Tag: cereal

Thank You General Mills

Christmas came early this year. Or is it Halloween? Well, in either case, my inner child is doing one heck of a happy dance this morning. As most of you fellow cereal connoisseurs already know, The Monster Cereals have been my absolute favorite ever since I was but a wee lad. I still remember how cool it was to go with my mother to the local Food Lane and see my homies sitting there on the shelf just waiting for me.

Not only did the boys get me through some rough hunger spells growing up, but I also attribute the psychological benefits of having breakfast with a monster with helping me to overcome my introvertism. (Ok, I made up that last part).

Monster-Cereals-2013

Sadly, my beloved Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry buddies were exiled to the latter part of the calendar year; only making their appearances on store shelves now when the weather gets cooler and monsters and trick or treating become all the rage.

Don’t get me wrong, I still do ravage local supermarkets and Target stores every September to stock up on as many as I can for the winter, and always lament the boys taking an extended vacation starting November 1st. But much like seeing the first robin in spring, I always look forward to that first box of Boo on store shelves every Autumn.

But this year will be extra special.

A few days ago General Mills (the ones who magically brought my cereal hombres to life) decided to do something special for the fans and this year are bringing back two more monsters; one of which has been MIA for more than thirty years. Just when you thought breakfast in the fall couldn’t get any better, Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy will be joining the Holy Trinity of Cereal this year!

Fruit Brute (or now, FRUTE Brute for you politically correct people) was discontinued in 1982 and is considered by many collectors to be the most sought-after vintage cereal box. Not only because Brute’s a cool wolf who wears colorful suspenders, but also because the box was used by director Quentin Tarantino in his films “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction.”

Yummy Mummy, no stranger to succumbing to the endangered sugar list, has been gone for more than two decades himself. His triumphant return will mark the first time in history that all five boxes of Monster Cereal will be available at the same time.

When asked to comment on the return of the childhood favorites, Julie Anderla, integrated communications senior manager at General Mills had this to say: “The love for the Monsters that we make available each Halloween continues to be huge and the passion for all of them across social media is incredible. We’re bringing back Frute Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy in an effort to give our fans what they asked for.” Can’t argue with that.

But WAIT!! – It gets even better!!

RetroMonsters

As part of a special promotion with Target, all five monster cereals will be housed in their original retro art packaging!!! So it will indeed be like those days of yore when a young 44 year-old boy sees his childhood friends on the shelves, looking exactly as they did way back when.

I tried to find a way to properly express my emotion for the return of this quintet, but I decided to let Dinosaur Dracula explain how big this news really is in his review of the “new” cereal. Thanks dude!

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Copy Cats

The original - and still the best!
The original – and still the best!

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I beg to differ. Quite often (and more often than not), it’s annoying. When I was growing up, it wasn’t good enough to just go to school wearing Members Only jackets and Jordache jeans. In the 80’s, a lot of the kids at my school routinely liked to show up at our educational establishment mimicking their favorite entertainers.

I kid you not, some girls would actually come to school with the exact same haircut and wardrobe ensemble as Pat Benatar or Madonna. Then there was a section of the student body who felt obliged to pay homage to Boy George from Culture Club on a daily basis. And don’t get me started on the dudes who came to school wearing a replica of the jacket Michael Jackson made famous in the “Beat It” video.

Which leads me to yet another atrocity of copy cats I’d like to discuss –  the doppelganger world I see whenever I stroll down the cereal aisle at my local grocery store.

As if it weren’t already bad enough that I can only get Count Chocula at Halloween time, half of the shelves that once housed such morning goodness as Quisp, Frute Brute and Waffle O’s are now home to the wannabes; generic cereal that’s been cleverly disguised as some of my all time favorites.

Fruit Swirls?.. Really??
Fruit Swirls?.. Really??

You don’t fool me.

Sure, grocery chains tout that by purchasing generic brands, consumers can still enjoy their favorite breakfast cereal and also save money at the same time. Although there is some truth to that statement, these same people who claim to know what’s best for Americans seem to have forgotten about one very important thing – the fun factor.

Time is a precious commodity in this day and age, and there’s only a certain amount of it we get to spend using it on breakfast. Personally, I’d much rather spend mine with Lucky the Leprechaun, Toucan Sam or Fred Flintstone than with some stranger trying to imitate my homies.

I've known Dino.. and you sir, are no Dino!
I know Dino. Dino is a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Dino!

I find it funny how these generic brands of cereal attempt to make themselves out to be alternatives to the name brand by using slightly different names (and characters) in their promotion. For instance, compare the use of the word “swirl” in Fruit Swirls with the “loop” in Froot Loops; an obvious Jedi mind trick. Oh, and look! How convenient…a monkey pitching the product. Could it be that both a monkey AND a toucan might be found in the same deep jungle? I’m sure it was just a coincidence. NOT!

Sometimes, the characters used to pitch generic versions are more blatant than others. As is the case with “Fruity Bits”; a knock off of my beloved Fruity Pebbles. You’ve got to give them credit for using a dinosaur to appeal to the Jurassic customers who’ve regularly indulged in the name brand for years. Sorry, but eating a bowl or these bits doesn’t even come close to the euphoria I’ve experienced by having breakfast with Fred and Barney over the years.

And what’s with the word “bits” anyway? Bits sounds like something you’d give to your dog. It’s not as manly as “pebbles”. Sure, it might sound like you’re eating rocks (and who knows, maybe you are), but this is the stone age we’re talking about, right?

Rainbow Treasures....Nice Try!
Rainbow Treasures? You’re not magically delicious!

If it were me and the decision had to be made, I’d go with the name brand cereal every time. If for no other reason than I would much rather be sitting at the table in the wee hours of the morning reading about the games Fred and Barney have in store for me than contemplating if it was really worth it to save thirty cents just to buy some knock off. You can’t put a price on happiness.

And as for the grocers who think it’s cool to not stock Count Chocula and some of my other favorites in order to make room for products like these, there’s a special place in Guantanamo for you.

Ten Things I Think – Best Cereals Ever Edition

Since my reunion with my home boys Frank, Count and Boo last Monday I’ve been doing some heavy thinking on what my next blog entry should be (in between enjoying hearty bowls of monster goodness of course). I didn’t have to think too long though. It was quite obvious that this blog post needed to be about the absolute BEST cereals ever-growing up.

You know, I feel bad for those people who never had the opportunity to indulge in sugar-coated mornings. The ones whose Moms brought home nothing but bland Cheerios, Cracklin Oat Bran and Puffed Rice. Puffed Rice?? For a kid?? Only people over the age of 70 eat Puffed Rice.

Some of my best memories from childhood include the days when my Mom and Grandmother came home from the local Food Lane. They’d walk in the door with 7 or 8 huge paper bags filled with groceries and I loved rummaging through each and every one of them. Throwing pickle jars and butter to the side to find the box of sweet goodness buried within. Having them yell at me when I attempted to open the box to obtain the prize inside without waiting until breakfast. Still not sure what that was all about.

In any event and without any further adieu, here are my top ten cereals of all time:

10.Trix. I felt bad for the silly rabbit who never got his Trix. In every commercial he always came so close to getting them. Remember when they held an election every so often to decide if the rabbit should get Trix? You’d cut out a Yes or No on the box and mail it in? I think it was rigged though. There’s no way everyone would deny the rabbit his Trix. That’s just Un-American to me.

 

 

9. Cocoa Puffs: I could somehow relate to Sonny, The Cuckoo Bird. That chocolaty goodness sure was hard to resist. I always thought this was a cereal that tried to compete with the big boys but always fell a little bit short. Don’t get me wrong though. I ate enough of this stuff to keep me on a sugar high for years.

 

 

8. Super Sugar Crisp. How it will ALWAYS be remembered by me. Yes, before Sugar Bear became “Super Bear” and Post changed the name from “Sugar” Crisp to “Golden” Crisp. I’d like to meet one of the Mothers who was comforted by the fact that even though they changed the name of the cereal and mascot every bowl still contained 18 grams of sugar.

 

 

7. Freakies. I honestly don’t remember too much of this cereal. It looks like it was only marketed for five years.  I have an old Polaroid picture of me around age 7 eating a bowl of it so I assume it must have been delish.  I didn’t eat crap back then.

 

 

6. Cap’n Crunch. I loved all the flavors of the Cap’n. I’m even an avid follower of him on Twitter (and he even follows ME). I used to love it when the Cap’n would have his treasure hunt games. You’d get a game piece in the box and have to call some phone number to get a clue. I still wonder if anyone ever won the bicycle they were giving away or if it was only a ploy to get you to eat more crunch. If it was the latter, it worked because I ate plenty.

 

5 Fruity Pebbles. If there was ever any cereal that I could eat a whole box of in one sitting it would be this. Much like a fine wine or good lager it goes down smooth and never seems to fill you up. I read an article somewhere that said since 1970 Fruity Pebbles is the most popular cereal purchased in America and I can see why. It’s addicting.

 

4. Quisp. I’d be surprised if many of you remember this one. This cereal is actually one of the earliest ones I remember having growing up. The little alien guy with the beanie. Quisp is rare to find these days but is still made. I think it’s actually just saucer-shaped Cap’n Crunch (it’s made by the same company). But the whole alien thing is what kept me coming back.

 

3.  Lucky Charms: There’s something about Lucky Charms that’s like crack to me. It’s got to be the marshmallows. I’ve been writing to General Mills for years asking them to make an “Oops! All Marshmallows” version of Lucky Charms. I think they’re ignoring me.

 

 

2  Frankenberry, Boo Berry, Fruit Brute: I had a hard time choosing between these three so I selected them all. If I was stuck on a deserted island and my number one choice was not available these would be what I’d choose for breakfast every morning. I mean, what’s not to love about having breakfast with a ghost, werewolf or frankenstein?

 

And finally……

1. Count Chocula: An absolute no brainer if you’ve been following my blog, Facebook or Twitter feeds. Who else would love a cereal so much as to read it bedtime stories, take on motorcycle rides or have it’s picture taken with the guys who wrote Sister Christian? That’s how much I love this stuff. Count used to be available year round, even when Frankenberry and Boo Berry went by the way side. Sadly, it only appears now at Halloween time but I plan on stocking up.

 

Your turn: Let me know some of your favorites. How does it compare to this list?