Thursday, May 19, 2011

Whatever Happened to Puffed Wheat?

That’s right it’s one of those obscure blog posts that starts out with a random thought and just deteriorates from there. I promise you though if you bear with me there will be a recipe at the end of the post! Last night I lay in bed at midnight, not sleeping, but thinking about what to write for a blog post this week. My mind began to scroll through various recipe ideas and what sprang up from deep within the dusty depths? Puffed Wheat Cake, that’s right, Puffed Wheat Cake! Why doesn’t anyone make Puffed Wheat cake anymore? Why don’t you see it at church events, bake sales or pot luck dinners? Was there an official ban on Puffed Wheat cake that no one told me about? For that matter can you even still buy Puffed Wheat cereal? And is it an official brand name and do I need to continue to capitalize Puffed Wheat?

So many questions and so few answers at 12:30 a.m. I remember puffed wheat cereal from my childhood. I think it was sold under Prairie Maid brand and it came in a plastic bag that was as tall I was at six years old. (OK maybe I exaggerate a bit but it was still a honking big bag of cereal!) Puffed wheat seemed to be a staple in everyone’s house back then. My father ate it as the start of his breakfast every morning. He had a special cereal bowl – nice and wide and deep. He’d fill it with puffed wheat cereal, add Corn Flakes, milk and brown sugar. I remember that combination made quite a tasty bedtime snack, too!

Puffed wheat cake was the first thing my mother taught me to make when I started to show an interest in baking early in my childhood years. As a team we'd boil the syrup and then my job would be to stir the puffed wheat in the bowl while she poured the caramel syrup over top of it. We’d quickly pack it into the cake pan before it had a chance to cool. Puffed wheat cake was something that you could just keep eating and never get full. It was easy to eat half the pan before you realized what you’d done. Of course as a kid you knew you’d get in big trouble if you did, but it was just so darn hard to stop!

I haven’t thought of puffed wheat cake in years. I haven’t made puffed wheat cake in many, many years! So what did happen to puffed wheat? Well I had to satisfy my avid curiosity. (Yes I know curiosity killed the cat, but so far I’ve survived 43 years without it being fatal. I like to think of my healthy sense of curiosity as an ongoing learning tool.) I digress...anyway I dragged my husband into Safeway while we were out for a walk the next day to peruse the cereal aisle. The brand Prairie Maid wasn’t to be found, but there was a down-sized version of puffed wheat under the Safeway brand. Funny how in this day and age of “super-sized” everything the healthy wheat cereal bags get smaller! So good news for all those inquiring minds who ever wanted to know...puffed wheat cereal is still available and if you need an excuse to go out and buy a bag here’s the recipe for Puffed Wheat cake.

Puffed Wheat Cake
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
½ cup corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla

Boil the sugar, butter and syrup together for five minutes. Add vanilla and pour over seven or eight cups of Puffed Wheat cereal. Mix well and spread into buttered 9” x 13” cake pan.

Enjoy! If you’d like to share any experiences of your own about puffed wheat, puffed wheat cake or a favourite recipe you haven’t used in years please click “comments” below.

11 comments:

Heather said...

Bah ha, I remember that giant bag of cereal! I never really liked it as cereal, but puffed wheat squares, I'm there. Actually, you can get chocolate puffed wheat squares at the hospital cafeteria, so I regularly get my fix.

Carol Henders said...

It's weird, we never got chocolate puffed wheat cake, but everybody else seemed to make it

Jessie Peters said...

My Grandma used to put it in a big pan , then into the oven of her wood-burning stove and warm it up and toast it a bit for us for breakfast.
I wonder if Puffed Wheat Cake is a western Canada thing?

Carol Henders said...

That sounds good, I'm surprised it didn't fall apart when it got warm. Perhaps it is a Western Canada thing, or maybe rural, I grew up in rural Manitoba so that fits.

Jessie Peters said...

No, she was toasting the actual cereal! I don't recall her making the Puffed Wheat cake, though my Mom did--the chocolate kind!

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if somebody remembers the green figurines that we got out of the puffed wheat bags. I have quite a collection of them.

Carol Henders said...

I didn't know puffed wheat did figurines. I do remember the ones from Red Rose tea and still have some of those.

murray van bc said...

I got out of the habit of eating sugar hearing about it hurting your arteries. Now and then though I would put some brown sugar on puffed wheat. Today I was shopping in safeway and the big bag was not in the cereal aisle. I asked and was shown a smaller bag of "safeway brand " puffed wheat. I went on the net to see if I could source out the brand I am used to. I saw your article and it seemed to represent a lot of changes in life. While I see many positive intelligent improvements I sometimes yearn for things from my youth. I think I will make a batch of rice krispy squares with butter ( organic ) and marshmallos next time my daughter is visiting. It may not be healthy but once a year it may not be all that bad. Thanks for the article it cheered me up a bit. murray

MacGregrrrr said...

I know! When I went to buy some puffed wheat (generic, as opposed to the brand name ...) I couldn't find it anywhere - not even the bulk food stores carry it. I'm guessing the increase in the cost of wheat might be a factor, plus puffed wheat is "bulky" compared to other cerals. However ... I miss my puffed wheat! If anybody knows where to find it, please let me know. Thanks.

KathieMT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KathieMT said...

http://www.manitobacooperator.ca/2013/08/14/puffed-wheat-plants-proprietor-to-be-sold/

Walmart has a brand pf puffed wheat in little bags but it isn't as good - has a crunchy center, like it didn't pop all the way, but . . .