It was the summer of 1986; my brother and I were spending the entire summer in the Dominican Republic between relatives, in particular with great-grandma. Our first morning was the start of our humbleness. We had asked great-grandma to give us cereal for breakfast. Of course all Spanish people call every brand, and make of cereal, cereal.
Our uncle had not returned from milking the cows, because of this great-grandma decided to let us feed the hens and roosters. A while later from a far distance we see our uncle coming with the milk pales. We could hardly contain ourselves, and after feeding the hens and roosters, she called us into the dining area. It was the biggest bowl of cereal I had ever seen in my life. I thought I was going to be eating the whole dinner salad by myself, but wait! The bowl had smoke coming out of it.
Once she placed the bowl down my brother and I looked at each other with the biggest blank look known to man kind. We had just seen the breakfast ghost. What happened to our honey combs? We felt so betrayed, especially by the cereal company. How could they let this happen?
The bowl consisted of hot smoking white milk and wheels of yellow plantains. As much as we wanted to leave this nightmare of a breakfast behind us, we did not dare get up or question the idea. Instead we prepared our selves and eat every single bite. First by blowing the white hot milk and then scoping up a spice of steroid induced, wannabe honey combs, guiding the spoon to mymouth as I held my breath and every time there after.
The next morning we planned to awaken earlier, but to no avail she beat us to the kitchen and had already prepared breakfast for us. With her smile from ear to ear she tells us that my mother had informed her that we loved cereal for breakfast, and being we eat all of her special cereal she would now be preparing it for us for breakfast. Great, now we are taking place in an episode of the Twilight Zone, but who’s going to rewrite the script to this horrible cereal ordeal.
Two weeks later and probably 10lbs heavier from all that protein and fiber, we finally left great-grandma’s house. We felt such a relief; there was no way we could continue to have Dominican cereal as she called it. We could not wait to have something different at our aunt’s home in the City. The next morning we decided to sleep in later, now that we did not have feed any animals or wait for the milk to be fetched and boiled. Finally our aunt calls us for breakfast. As we sat in our respectable chairs, we could not believe our eyes.
The Dominican cereal made its way from the country side to the city in the matter of a sun rise. My brother’s eyes looked as if they belonged to an owl, while my expressions were not hard to miss. We were in so much disbelief that, I decided to ask my aunt what was this? Her reply was so simple, as if she had rehearsed it, replying great- grandma told her and the rest of our relatives that this happens to be our favorite cereal.
Breakfast after breakfasts we started to believe that there must have been a conspiracy against us, or we were just crazy. The only consolation prize was the fact it did not taste horrible it actually tasted great. Though it was just wrong; cereal should be enjoyed with cold milk and has that crunchy noise indicating the authenticity of this American cereal.
After a summer vacation that turned into a three year hiatus, we could no longer remember what American cereal was like. We were so hooked or brain washed that we only wanted Dominican cereal. For the first week after we arrived back to the US, we continued our great- grandma’s breakfast trend setting, until the second week. We accidentally rediscovered peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; needless to say it was all over.
Today as adults we love reminiscing about that 1986 summer that turned into a hiatus. Our first thought has always been the Dominican cereal that followed us from the country side to the city and the rest of our time spent in the Dominican Republic.