Cornflakes, if you would believe it, were created by physician John Harvey Kellogg as part of an anti-masturbation campaign he strongly touted, claiming that a healthy diet with plainer, blander food would help alleviate supposedly unwanted desires.
Claiming a healthy diet with plainer, blander food would help alleviate supposedly unwanted desires, the original version steered clear of sugar for the longest time, translating to low sales; but it was John’s brother WK who decided to sweeten the flakes (in spite of his brother’s protests, and the legal battle that soon followed) to make it more appealing.It was the disdain for sex and masturbation, if you would believe it, that originally led physician John Harvey Kellogg to conceive of corn flakes, or “flakes” of milled corn rolled flat and toasted for a crunch.
On Kellogg’s you get irregular-shaped flakes of varying sizes. Practically whispy at the edges, these flakes are the thinnest of the lot and might feel too delicate at first. But as you crunch through, you’ll find that they’re addictively crackly (and retain most of that crackliness in milk) with a good cornmeal-y grit. Just a tad sweet, slightly malty, and a touch salty with discernible corn flavor, it works great both as a standalone cereal or as an ingredient for other recipes (e.g., mais con hielo).
Nestlé’s version comes thicker than Kellogg’s, giving you get a crisper bite, but it feels lighter overall as it ends with less of Kelloggs’ corn-y grit. It swells up slightly as you pour the milk on—but it’s the quickest to soften of the three brands, easily yielding into a pile of mush. Flavor-wise it’s on the more neutral, mellow side with relatively more sweetness and a slight toastiness. It’s much less salty than the other brands however, such that it tends to just blend in once milk enters the picture and the corn flavor doesn’t come out as prominently.
The snack brand’s version is the thickest of the bunch. While it lacks the corn-y gritty feel we loved from Kellogg’s, it offers a more solid, crisp crunch that stays firm relatively long in milk. Notably, it’s the saltiest (not so much that it crosses junk dallas filipino restaurant territory, though a member of the team does liken it to unseasoned tortilla chips), with barely any sweetness. This gives it a slightly more savory quality that makes it great to snack on its own, and helps accentuate the corn flavor that it stands out well in milk. (It also makes for a potent cereal milk at the bottom of the bowl).
The Verdict: Kellogg’s
More than being the OG, Kellogg’s gives an unmatched crackliness and gritty feel we’ve come to love, plus the best balance of saltiness, sweetness, and malty corn flavor, that makes it our top pick as a general reliable cornflake brand. Still, Oishi’s version—with its savory-leaning, crunchy take (despite lacking grit) that holds most of its integrity in milk—comes very close, and is great for straight-up snacking or making cereal milk with. We can’t comment on their effect (or lack thereof) with regard to John Kellogg’s original intent, but we will say you can rely on their deliciousness to stimulate your (gustatory) appetite time and time again.