Farina is a cereal food, frequently described as mild-tasting, usually served warm, made from cereal grains. In contemporary American English use, the word usually refers to Cream of Wheat brand cereal made from soft wheat. Wheat farina is a carbohydrate-rich food, often cooked in boiling water and served warm for breakfast, or cooked with milk and made into semolina pudding. It is used as an ingredient in many dishes and in processed foods such as breakfast cereals and pasta.
The word farina comes from the Latin farina, meaning meal or flour.
Farina is made from the germ and endosperm of the grain, which is milled to a fine granular consistency and then sifted. Because the bran and most of the germ are removed, this cereal is sometimes enriched with Vitamin B and iron. Farina, by itself, is most often served as a breakfast cereal, but can also be cooked like polenta. Farina can also be used to make farofa. Cream of Wheat, Malt-O-Meal, and Farina are brand names of a type of wheat farina used for breakfast cereal. Farina brand is a trademark of the Malt-O-Meal Company.
Farina can also be found on the bottom of some English muffins as it is used to prevent them from sticking to the baking surfaces during the baking process.
When enriched, it is one of the single best sources of dietary iron available, especially for vegetarian diets, with most brands offering as much as 50% of the recommended daily value in a single 120-calorie serving.
Common additives to it for cereal are cinnamon, butter, sugar, honey, jelly/jam or salt. These can help add to an otherwise bland taste.
In popular culture
- Allen Hoskins' character in the Our Gang comedies was named "Farina" after the cereal.
- In the Futurama episode "Three Hundred Big Boys", a stem cell rejuvenated Professor Farnsworth orders a "mild farina" in a restaurant – after talking about "living life on the edge" to his date. Although he can pass for 25, he still prefers the bland food appropriate to a 160 year old.
- In Dr. Katz, Katz refers to farina as "The thinking man's oatmeal".
- The punk band Screeching Weasel mentions Farina in their song "Supermarket Fantasy".
- The punk band Ramones also mentions Farina in their song "Every time I eat Vegetables, it makes me think of you"
- In the Seinfeld episode "The Dinner Party" Jerry talks about when he found a hair in his Farina cereal when he was younger.
- In the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Mississippi governor Pappy O'Daniel's son tells Tim Blake Nelson's character Delmar O'Donnell that he hopes Delmar will eat his daddy's Farina and vote him into a second term.
- In the book "Four Blind Mice"(page 133), part of James Patterson's Alex Cross detective series, Farina is referenced as the favorite breakfast food of one of the main characters (John Sampson) .
- In the movie Farinelli, the title character receives his nickname after challenging a trumpet player with his singing voice, and a member of the crowd shouts,"He mashed your famous trumpet player into Farina!"
- In the October 29, 2007, episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart alluded to Hurricane Katrina with the line "It's wet and rhymes with Farina"
- In the movie Sweet Wheat Gold Coast's own David Whitlock plays the character "Cream of Wheat" due to his striking resemblance to the young boy portrayed on the Farina box.
- Comedian Eddie Murphy performed comedy routines in the 70's and 80's about his character 'Buckwheat', and referred to his sister 'Farina', along with other family members named after breakfast foods.
- In John Man's The Survival of Jan Little, at times the family lives almost exclusively on Farina when their supplies run out.
- In the musical "BARNUM!", during the song "There Is A Sucker Born Ev'ry Minute" Barnum suggests as an attraction a "lady fair whose head was lost" and now "eats farina through a hose, and wears pink tights instead of clothes".
- In the Three's Company episode "The Root of All Evil" Jack is criticized for making railroad tracks in his Farina cereal and eating it with a fork.