ARTICLE

Confessions of a Rice Bubbles (Rice Krispies) addict

Hello everybody. My name's Duncan, and I'd like to share something with you. I eat bubbles of puffed rice every day. Every day.

Everyone who knows me well enough to welcome me into their home on my travels knows that I eat one thing for breakfast. It verges on religion. If I stray from the one true breakfast, I am punished with bad moods and heavy stomach (or growling hunger). What's more, perhaps unusually for something so mundane, I'm quite faithful to one brand — they're known in Australia as Kellogg's Rice Bubbles and in most other markets as Kellogg's Rice Krispies (which is their original name).

I like my Rice Bubbles with cold milk. And it mustn't be UHT/long-life liquid. Ick. Cold, pasteurised milk (for want of access to unpasteurised). No sugar (though I used to have half a teaspoon in my youth).

I've been eating Rice Bubbles for, oh, about 85% of my life. My earliest memories are accompanied by snap! crackle! pop!, though I have strayed on occasion: I'll blame my parents for forays into puffed wheat and shredded wheats and such things (though they might object). And travelling makes life very difficult. You see, Rice Krispies overseas are quite hard to find. In France you have to go to a hypermarket and pray a little. In Germany I knew who had the goods and had to make long distance trips with a car boot or many cloth bags. In Sweden, Rice Krispies were widely available but priced like gold-dust, meaning that the appearance of discount coupons led to frenzied shopping and filling of cupboards (I wonder if I can find the photographic proof! I'll post it here later if I find it).

Worst of all, many people just don't get my favourite cereal. The apartment owner in Paris who had rented out his place to me for two weeks looked aghast when I, as a friendly gesture, told him there was half a packet of Krispies left in the kitchen. "Why would I eat kid's food?" he snorted. Hmph. German fellow students in college used to listen to my breakfast as if it were a new-fangled wireless, incredulous at the orchestra of white noise emanating from my breakfast bowl. This is not to say that my international friends are unsympathetic to my addiction. Indeed, some have gone to admirable (and much appreciated) lengths to obtain my bubble-dope, even when I've protested that there are tolerable alternatives when on the road.

For instance, freshly baked croissants (or even oven-heated frozen ones!) can hit the spot. I hate müsli, but at a pinch I can stomach some without much fruit. And I can eat buttery thick pancakes and pikelets if I think of them more as a treat than breakfast.

The worst surrogate, however, can be fake bubbles. For a while in Germany there was a non-Rice Krispies brand of puffed rice. It was made of some sort of sprayed aerated ickiness which tasted thoroughly foul. For years, that trauma kept me away from other clones, but straitened times pushed me to explore other surrogates in recent years and, luckily, I chose well at the first attempt. The Australian supermarket chain Coles had a house-brand version, Rice Puffs, that actually tasted almost the same as my one-true-cereal.

Alas, Coles has betrayed my trust — a recent repackaging of the Rice Puffs product didn't just mean a prettier box. Behind the scenes (and undeclared) they had changed their supplier. The result was very disappointing. And so I have returned to the original again.

bubbles

Exhibit A is the one-true-cereal. Exhibit B is the now-missing Coles version. Exhibit C is the small, unfluffy, yucky Coles stealth-replacement product.

I wonder if I'm the only single-cereal-addict out there… ?

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COMMENTS

14 responses to “Confessions of a Rice Bubbles (Rice Krispies) addict”

  1. Manggy

    Riz soufflé? (huh, in the interest of full disclosure, the only reason I know that off the top of my head is because imported chocolate bars have that label.) I don't quite remember if it's unsweetened, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy it if it were. Perhaps with the sugar if that were the case. You're in luck in the Philippines at least; based on my travels and your stories I'd say this is probably the most widely stocked (for better or for worse) places in the world. It helps to be a dumping ground for all first-world countries (and you know this is true for cookbooks and magazines…).
    I'm an equal-opportunity cerealer, but you probably would have guessed so. It just comes down to whether I eat breakfast at all.

  2. Coby

    Rice Bubbles only appeared on the school holidays in my house – as part of the mixed selection of miniature boxes of breakfast cereals that I loved so much. Broken hearted was I, when Frosties were removed from the pack! I always added too much sugar to my Rice Bubbles (the sugar sinks to the bottom you see). Sadly, I find them rather bland these days, but perhaps that is what you need to start your day:) My children love them (sans sugar except on special occasions), but the bubbles of air don't fill them up so not for school mornings.

    I DO like to cook with Rice Bubbles when making food for children, and I would never EVER stray from the real deal. Just like (for me at least) the only Corn Flakes, if I am buying them, has to be Skippy Cornflakes.

  3. Coby

    We're complete opposites there Duncan. I'll eat anything for breakfast that I would enjoy after 8.00pm, nothing's off limits, but I am especially fond of savoury breakfasts.

    Frosties aren't the same anymore either. They used to be WAY more frosted and unhealthy than they are now! Well, it could be the rose-coloured glasses looking back, but I am sure they were genuinely *Frosted* with sugar back in the day – the reason I was only allowed that one solitary little box once or twice a year!

  4. Ed

    Quite Frankly Duncan, I'm shocked. A secret confession: I love those tiny variety packs of rice bubbles.

  5. Y

    I can't imagine anyone would be too grown-up to NOT like the joyful snap, crackle and pop of rice bubbles. I am picky about breakfast too (it does set the tone for the rest of the day afterall) but concede that it's difficult to maintain certain habits when travelling overseas.

  6. Julia @ Mélanger

    I love cereal, but I'm pretty happy eating anything. I grew up with not much choice and not a lot of money so basically ate what I was given. Though in saying that, I love some of the European style breakfasts that serve meats and cheeses for breakfast. It's great to have options!

  7. J-man

    Long time reader, part-time poster. I have just read your article on the virtues of bubbled rice. I find that you appear to have a bias towards the albino variety of day starter. I could not locate any exploration of the cocoa variety in your article. I reach two possible conclusions from this;

    1) your palate is inferior to the rest of ours. You note that you have identified flavours such as hay, straw and malt in the white variety but what about the intense spice of the cocoa variety; hints of cinnammon, nutmeg, clove, anis and sometimes a slight whiff of leather (though I have been told this can be cause by 'box-taint').

    2) My other possible conclusion is that your currently planting rice paddies in attempt to 'break-it-big' selling rice bubbles.

    Personally I am offended by this outrageous article and would appreciate if you restricted your digest to more commercially inert issues, such as, the rise of costco.

  8. baker

    I have a secret love of Rice Bubbles too- NEVER Coco Pops. I use them to make chocolate crackles too but not those awful Copha-tainted things.
    I have just spent far too long reading older posts and I love those pertaining to macarons. I used to work at baker.d.chirico and would be interested in your opinion of theirs. I also wonder if you have made Nigella Lawson's pistachio macarons- they are surprisingly easy and good although not a traditional macaron because they use pistachios instead of almonds. Stephanie Alexander's recipe directs you to cook straight away with no resting time, as does Gerard Mulot's recipe published in an American cookbook but my personal preference (after years of baking) is to rest them for around half an hour to an hour. I make eclairs too- I wish there were cookBook clubs in Melbourne where people could get together and talk recipes instead of plots! Maybe I'll start one…

  9. JO

    Hi there,
    I too used to interchangably use the rice bubbles and coles version. But I'm finding that I can't even finish the packet now! I only bought them a week or so ago… They will be on the lawn for the birds now, I don't even think I could use them for cooking, I've tasted cardboard that was better. Coles new rice puffs are crap!

  10. Kinethra

    I'm addicted to Rice Krispies too.

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  12. Wheat Puff

    Oh Duncan my rice bubble loving comrade,Im in the same boat as you. People think im crazy because I not only eat it for breakfast but if the cravings are there – ill hit a bowl for lunch and dinner too! I think theres something addictive added into these cute lil rice puffs that we obviously dont know about! Friends and family always ask me if "money's tight" and offer to pay for a coffee or lunch out when I quickly have a bowl before going out anywhere because i know it'll stop me from eating something i didnt want to in the very first place. So all in all, If there is a Rice Bubbles Addict hotline ready or a RBA Anonymous group starting up somewhere in New Zealand i'd be interested to see what they have to say about this harmless addiction and maybe…just maybe one day i'll ween myself off and kick the habit.

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