Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cereal Killer

I had a startling realization (i.e. "antiphony") at Sam's club a few weeks ago.

We were in the cereal aisle. In front of us was an array of well-known breakfast cereals packaged in truly offensive quantities. This was a serious decision. Whichever cereal we chose to buy would be with us for a while. I scanned the aisle, and saw it:

Frosted Mini-Wheats. My favorite cereal.

"Let's get the Frosted Mini-Wheats," I said to Sven.

"Frosted Mini-Wheats?" he asked, the expression on his face indicating I had actually suggested Crunchy Grit -n- Paste. "What about Froot Loops?"

You see, Sven and I have very different attitudes about cereal. As children of the '70's (and in my case, '80's), we understand that, after our choice of Saturday morning television, nothing says more about a person than the brand of breakfast cereal they endorse. You could be Wheaties (Bruce Jenner, Mary Lou Retton), or you could be Trix (Silly Rabbit). These were important decisions, in those days.

My cereal identity was determined by my mother. A child of the '50's, my mother took the 1970's and '80's health revolution very seriously. (From everything I understand, in the 1950's a fistful of Oreos crumbled into heavy cream was an acceptable "breakfast." They didn't really start to figure out that might not be good for you until my childhood. Thanks, science.)

Our pantry contained an assortment of rock-and-twig cereals such as Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts. When she was feeling "kooky" we'd get Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, or Cheerios. (Rice Krispies were our favorite because the commercials featured Snap, Crackle, and Pop, the Keebler Elf's ne'er-do-well nephews.) Our "treat" cereal was Raisin Bran. My mom wouldn't buy anything containing artificial colors or flavors, or any added sugar. She did, however, allow us to add our own sugar, so when she wasn't looking we would heap sugar on our bowl of Shredded Wheat until the cereal was no longer visible. I think she knew.

Eventually, Mom softened her stance on cereals enough to allow Honey-Nut Cheerios and Frosted Flakes. There was much rejoicing.

My point is not to point out how my mother deprived me of a childhood by refusing to buy Cookie Crisp, it is to explain why I never developed a taste for "kid" cereals. I didn't taste Froot Loops until I was married, as I'm sure the Lord inended. I have never eaten a Coco Puff. I have only ever eaten one freeze-dried marshmallow, and I only did that after I learned Sven's passionate feelings toward them.

Sven's cereal background is vastly different from mine. His father worked in the food service industry, helping to develop new recipes and foods to market. He was instrumental in the creation of "Chex Mix." He also developed the freeze-dried marshmallow, which led to Lucky Charms cereal, Sven's favorite cereal. Sven vastly prefers kid cereals to any of the grown-up varieties. Some of his favorites are Froot Loops, Count Chocula, Fruity Pebbles, and Hershey's Bowl of Miniature Candy Bars That You Just Eat.

The early days of our marriage Sven bought his and I bought mine. That meant Sven bought a box of Lucky Charms and I bought a box each of Raisin Bran, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, and Honey-Nut Cheerios. I would eat a bowl of each, then wait the required 12 months to throw the opened boxes away before I bought more.

Is it any wonder that I'm not allowed to pick the cereal anymore?

Still, I couldn't have the only cereal in our house to be Froot Loops.

"What about Rice Krispies?" I offered to Sven.

"That's not a food, it's an ingredient," he snapped. What about Cookie Crunch?"

We got Cheerios. To date, I am the only person in the house who has eaten any cereal.

Good thing we didn't get something no one else likes...


Kristina P. said...

I am like Sven. All about the yummy, sugary cereals that my mom would never let us get.

My favorite is Cinammon Toast Crunch.

Mummy McTavish said...

Hi, popping over from Boy Mom's crush post:)

I'm like you, the only "kid" cereal I ate until I was all grown up was the small box of coco-pops (cocoa rice crispies, in case they don't have the same name there) mum allowed us 3 kids to share each holidays. Now I can't even touch all the sugary, fake fruit flavoured cereals out there.

Well, I'm off to look around... I'll try not to make a mess.

Billy Bob Bambino Bombabious Baby the Third said...

I think I am the reverse of both of you. I had much "sugar" cereal when I was a kid and now I can't stomach the stuff. It's just too sweet. Candy is the same way. I have one or two pieces of candy a month. My kids don't even like candy that much - they end up tossing most of their Halloween candy the following July...

Conversely, I knew a guy that grew up on a farm in Idaho (sounds cliche, right? it's true though) and he never, ever had candy or "sugar" cereal. His family grew beef cattle and had milk cows so he ate a lot of steak and drank a lot of whole milk - all while getting up at 4 AM and everything else he experienced in his deprived childhood. *sniff* Anyway, if there was a bowl of candy at any meeting he would eat the entire bowl. By himself. Before the meeting was over. It was actually kind of disgusting to watch a grown man lose control in that way. Poor man.

Sneaky Momma said...

Give me sugary cereals any day of the week!!! Yummy, yummy goodness (?) drowning in whole milk. Bliss.
Maybe my love for these cereals is why I'm overweight??? Possibly! :)

Barbaloot said...

I could eat both sugared or healthy. I'm crazy about Cookie Crisp...but I think my all time favorite cereal is Cheerio's. If you end up not finishing that box go ahead and send it to me:)

The Domestic Flunky said...

awesome. what about little debbie snack foods? my always got the oatmeal cream pies cuz they sounded the healthiest. ugh. i was all about the star crunch! as for cereals... i'm with you! wheat chex are my personal fave.

Debbie said...

I am a mom like yours. I hate those sugar-in-a-bowl things for my kids.

CMspence said...

I was 30 before I realized they stopped coating the raisins in sugar before packaging... and raisin bran is still the only cereal I will eat....

Joanna said...

You are of course aware that Froot Loops are the 'Devil's Cheerios.' Think fondly of Ewell Gibbons.

Virginia in Seattle said...

What a fun post! My personal favorite of the 50s and 60s was Sugar Pops:

Now I snack on Honey Bunches of Oats, so there hasn't been a lot of improvement in my diet cereal-wise.

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

Came over by way of Boy Mom---love her! And, I love this post. My husband is a HUGE fan of the sugar cereal over here. This post cracked me up.

Now, I am off to snoop!

Mrs. Nurse Boy