For an eight-year old kid, Saturday morning was empowering—getting up before your parents, running downstairs into the kitchen to fix breakfast all by yourself. In a real sense, this was my first experience at “cooking,” even if it was nothing more than a mere bowl of Froot Loops. What made it even more special for me was that I really didn’t eat a lot of kid cereal. It was considered a treat and something I only got on the weekends. Also, you can’t ignore the toys! The ones with minute plastic parts that would cause today’s plaintiff’s lawyers to foam at the mouth!
I would have to say that my overall favorite kid cereal was (and still is) Froot Loops. Right behind that would have been Capt’n Crunch. Now the purists say that only the original Capt’n Crunch is worthy of respect, but I must say that I was somewhat partial to Capt’n Crunch with Crunch Berries. An iconoclast even at the tender age of eight! One thing on which all Capt'n Crunch aficionados can agree, is that eating it hurts like hell and feels like the cereal is cutting the roof of your mouth. Of course, we could wait for the Capt'n Crunch to soften up a bit in the milk, but that kind of patience is as hard to come by as waiting for pizza to cool before eating it.
Occasionally, I would enjoy a bowl of Apple Jacks just to mix things up a bit, but it was never my go-to cereal as a kid. Besides, it really doesn’t taste like apples. I was also fond of what was called back in the 70s, “Sugar Pops.” No PC language with that one! We all knew what that cereal was delivering! The name was later changed to Corn Pops and later just “Pops.” I guess each iteration was an attempt to re-cast this sugar-bomb delivery system something that, at least, sounded healthy.
There were other cereals that came and went and that captured my fancy for a time: Cookie Crisp, Fruity Pebbles (though they always got soggy too quickly), and Quisp. But I always went back to the standards. You may dabble in the Buzzcocks, but you never quit listening to Sgt. Pepper.
I was never a big fan of Honey Comb because it struck me as “healthy” cereal trying to pass as kid cereal. I felt the same way about Cheerios and Life—these were not kid cereals, despite how hard those Madison Avenue folks tried. (The closest I got to liking “healthy” kid cereal was Frosted Mini-Wheats, which I also still like.) As an adult, I've learned to like Cheerios, though occasionally I will, in a moment of weakness, buy a box of Froot Loops or Capt’n Crunch and hide the boxes from my kids like some sugar junkie.
Speaking of kids, adults, and kid cereal, a few days ago I found boxes of Count Chocula and Booberry on sale at Target for 75 cents a box! I couldn’t resist, even though I have never been much of a fan of the marshmallow-based cereals (i.e., Lucky Charms) because the marshmallows taste like styrofoam. I think my kids agree because they would have nothing to do with Booberry or Count Chocula. They said the Booberry had no flavor. Instead, they opted for the Cheerios while I defiantly stuck with the Booberry.
Later, however, I had to admit to myself that the kids were right. Booberry doesn’t resemble blueberries in taste anymore than Denise Richards resembles Meryl Streep in terms of acting. I guess it’s true when they say you can’t go home again, even if it is a Saturday morning in 1978.