When the Kellogg Company introduced Frosted Flakes in 1952, the breakfast cereal soon replaced the already popular corn flake as a topping for the quickly emerging Americanized version of noodle kugel. (Philadelphia cream cheese and sour cream had already been added, replacing the simple cottage cheese of Europe.) The popular synagogue cookbooks of the ’50s and ’60s are full of noodle kugel recipes topped with a crunch, including sugary Frosted Flakes.
Kugel, coming from the German word for ball, is very much part of Ashkenazi cuisine, originally used as a side dish for the Sabbath. For many years, I had a prejudice against sweet kugels in general. But during the monthly Shabbat potlucks we had with friends when our children were growing up, the version made from my friend Diane’s Aunt Lorraine’s recipe, topped with Frosted Flakes, was by far the most popular dish. And I came to love it, too. Try it for your next event with many guests and you will see what I mean. But perhaps, given its sweetness, it should be considered less of a traditional side dish and instead rightly take its place as a regal dessert.
Joan Nathan is Tablet Magazine’s food columnist and the author of 10 cookbooks including King Solomon’s Table: a Culinary Exploration of Jewish Cooking from Around the World.