The other day at the grocery store, I popped into the cereal aisle to grab some Quaker Old Fashioned Oats for MOH. We don’t buy much boxed dry cereal these days, and if we do, it’s apt to be Cheerios or spoon size Shredded Wheat. But on this particular trip, my attention was drawn to a box of Cap’n Crunch – Cotton Candy flavored. I have to admit that doesn’t sound particularly appealing to Sue the adult, but I’m pretty sure six year old Susie would have been begging to try it.
When I was a kid, my favorite part of the grocery store trip was getting to choose a box of cereal. I’m not sure if there was a certain day of the week that we shopped, but the commercials during Saturday morning cartoons revved me up for cereal as much as the sugar that was in the product. Darrin Stephens couldn’t have written any better advertising jingles and slogans. To this day when I see a box of Honeycomb, I immediately hear in my head…
Honeycombs big, yeah yeah yeah
Its not small, no no no
Honeycombs got a big big bite
Big big taste with a big big bite
Award winning stuff.
One of the major factors in choosing a box of cereal was the toy that was at the bottom of the package. I always wondered if it was intentionally put at the bottom or if it shifted during shipping. What kid is going to patiently wait for the toy until the last bowl of cereal is consumed. My mom was constantly getting after me for tearing the bag and spilling the flakes while diving in for the prize. But no matter when the toy was retrieved, you weren’t getting a new box until all the cereal was gone.
When it was my brothers turn to choose, he would pick Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, or Quake. My favorites were Quisp, Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries, and something that turned the milk leftover in my bowl pink and sugary. I’m not sure if that was Franken Berry or Pink Panther flakes. And like half the other kids in my generation, I would eat all the Cap’n Crunch pieces leaving just the crunch berries for last. Now they have Oops! All Berries. What a coup for today’s kids!
For some odd reason, we loved cereals that competed. Franken Berry vs. Count Chocula. Quisp or Quake? Fruit Pebbles vs. Cocoa Pebbles. Why was that a thing?
We also ate Super Sugar Crisp, Sugar Frosted Flakes, Sugar Corn Pops and Sugar Smacks. I think it was sometime between the late 70s or early 80s that folks started wondering if perhaps filling up children with sugar infused grain to kick start their day wasn’t the best idea. I’ve wondered if manufacturers actually changed their recipes at all when those cereals suddenly became Golden Crisp, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and Honey Smacks. As I took a closer look at the cereal aisle this week, I see the sugar sodden breakfast cereal continues to thrive.
Although there are many new and unfamiliar cereals on the shelves, I was glad to see some old standbys. Wheaties is still celebrating athletes of today, the cuckoo is still crazy for Cocoa Puffs and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes hasn’t changed that rooster mascot in over forty years. However, I counted 14 kinds of Cheerios. MOH does enjoy the occasional box of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios (isn’t that really just Apple Jacks?), but seriously, 14? Perhaps they’re trying to keep up with the Oreos. Have you seen all the flavors and varieties of America’s favorite sandwich cookie? I guess I’ll save that rant for another day. 😊