Sugarcoated corn derivative
A red-eyed reminiscence
It’s 11 p.m. and way too late to eat, yet I find myself wandering through the grocery store, red-eyed and ravenous, looking for something to cure my craving. I accidentally turn down the breakfast aisle and a rainbow of brightly colored boxes hits my eyeballs and pulls at a memory. I’m suddenly 8 years old again, hanging on to the front of my mom’s grocery cart as we careen toward my mecca—the cereal section. She lets me pick out one box—I go for the Trix. Next thing I know, it’s Saturday morning, and memory me is planted in front of the television watching RECESS and slurping the sugary milk remains, euphoric and satisfied.
I return to my present self— It’s been years since I had a bowl of cereal. My eyes re-focus and I am filled with a renewed sense of purpose, and an appetite mounting like a tidal wave. I need all the cereal. Pronto.
I buy six boxes. I try not to giggle as the late-night clerk scans the loot, occasionally glancing at me with suspicious inquiry. I am not a stoney 26 year-old child, I tell her with my mind. I’m a food writer. This is research. She nods knowingly. Woah, am I telepathic?
Once home, I make good on my silent promise. I fill my bowl with a kaleidoscope of processed corn and wheat and food coloring and sugarcoated corn derivatives, queue up the Netflix, and begin my research.
Smacks are strange. They look super sturdy, but when I put ‘em in my mouth they get wet and nasty, like damp packing peanuts. Eating several bites of these makes me realize I don’t really like the taste of honey—or Styrofoam. The bites are shapeless, ridged blobs of wheat(?) with some yellow food coloring.
If there were ever a cereal to eat late at night, it’s Smacks. You can spend hours alone just staring at the big, gaping mouth of the creepy frog on the box, wondering about his life. Why is he wearing a hat? How old is this frog? He’s got to be at least 60 by now. I mean how weird is it that a frog is selling us cereal? …And where did all my cereal go?
Who thought it was a good idea to put marshmallows in a cereal? That’s a lot to choke down in the morning. What mother okayed this? Did they not focus group this shit? I’ve decided this cereal is terrible. I pick out the marshmallows, which the milk has turned into slimy gobs of sugar and air. Should I order a pizza? This experiment is not going well. That leprechaun, tho.
Berry Berry Kix
Kix is the dark horse of sugar cereals. They’re playful and unexpected, but not bathed in sugary excess. They dissolve in your mouth (a plus) and offer a relatively subtle sweetness. But the Berry edition is another animal. I stick my face in the bowl and huff that sweet berry scent ‘til my nostrils approach diabetic shock.
I have no idea why I stopped eating Frosted Flakes. Granted, they have all the nutrition and sustenance of sweetened paint chips (seriously, what terrible parents you are for feeding this to your children), but I’ve never tried putting strawberries in my Frosted Flakes and this box makes that look so grrr-eat. BRB, buying strawberries...
I put my ear close to the bowl rim and listen intently for that snap, crackle, and pop symphony, only to realize that these are Cocoa Pebbles (not Cocoa Krispies), and that such a sound does not exist. Disappointed, I soldier onward… to more disappointment. This cereal is such a letdown.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a fan-favorite. Just look at that fat little bread-baking mascot and the endless sea of cinnamon sugar swirls (on every bite!). They’re all over those squares, beaming with ripples of flavor euphoria. I save the milk and make the best White Russian ever.
For more from Megan, read her review of Tulsa's newest Japanese restaurant, The Rising Sun.