy than RKs, so good when crisp, also versatile, and only slightly sweet
And again, weirdly good with broth
KB: Kinda scrapey, though? On the inside of your mouth?
KP: Do we need to soften up the cereal for you, Kate?
KB: It hurts my delicate dentures.
OK, for my next pick, taking a detour to Sweetsville: Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
I love that cinnamon-sugar dust layer.
AS: Too cinnamon-y for me
KB: I will eat your cinnamony toast crunches.
AS: I will steal all your Honey Nut Cheerios
KB: And then for my next choice, please don’t knock the honey repeat but: Honey Bunches Of Oats
They’re like candy but somehow “healthy”? (Probably not)
AS: I like the weird spoken theme song
KB: Yeah, the people who work at the Honey Bunches factory are all really friendly, too.
KP: I’d rather eat a bowl of Honey Roasted Peanuts
which sounds delicious with milk
AS: All right, going with a childhood favorite here, popularity be damned: Kix
KB: It has been so long since I’ve had Kix.
AS: That cereal goes the distance
KB: Kid tested, Allison approved?
KP: I’ve never in my life had Kix
AS: Takes a lot to get a soggy Kix (Kick? Is Kick the singular of Kix?)
That can’t be right.
AS: Whatever a single Kix is, it’s delicious, and holds up. Which is super important for me, a frustratingly slow eater
KP: So far we’ve waded in the “kids cereal” realm but allow me to be the grown-up and choose: Raisin Bran
Vaguely healthy, made palatable to kids with the addition of raisins
Also I’m a fan of that crunch-squishy dynamic
KB: The raisins are so dense!
AS: I mean, I took Corn Flakes. Not super kiddish.
KP: Bran, Allison, bran.
What dumb child demands bran?
KB: Why not just pick Metamucil, Kevin.
KP: Having chosen the very “adult” Raisin Bran, I will, for my next selection, go with the best chocolate cereal extant: Cocoa Puffs
The idea that a cereal can turn a bowl of milk into chocolate milk is alchemy, like something from a Middle English book about witches
And also, the puffs float! So it sogs less easily
KB: Cocoa Puffs milk is incredible.
Also, I remember getting this box and being amazed:
AS: Okay, so is granola a cereal?
I eat it the way I eat cereal. With milk.
KB: I think so! Maybe describe what’s in your granola?
AS: Well, I just went to look, and the two kinds we’ve got in the house at the moment are vanilla almond agave, and banana walnut
But when you think about granola, it’s just sort of granola, you know? clusters with stuff in.
Oats, nuts, sometimes fruit, some kind of coconut oil or something to hold the clusters together.
KB: Pretty good, pretty good.
Some people try to put those M&Ms in and things.
AS: Nah, no way man
What’s the point of granola if you can’t even pretend it’s healthy?
KB: True that
OK, next up, I’m going with a wild card that I deeply love: Reese’s Puffs
I can’t properly explain the texture of these. They’re coated in a sort of... melty (?) peanut butter.
Very sweet, but the cereal milk is unparalleled.
AS: Too much for me. Not woman enough I suppose.
KB: I can’t even have them in the house because I’ll eat the whole box at once and be very, very ill.
AS: Maybe I haven’t had these? I have some kind of Reese’s cereal on my shelf right now, from the weird cereal experiment, but it’s definitely not melty.
KB: Not melty but... creamy? Maybe?
KB: All right, for my final pick: Cocoa Pebbles.
Chocolately but not too much, that kinda crisp-soft texture.
A perfectly good chocolate cereal.
AS: Man, two different cocoa cereals. Also not my bag.
But I respect it.
AS: I’m also going with a strongly flavored sweet cereal that produces excellent cereal milk with my last pick: Froot Loops.
First and foremost, because any breakfast can be improved by singing “EVERYBODY CUT FROOT LOOPS” to the tune of “Footlose” by Kenny Loggins.
Try it and tell me you’re not instantly in a better mood.
KB: I just did it. Out loud.
Kick off your Sunday Shoops
KP: Froot—Because you legally can’t call something fruit if it contains none
AS: Anyway, love a colorful bowl of cereal, love a loop, love an ’80s classic
KP: OK for my last pick...
Again, it’s like Raisin Bran in that it straddles both childhood and adulthood
It’s the cereal that allows you to find yourself
It’s the gap year of cereal
Frosted Mini-Wheats: Backpacking-across-Europe of cereals
KB: Find yourself... eating a pillow of fiberglass insulation.
Another too-scrapey cereal
AS: Don’t mind me, I just have “Footloose” forever stuck in my head. But in the corner of my brain not currently reserved for Kevin Bacon, I agree.
Who won this week’s draft? Vote now!