C is for Cereal

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”!

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.

Here are 10 Trippiest Cereal Ads, most of which I had not seen
Cereal commercials from the 1960s and 70s, all of which I remember

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 sales 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 kinds of cereal 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.

ABC Wednesday – Round 11

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

46 thoughts on “C is for Cereal”

  1. Looking at your top 20, I think we have only five of them in the UK – Shredded Wheat (plus spoon-sized), Corn Flakes, Cheerios and Rice Krispies – although might appear on the shelves under different names. For example, I suspect that Sugar Smacks are Sugar Puffs here (one of my childhood favourites) and Honey Nut Cheerios could be Honey Nut Loops.

  2. I think what has hurt cereal sales more than anything else is the high prices they charge for the name brands! Got to pay for those television spots!

  3. What a super post!!! My husband will still have cereal for supper too!!! I am not as big a cereal lover now, but Rice Krispies, Sugar Smacks, and Raisin Bran WERE my favorites growing up. Now I will eat Special K and the unsweetened (mini) Shredded Wheat.

  4. I’ve gone through phases where I loved and then hated having cereal. The only way I eat it now is with yogurt (I can’t stand milk)…it’s like having dessert for breakfast, especially if you add a bit of fresh fruit. When travelling in Europe, I found that the only cereal available for tourists (at the hotels where breakfast was included) was Corn Flakes – I think they think that’s all Americans eat! lol

    abcw team

  5. Roger, I just handed my husband a bowl of Kellogs Special K, Vanilla/Almond crunch to which I added a little Pumpkin seed granola, and fresh strawberries…..He’s smiling…He loves cereal too.

  6. Shredded Wheat – so named as it tastes like shredded paper!
    Great list there Rog!
    What a theme for a round eh? Lists – hmmmmmmm!

    Denise ABC Team

  7. Cheerios, Chex, and Kix are great cereals that can be eaten straight out of the box. I also have a soft spot for Count Chocula and Boo Berry.

  8. I eat Special K with those dried out strawberries almost every day. I do hate when it gets soggy though.
    Used to love Life cereal until it started to give me headaches. Some of the processed stuff just turns me inside out.
    Terrific post and very informative too.

  9. I remember Rice Krispies, and Honey something back from my childhood… Nowadays I prefer Corn Flakes and some Rye something without sugar not listed here.

  10. Every morning I take a bowl of muesli and I love it especially when there are little chocolates flakes in it. Together with a sweet strong cup of tea it’s a good begin of the day.

  11. Lots of old memories here, Roger. Sugared cereals were a big treat when we were children. Mom liked Shredded Wheat, which of course we hated. We enjoyed Rice Krispies, which wasn’t sugared, but which was seldom bought.
    There was a sort of generic cereal called puffed wheat, which we hated, and one called puffed rice, which we liked, both of which came in big bags that seemed to last forever. When she bought a big bag of puffed wheat, we considered ourselves seriously underprivileged.
    Nevertheless, eating cereal in the evening was a favorite family habit enjoyed by Dad and the kids, but not by Mom. My brothers and I can still be found snacking on cereal, usually before bedtime, but often at odd times during the day.

  12. Hello.
    I love cereal and usually start my day with a bowl and a fruit smoothie. Sometimes I work until 10:00/11:00pm at night and by the time I get home, it’s too late to eat anything heavy, but I will eat a bowl of my favorite Kashi cereal. I have found some generic brands to be ok, but you can’t beat the real Kelloggs or Kashi. Thanks for sharing.

    The Confidence Of A Man

  13. What a fun post. I love cereal and can still remember the ads from my childhood. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

  14. What no mention of my particular favourite, porridge (for preference made with sweetened soya and water). I was just reading one of our Olympic swimmers as a 12 year old mastered the technique of eating cereal in a Tupperware bowl without spilling the milk while being driven from early morning training to school.

  15. My sons used to like cereals, but I think now they prefer to eat on the go, like bread. Anyway I don’t like them as some has too much sugar.

  16. Roger, loved this one! My favorite cereal was actually graham crackers smashed up with milk on them. If you didn’t eat it fast enough, though, it turned into slop that looked like something out of Oliver Twist, except you would not ask for “more.”

    This is a total time-warping mind melter! LOVE the fun you have with the US’s sociological history. And now? I eat a combo of three high-fiber cereals (always including Uncle Sam, which gives away my age!), with fresh fruit and Dannon Natural Vanilla yogurt! But once in a while, I do indulge in my childhood fave… Thanks, hon. Amy

  17. I love cereal too 🙂 always have.
    When I was a kid I liked Sugar Smacks and Cap’n Crunch along with Grapenuts,Frosted Mini Wheats,Spoon size shredded wheat and by the 70s I also loved crunchy granola.
    Right now I have Cascade farms oat and Honey granola,Grapenuts and Puffins in the kitchen,good toppings and needed as my 9 pm snack! I only have a single spoon of real Cap’n Crunch over frozen taro yogurt at Yogurtland as a treat!
    What kind of people do not have a couple minutes to eat a bowl of cereal? Bah to that,huzzah to the cereal bowl!

  18. Hi There. I found your website the actual online. A great write-up. I am going to make sure you take a note of the idea along with return to learn more of one’s tips. Appreciate the actual submit. I willundoubtedly return.

  19. I wanted to do cereal too.

    I still have problem formatting? I go away for holiday for 5 weeks, I come back and find that my photos go to the right, and you can’t read the commentaries.

    Now two blogs are infected. Can you hear my CRIES!!!!!!!

  20. Funny how I have cereal in my breakfasts only every first week of the month. *Grinning at magiceye’s ‘cereal killer’ 😀

  21. We confine ourselves to Kellogs Special K or Kellog’s Rice Krispies, – add our own bananas or blueberries or raspberries – depends upon which one is on sale. I find Cereal prices to be outrageous – would pop my own corn, but it hardly seems like breakfast food….

  22. I almost always buy cereal when it’s on sale, and one or another usually is. Also, cereal is one thing for which I clip coupons.

  23. Well we still like cereal around here. I try to find ones lower in sugar though. Growing up it was frosted flakes for me.

  24. Loved cereal as a kid, and especially loved reading the box. Your post brought back lots of memories. The prizes, too! Remember those? My sister and i took turns collecting them 🙂 Fun post!

  25. Wow, you really do know your cereals! Your mom must have bought you the latest and greatest as you were growing up. I couldn’t tell you who made what but I liked Rice Checks and Cheerios as a kid. Now I eat Kashi Autumn Wheat. No salt and sugar-laden cereals for me these days.

  26. I never liked cereals ! When I was a child it didn’t exist and later I preferred other things for breakfast.

  27. I adore cereal! When we’re doing “leftover” night at the house, hubs actually warms something up from a previous meal, but I usually just have a bowl of something with milk. Kid cereals are still my favorite though; I’m currently working on boxes of Cap’n Crunch, Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes, and Rice Krispies. Even my “grown up” cereal is covered in sugar: Frosted Mini Wheats. 😉

  28. When we were growing up we had cornflakes and smothered it in that thick Lyle’s Golden Syrup much thicker than pancake syrup. Our breakfast was more of a treacly treat with much more treacle than cornflakes. What was my mother thinking? No wonder I have such a sweet tooth. Today I have breakfast bars like trail mix with nuts and fruit. I also always have frosted mini wheats ready for a snack before bed if I haven’t eaten much dinner. With a glass of milk they are very filling. But a bowl of good old oatmeal is the best especially with a little evaporated milk and more sugar!

  29. I am chiming in a little on the late side. I’m getting a lazy start to my day, but soon I will head out to the kitchen for a bowl of my favorite Rice Chex. (They’re gluten free you know)

    I enjoyed your cereal memories. One of my favorites was Apple Jax, before they turned half of them green, and there is something quite irresistible about Corn Pops.

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