April 4, 2012

Cereal Killer

In the '70s (yes, I'm dating myself), I remember watching Zoom on TV while eating my Zoom hot cereal. That was the one cereal my mom didn't mind giving us because it was nutritional, without all that added sugar.
But what I really wanted was Cap'n Crunch. I used to dream about that super-sweet crunchy stuff, hoping my mom would bring home a box. I'd even have settled for Sugar Pops, Trix, or Cocoa Puffs. Rice Krispies and Cheerios were about as "crazy" as my mom would go, though. And we ate a lot of Grape Nuts.
Little did I know that Grape Nuts have been around for 130+ years (although when I was a kid, I would have said they tasted like they've been around that long).
The Great American Cereal Book gives us the history of the oh-so-American breakfast food. This fabulous (and hilarious) book covers the gamut, from the heyday of Kellogg's flakes that were supposed to cure any ill, all the way up to the days when cereal boxes were full of prizes and manufacturers proudly boasted about the sugar content right on the front. Example? Honey Smacks used to be called Sugar Smacks, as in "wait one hour and the sugar rush will smack you in the head."
Each cereal is listed in order of when it was "First Poured," and there are fun headings for each one, like "What's In It For You," "Notable Spokescharacters," "Slogans," and "All in the Family," which lists spin-off brands.
There are some interesting nuggets of info here, too, including the surprising fact that cereal is the number-two seller in grocery stores.
So if you think cereal is "GRRRRRR-EAT!" pick up The Great American Cereal Book. And now I am off to get some Cap'n Crunch. For dinner. Don't judge me.

2 comments:

  1. I must read that book. I consider myself a bit of a cereal connoisseur.

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  2. At least back then the added sugar was sucrose. Now it's all high fructose corn syrup. That is way worse.

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