Quick quiz: can anybody identify the source of these quotes:
“Snap! Crackle! Pop!”®
“Let’s get Mikey! He hates everything!”®
If you said “cereal ads” or slogans, you get five points. However, if you can name all three cereals … without looking them up, you win the prize! (Leave a comment on this post with your cereal story, and I’ll send you a box of your favorite! No kidding!)
Ah, I remember when my brothers and I would actually get to go to our dad’s grocery store. It wasn’t really his; he worked as the assistant manager for the A&P chain, but we called it “Dad’s store.” As with most dads who worked (or work) at grocery stores, our dad always brought home what we needed.
But now and then, Mom would bundle us into our station wagon and off we’d go. We’d drag our feet through the aisles of condiments, canned vegetables, and aluminum foil, but when we got to the cereal aisle, magic happened. Our feet began to dance and our eyes to pop! The number of choices blew our minds.
And Mom usually would say, “Each of you can pick one box.” With our senses reeling, we looked from one end of the aisle to the other, then turned around and did it in reverse. Sometimes, we’d choose one, clutch the box to our chests, and carry it through the rest of the store to the check-out counter.
Before we go further, I should mention the prerequisite for choosing. It had a little to do with taste, nothing to do with slogans, and everything to do with the treasure inside the box. We’d been known to skip our favorite to take a box with little taste appeal just because of the trinket hidden in the bottom of the box.
When we opened the box at home, we’d wait until Mom wasn’t looking and squeeze it from, first, the narrow sides, then the larger ones, shaking the flakes or Os so to see down the depths of cereal dunes to catch a peek of the missing treasure. And when we found it, our hands (hopefully clean) reached way down, plucked the surprise out, and reshook the box, trying to make it look like the toy was sitting on top all the time. Of course, the bloated box that never fit quite right in the cupboard told a different story.
Then, breakfast could begin. We’d pour our chosen cereal into our bowls, add milk, and, if unsugared, enough sugar to make up for not having the sugared kind (and then some). And depending on the kind of cereal, our senses set to work next.
You know how moms and dads always tell kids not to play with their food? If so, why did they create Alpha-Bits®? The sense of touch couldn’t wait to pull out the letters to spell our names, placing the milk-covered letters on the table. By the time we got all the letters, the first ones were soggy and hard to pick back up to return to the bowl.
Of course, we all know which cereal wins the prize for the best auditory brand. You guessed it—Rice Krispies®! Okay, ‘fess up—how many of you actually listened to see if you could distinguish a “snap,” “crackle,” or “pop”?
For a treat for the eyes, I’d have to pick any of the many kinds of colorful cereals—ones with blue, red, green, and yellow Os or tiny flakes. We didn’t care about the taste, just the colors.
How about our sniffers? What cereal’s unique scent comes to mind? Okay, let’s face it, the apple spice smell didn’t mean apples were in the box, and the enticing chocolate odors may have added pounds from just a whiff or two, but it wasn’t from any real chocolate in the box. We admit our parents were right about the imitation this or that, but the sense of smell won us over at the time.
And last … taste. On this one, we have to agree to disagree … or agree to agree if you think the best tasting cereal was—
Oh, no, we’re not playing THAT game! You have yours and I have mine and never the two shall meet … at least in my mouth.
One final sense comes to mind before I end … that warm sense of feeling that comes from eating a cereal that brings to mind the love that went into making it. One cereal brings that to me: mush and milk, we called it.
Anyone else grow up having this delicacy made from Brinser’s Best Yellow Corn Meal and water, cooked over low heat for half an hour or more until thick and creamy. Poured hot into a wide bowl (to allow it to cool faster … and have more space for sugar), doused with pats of butter, covered with plenty of sugar (the bowl took care of that), and topped with milk. Nothing says breakfast cereal … and love … to me like mush and milk.
God sure knew what He was doing when He created the plants which give us grains to make the cereals we all enjoy and feed the cows that give us milk to pour over them … no, we won’t talk about those uncouth people who DON’T drink the milk in the bottom of their bowls when the cereal is gone.
So, anyone who wants a free box of their favorite kind, leave your cereal story here in the comments! Even if you don’t want the free box, we’d still enjoy reading your story!