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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Great Cereal Debate

I was just over at another blog (Point Counter-Point Point Point) and we were discussing the Lucky Charms marshmallow dilemma.

Now I don't really eat the marshmallow cereals much, not wanting to contact Black Plague or Leprosy or other sugar-induced maladies. But when we're camping I can't just pack everybody's favorite cereal. There wouldn't be room in the car for all the real stuff you have to take (like laptops and bags of rocks and...you know...the kids). So it was a charm-filled cereal and one of the donut-seed type cereals.

Amazingly, not once was the donut-seed cereal breeched (I hope that's the right 'breeched.' Otherwise I'm saying that we didn't put pants on the box.) It was all charms every day. The donut-seed one even boasted a sugar coating. The lure of the marshmallows-so-bright-you-can-see-'em-from-space was too great.

So what's the deal? I go to the store and try to pick breakfast fodder that isn't going to make my family bloat up like beached whales, but the store gives me no help at all. It's either sugar-chunks or cat/hamster food that tastes like the dust off the top of my closet (don't ask me why I know what that tastes like) and ages ungracefully in my cupboard attracting ants.

How come we can't have a nutritious, yet stomach and taste-bud-pleasing cereal? Who actually thinks that eating a bowl of cookies is going to get their kid through the day with A+ in everything because he ate a great breakfast? I'm waiting for the day when I hear someone tell me their savvy kid came home and told them, "No thanks, Mom. I don't need cookies. Can I have a bowl of cereal?"

How did cereal go from this to this?

The mindset on this thing boggles. But somehow, the gurus at the cereal factory have done it. They've filled the shelves with food you can't feed a dog anymore. (That being my main criteria. If a dog won't eat that stuff, my kid doesn't get it.)

There's got to be a middle ground. Because after you suck out all the cereal-y goodness and inject enough dye and sugar to drop a charging rhino, what's left? Kids will go for that bright, sparkle-fairy sugar every time. If you offer an aisle with nothing but cube-sugar with a smattering of cookie bits, they'll bite.

I'd love to see what they'd do if they came in one day and the breakfast aisle was full of Lima Bean Loops or Squash Surprise. "Mom, please pass the Brussels Sprout Squares." Yeah. That would be the day. Children would be flocking to the table for a real breakfast. Those muscles would pop. Gone would be that flab. Sit-ups anyone? "Helga, can you just put the trash can down on the corner, please? Yeah, put it down now. The handle's breaking off." That.


  1. Our local grocery store has the cereal and candy in the same aisle. I don't think that's a coincidence.

    I'd like a bowl of Brussels Sprout Squares please.

    1. Meh. My daughter assures me that if they really offered cereals like that, there would be constant alerts over the intercom: "Clean-up in aisle 10...again," from people barfing in the aisle. All of my carefully orchestrated attempts to indoctrinate her on the beauties of those teensy little cabbages that really DON'T taste like paint chips anymore have come to naught with her. She'd rather suck her own big toes than eat Brussels sprouts.