I saw this post from SamuraiFrog about The Great American Cereal Book and immediately wrote: “OMG – this is a book for me. I LOVE cereal.” Believed I should write about it, but then thought, “Didn’t I just do that?” As it turns out, the post I was thinking about I wrote in 2006 (!) – time is so strange – when I described my peculiar and specific rules involving the mixing non-presweetened cereal. So I guess I can revisit it here.
Why I love cereal:
1. It was the first meal I could prepare myself.
2. As alluded to in the previous post, it is very educational. As an active reader of the box, it was where I learned that riboflavin and niacin were B vitamins.
3. I learned the difference between brand names and generic names. I realized that “raisin bran” was not trademarked, which allowed Kellogg’s and Post each to have an iteration. Whereas, round oat cereals not made by General Mills were called something other than Cheerios, such as Tastee-Os.
4. They would sell several brands, usually six or ten, in something called “Snack packs” or “Variety packs”, little boxes with perforations so you pour in the milk and could eat them right out of the box.
5. They were entertaining. From the coloring of my cereal milk to the “Snap, crackle, pop” of Rice Krispies.
6. The ads. Often featuring future icons such as Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes – “they’re great”) to the rodent of Trix (“silly rabbit, Trix are for kids”) to Captain Crunch, I loved these little videos designed to lure me to buy – or get my mom to buy – their products. (Now, I’m more jaded…) The ads were so engrained in the culture that the Kellogg’s rooster and theme (“the best to you each morning” for Corn Flakes were echoed in the Beatles’ song “Good Morning Good Morning.”
I was quite fond of the Post Crispy Critters ads; I can’t explain why, except I loved the King Leonardo show; the cereal itself was not all that good. But no ad did I love more than this Rice Krispies ad, which is absolutely brilliant musically, the way the verses work together in the last 15 seconds.
I’ve now discovered that some of the generic brands are just as good, but certainly not all. I have had Cheerios substitutes that tasted like cardboard.
I was rather sad to read that the sale of breakfast cereals were declining in the United States, the reason being that it “takes too much time”! This led to the development of breakfast bars; I tried 2 or 3, and hated them all. I also tend to dislike cereals with stuff in them – Cheerios with these dried out things they call strawberries, or Lucky Charms, with those so-called marshmallows. We actually have a box of Lucky Charms in the house right now; one of my wife’s students brought her a box when they discovered that the marshmallows weren’t halal.
Since SamauraiFrog listed his 20 favorite cereals of all time, I thought I would do the same. Please note that I don’t eat most of these now.
1. Sugar Smacks (Kellogg’s) – they changed the name eventually to Honey Smacks
2. Sugar Crisps (Post) – “can’t get enough of those Sugar Crisps, they keep me goin’ strong”
3. Alpha-Bits (Post) – I used to spell out words in my bowl
4. Shredded Wheat (Nabisco, now Post)- pour hot water on it and watch the biscuits sag
5. Total (General Mills) – loved the idea of a cereal that gave me ALL the vitamins
6. Froot Loops (Kellogg’s)
7. Honey Nut Cheerios (General Mills)
8. Wheaties (General Mills) – hey, it was the “breakfast of Champions”!
9. Corn Flakes (Kellogg’s)
10. Rice Chex (Purina, now General Mills)
11. Trix (General Mills)
12. Cheerios (General Mills) – still eating these
13. Raisin Bran (either brand) – but generally better than the generics
14. Rice Krispies (Kellogg’s)
15. Corn Chex (Purina, now General Mills)
16. Spoon-Sized Shredded Wheat (Nabisco, now Post) – still eating these, too
17. Corn Pops (Kellogg’s)
18. Life (Quaker Oats)
19. Quisp (Quaker Oats)
20. Kix (General Mills)
Info about cereal and nutrition.