Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Cereal Killer

In Monday's musings about stay-at-home life I mentioned I eat Grape Nuts cereal. This led to a thread in the comments section about Grape Nuts. Apparently, a lot of you are not fans. I was surprised to learn (thanks to a JEOPARDY question) that C.W. Post invented Grape Nuts in 1894. Since they’re still around I can’t be the only one who doesn't consider them gravel.

But it got me to thinking of breakfast cereals in general.

Cereal played a big part in my diet growing up. As a kid, my mom would make a big breakfast (bacon & eggs, or pancakes, or waffles) on Sunday mornings. Every other day breakfast consisted of cereal and milk.

From the time I was maybe 5 until 12 my cereal of choice was based solely on what toy they were offering. Back then you could send in two box tops and fifty cents and get a plastic Munchy, Crunchy, or Spoon Size to fit on your spoon (the space men characters from Nabisco’s Shredded Wheat Juniors – a truly horrible cereal).

I sent away for a lot of that junk. I think the big thrill was not playing with the toys, but the rush of seeing them actually arrive in the mailbox. The anticipation was agony for this 6 year-old.

Back then cereal companies would sponsor kid shows, usually on Saturday mornings. Kellogg’s sponsored THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. I sent away for a lot of crap to Battle Creek, Michigan. There were a number of cheesy cartoon shows sponsored by Post (e.g. LINUS THE LIONHEARTED). MIGHTY MOUSE on CBS was sponsored by Ipana toothpaste. I always found that ironic amidst the plethora of sugar-coated teeth-rotting cereals.

Once I reached the mature age of maybe 12 my cereal habits became binges. I’d eat Special K every day for several years, then switch to Rice Chex, Raisin Brand, Cheerios, and Grape Nuts for extended periods each. (Corn Flakes never did it for me, neither did Rice Krispies, Trix, Kix, or Wheaties – I was never going to be a champion so why bother?)

I got out of the habit of eating cereal until this pandemic. Now I’ve settled into a routine and that includes cereal for breakfast. My current jag is Grape Nuts. When I’m eating it I start to feel a little nostalgic. It’s almost like I’m a kid again – until I finish and then realize I can’t go out and play.


johnachziger said...

We ate whatever cereal Dad brought home, there was always a variety. My favorite was Jets (they were kinda like sugar coated Kix). I always added more sugar to whatever sugar coated cereal I ate. For Corn Flakes, I put on 6 or 8 spoon fulls, so when I was done with the flakes, there was a mush of milky sugar at the bottom of the bowl. Wish I'd kept some of the cereal boxes though, as many go for hundreds of dollars each!

slgc said...

In the early 90's, when my older two kids were very small, Kellogg's had a promotion where, for a dirt cheap price along with some box tops, you could send away for a set of four plastic bowls. Not only did the kids love them, but close to 30 years later we're still using those bowls for snacks!

They have held up after countless dishwasher loads, and they are virtually unbreakable. One of my best purchases ever!

Dave said...

Grapenuts, I used to love them.

I hope the WGA has excellent dental insurance.

AlaskaRay said...

My mother didn’t allow sugary cereals, so I was stuck with cornflakes, rice crispies, and Cheerios. As soon as I went off to college I bought a box of Fruit Loops (yes I know the flavors taste like medicine) and have been eating them ever since, most as snacks right out of the box.

stephanie said...

I, too, like Grape Nuts because it's low in sugar. I fed it to my daughter when she was little and she hated it. What a surprise, then, when I saw a box in her kitchen. I laughed and she told me it grows on you. Guess she had a little nostalgia.

Mark Shayler said...

God bless my mom! She didn't mind having me along while grocery shopping but, looking back, I think she came to dread going up the cereal aisle because she knew how hyper I'd become. "Ooh, get this one." "I want this one". My wanting for cereal would make Veruca Salt look like a saint! And it all stemmed from the commercials I saw on TV.

Also, I have to wonder how the folks at Kellogg's reacted to seeing Hawkeye pouring beer into a bowl of Rice Krispies in "A Night At Rosie's", or if some college frat boys tried doing it themselves!

Dave Wrighteous said...

Whatever happened to cereal box prizes? Seriously, go to the cereal aisle and look for cereal with a toy inside..they're gone!

Elf said...

I've found I actually prefer the store-brand version of Grape Nuts from Ralphs. They taste the same but are easier on the teeth.

WB Jax said...

In the summer of 1969 my family left SE Louisiana when my dad got a job in Jacksonville (my hometown). Because we only had a small U-Haul trailer I had no choice but to leave behind (in storage at my uncle's house) my collection of (Mattel) Major Matt Mason toys. This was about a week before the Apollo 11 moon landing. Fast forward to 17 August, when Hurricane Camille decimated Buras, LA, the small town where we previously lived. Around that time Post was advertising plastic "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" cars (in primary colors with cutout "wings") in (specially marked) boxes of Alpha Bits and Honey Comb. So, along with the one thing I was allowed to bring, an Aurora "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" Flying Sub model, these miniature cars (as I managed to collect all three colors of "Chitty") were the only toys I had until Christmas that year. As a related aside, I understand that Major Matt Mason stuff I had at age 5,6 is worth a mini fortune today (damn hurricane!)

Favorite things from a cereal offers: model Ford Pinto (GM Cheerios* offer, neat toy), and a "Star Trek" jacket (can't remember what cereal).

* - when there was only one Cheerios flavor (last count, I think I saw 15 varieties)

Dan in Missouri said...

I've always eaten and enjoyed Grape Nuts. Warm with fresh fruit. As a kid, I'm about Ken's age, I also would often pick a cereal based upon the toy. There were great toys.
Dan in Missouri

Glenn said...

I've had Count Chocula and Boo Berry, but never tried Frankenberry. True story.

Roy DeRousse said...

My cereal experience was pretty much identical to yours. We ate cereal every day except for Sunday. We could have any cereal we wanted. My cousin had to eat Wheaties every single day. He LOVED staying over at our house for some reason. :-D

YEKIMI said...

Used to eat Grape Nuts but my teeth hurt nowadays so no more. Ate Wheaties growing up but with no milk in them and people looked at me as if I just punched Betty White. Come to think of it, never put milk on any of the cereal I ate. Life, Count Chocula, Quisp were others I chowed down on.

kent said...

My mother made us hot buttered cheerios and hot buttered shredded wheat. My best send-away prize was a mini-submarine that actually fired a tiny torpedo. That was circa 1962.

Buttermilk Sky said...

Here's a topic that will divide Levine Nation: Banana or no banana? A sliced banana always made cornflakes less boring, in my opinion.


John Leader Alfenito said...

Grape nuts topping hot oat meal...good and good for you.

Kosmo13 said...

Buy the right box of cereal and you could get a record by Bobby Sherman or the Monkees built into the back of the box. I still play mine every now and then.

MikeKPa. said...

I was never a breakfast eater until later in life. I used to stubbornly out-wait my mother until it was time to leave for the school bus. Didn't matter if it was eggs, toast, cereal. I didn't like it. Eventually Pop Tarts presented a compromise. Speaking of collectibles, I remembering buying Welch's grape jelly which had a different Flinstones' figure on jar, which could be used as a drinking glass. My mother still had one or two up until about a decade ago.

VP81955 said...

I miss some of the now-discontinued varieties, such as Fortified Oat Flakes from Post (makers of the still made, but hard-to-find, Grape Nuts Flakes). Oat flakes were so flavorful, you didn't need a banana as topping.

In my mid-sixties now, my cereal tastes have evolved into the stand-bys:

* Corn flakes (I prefer Kellogg's, but most house brands are OK);
* Crisped rice (Kellogg's Rice Krispies has less of an edge over its budget rivals); and
* Oat rings (I like original Cheerios, but Trader Joe's "Joe's O's," which supposedly are oats that don't quite meet General Mills specifications but nonetheless taste similar).

Rice and Corn Chex are also favorites. (Ralston sold the Chex rights to General Mills some years ago, but now makes similar cereals with different names that I sometimes get from my food bank. I'll have to buy a Chex box to see if the ingredients are identical.)

Nonchalant Savant said...

My grandfather used to pour the milk into his bowl of grapenuts cereal right before going to bed each evening. By morning, it would the consistency that he preferred.

Robert Ryder said...

Remember the Kellogg's variety pack with the small boxes? All the favorites like Sugar Pops would be eaten first and then you'd be left with Product 19 or Corn Flakes (unsweetened!).

Craig Russell said...

I grew up about a half hour from Battle Creek. Kelloggs was a big deal (and still is) in that town. In elementary school a rite of passage in the 70's was a field trip to the Kelloggs plant. They stopped the tours when ala Willy Wonka style, competitors would ply parents to get trade secrets...from 8 year olds. It was also the site of my first radio job. You could tell what day of the week it was by the smell wafting through town...Monday was Fruit Loops day, Friday Cocoa Krispys...

sanford said...

When I was young. (a little older than Ken) we would have a variety of cereals, but mainly Cherrios. Once in a while Sugar Pops or Frosted Flakes. I don't know if I am record at holder at least when we are home I have had Cherrios every day for years. I have had honey nuts at times. The place we stay at in Arizona doesn't have Cherrios, so I have Raisin Brand. I generally have fruit on my cereal, banana, blueberries or strawberries.

Jeff Boice said...

Loved Captain Crunch! I liked how you finished off the cereal and there was a nice bowl of sugary milk to drink. Mom and Dad didn't care for the Captain however.

Then there was the Kelloggs variety pack with the 10 little boxes of various cereals. Me and my sister would try to hide the Frosted Flakes box so we could have a grrreat start to the morning and stick the other with Special K.

Henry said...

I was just remarking today that since most things I'm ordering from Amazon are no longer arriving in two days, this is like the 90s when I was a kid and you had to wait 6-8 weeks for anything you sent away for, and I'm finding the anticipation of arrival to be agony, and the arrival a delight. It's no 6-8 weeks, but the perception is about the same when you rarely leave the house. And to Mark, Yes I did pour beer on my Rice Krispies when I was in college (not in a frat). Red Dog wasn't very good, but I'm sure there's a beer out there that would work with it. Hawkeye's also the reason I was the only 15 year old that liked Scotch and Martinis. I would've drank anyhow, I just drank better than my peers.

DaveW said...

We weren't allowed sugar cereal. Mom said sugar was bad for you, but I'm pretty sure it was really because it cost a little more than Cheerios and Corn Flakes. The few times we did get cereal with a toy was a really big deal. I can well remember that Freakies balloon car I got in '74!

Jeff Alexander said...

When I was growing up, my mother never allowed more than one box of cereal in the house. She claimed that I'd eat the cereal until it got down to the packaged toy inside and then I wouldn't eat it any more. She didn't want 10 boxes of half-filled cereals of different brands in the cupboard.
Training of a lifetime shows, I guess. If I buy two gallons of ice cream, for example (in a two-for-$7 deal or something like that), subconsciously, I'd feel guilty if I eat only a part of the Blueberry Fudge Ripple and then decide to open the Raspberry Peanut Butter Swirl (if either of those flavors actually exist).
I did send away for those toys offered and the best one I got was a Capn Crunch treasure chest. It was plastic and you could actually keep little toys in it -- then finally, one day, I put the treasure chest in my toy box and, well, that was the end of it!

VP81955 said...

To Jeff Boice: It's not "Captain Crunch," but "Cap'n." Adam (William Fichtner) mentioned that to his brother over the breakfast table on an episode of "Mom."

Unknown said...

I used to like Captain Crunch as a kid (after it soaked in milk a few minutes). When you first start eating it, it ripped up the top of my mouth, but I grew used to it (maybe I was a sugar addict?)
Was in the store last week, they still have Captain Crunch, but I would think after all these years, he would have been promoted.

Ron Rettig said...

I have Grape Nuts at least every other day and add raisins for added enjoyment.

Brian said...

I take Raisin Bran Crunch, Honey Nut Cherios and Frosted Mini-Wheats and mix them together. I top that off with some peaches or some fruit cocktail out of a can. Once a week or so I'll add banana. I have fallen into the habit of having a bowl for a late night snack. For breakfast my usual rotation is cereal, eggs, oatmeal. That repeats and get interrupted by the occasional pancakes or waffles on weekends.

As a kid I did like Captain Crunch and Super Sugar Crisp (I think is called "Golden Crisp and only sold in Canada). How I made it through childhood with no cavities, I'll never know.

thomas tucker said...

I ate cereal as a kid, mainly Frosted Flakes or Fruit Loops or Cap'n Crunch until Pop Tarts entered my culinary picture. I loved the grape Pop Tarts in partiucular, which they don't make any more. Grape Pop Tarts and chocolate milk- yum. I don't know why I don't have diabetes.

Anonymous said...

Not to go all classic Seinfeld here, but what are Grape-Nuts? They're not grapes. They're not nuts. So what are they?
One thing they are is nutritionally useless. Maybe a little iron, but that's it. Cheerios rule in the vitamins and minerals category. Also in taking up the most shelf space. There were 8 varieties of Cheerios last time I bothered to count t my store; their website lists 19 kinds.

JeffR said...

Used to eat Grape Nuts - Now...Grape Nut Flakes - still the same flavor but without the tooth shattering crunch...hahaha

Kevin said...

Never mind toilet paper, when my Smart & Final finally got the giant box of Grape Nuts back in stock after a month I was very excited. So sad.

Anonymous said...

My nostalgic cereals that remind me of my (late 80s) childhood are:
Lucky Charms
Count Chocula
Golden Grahams with Marshmallows

Bob Gassel said...


On a Facebook discussion, someone who works for Fox claims that all masters of AfterMASH (which only existed on videotape), were accidentally discarded years ago, and they have no distributable copies of the series. Can you verify this?

Mike Bloodworth said...

My cereal choices had more to do with the taste and or cartoon spokes character.

I used to jokingly say, what do they do with the castrated grapes? Grape Eunuchs?

I used to put sugar on Sugar Frosted Flakes because it wasn't sweet enough.

When I was a kid the cereal companies didn't hide the fact that they were full of sugar; that's how they unadvertised them. e.g. Sugar Smacks, Super Sugar Crisp, Sugar Pops, S.F. Flakes, etc.

In the commercial for Cheerios the "Cheerios Kid" (Remember him?) would say, "Cheerios and milk give you 'go power!'" I never got "go power." I figured it was because I put sugar on it.

Never ate any cereal with raisins or nuts.
Quisp, but not Quake. Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries. Rice Krispies, sometimes. Shredded Wheat. Kellogg's Corn Flakes, but not Post Toasties. Alphabits, eh.

Later in life I got back into cereal because of "Seinfeld." Believe it or not.


Janet said...

Same here. In fact for a time, mine was on this "macrobiotic" thing and the cereal we had to eat were blue corn flakes. They tasted like cardboard :(

JS said...

My current line-up: Grape-Nuts with Bananas (I do have fear of breaking off a tooth To soften it up, I let it sit in the milk for awhile); Honey Combs; and, what I ate as a kid, Shredded Wheat with Strawberries.

John Nixon said...

Grape Nuts are delicious! You can put some milk on them and then stick them in the microwave for about a minute and they become perfect.

I am a cereal enthusiast. Favorites include the originals like Grape Nuts, Corn Flakes, all the Chex and Shredded Wheat. A newer brand, if you can find it, is Nature's Path cereals. Their entire collection is outstanding.

The cereal business kept the contract cartoon artists working when they were in between jobs. Disney artists drew box fronts like Rice Krispies while the Bullwinkle people did ones like Captain Crunch.

There's an informative fun to read book all about the history of the cereal business called 'Cerealizing America: The Unsweetened Story of American Breakfast Cereal'. It's highly entertaining and available wherever finer books are sold!

Greg Barnett said...

Banana in Rice Krispies and Bran Flakes for sure. Never tried it in anything else.

Greg Barnett said...

Yes! And you could tear the box at the perferations, carefully tear the inner bag, and pour milk right into the box

D McEwan said...

Actually, the cereal I liked best as a kid was "Kellogg's Concentrate." I assume they no longer make it, as I sure have not seen a box of it anywhere in decades.

As a kid, since getting anyone (Mom) to cook me some eggs and hash browns was never an option (Mom was busy preparing to read from the Bible and from Mary Baker Eddy's Science & Health With Key to the Scriptures at us as we ate breakfast. We had to try to eat and digest breakfast 6 days a week while receiving a lecture on her insane Christian Science religion: Cereal and Brain-washing every morning, put me off eating in the morning for life), I ate cereals which I LOADED with sugar. I'd spoon in sugar till there was a thick layer of sugar covering whatever cereal was hiding under it.

These days I no longer keep granulated white sugar in the house, on the rare occasions when I buy a box of cereal, it's usually something pre-sweetened. Lately mostly Cocoa-Krispies.

But frankly, my breakfasts nowadays, generally eaten noonish, or at least not for a couple hours after I get up (Mother's Breakfast Bible-readings still haunt me), tend to be scrambled eggs, with cheese or with BBQ sauce (Never both), and some form of potatoes, and maybe pancakes or waffles if I'm really starved. You know, real food.

Bowls of gravel remain out of my diet.

Barry Traylor said...

My grandfather used to pour hot water on GRAPE NUTS and ate hem that way which I thought a bit strange when I was a kid. But you don't call your grandfather strange.

Yah Shure said...

My brother, who's a year older than I am, was a Cap'n Crunch fanatic. One morning, he seemed pretty out of sorts, and I watched as instead of milk, he poured Tang on his bowlful of CC. He threw it down the sink, refilled his bowl and proceeded to pour Tang on it a second time. He decided not to go for the hat trick.

Twinkles cereal caught my attention for a couple of years. There was a mini comic book on the back of the box that you could cut around the edges to open (without cutting into the box) and read while eating the star-shaped sugary poofs. It was tied into the Twinkles cartoon show ("Nose, nose, anything goes.") The one two-box-tops-and-50¢ cereal offer I most remember sending for was the Mighty Mouse Make A Face, which had four wooden knobs on it and boasted of being able to create 64,000 different faces. The anticipation of waiting for it to arrive was excruciating; I'd check the mailbox every day waiting... and waiting... and waiting. It was the perfect distraction on the long car trip to and from grandma's house in Sioux City.

I'd forsaken cereal for years until USA Today ran a free subscription offer in exchange for sending proofs of purchase for General Mills cereals, circa '86. Eventually, the brand names yielded to the store brands of raisin bran (from which I used to stealthily eat the raisins out of the box as a kid, then leave just the bran flakes for the others.) Then it morphed into getting multi-grain cereals and mixing it with Sun Maid or other raisins that weren't the consistency of concrete. I tried Rice Krispies once, but those are even less filling than styrofoam.

For the last decade of so, it's just old-fashioned rolled oats, uncooked, a sliced banana, raisins or Craisins, some walnuts or almonds, fresh blueberries when they're in season and chocolate milk. That's filling enough to skip lunch, then eat a light dinner.

Al in PDX said...

From 1961 to 1963, Post cereals had baseball cards on the backs of the boxes. When my brother and/or I went shopping with mom, we'd dig through every box in the store, looking for cards of players we didn't have. It didn't matter what the cereal was, only that we were able to get closer to the complete set of 200.

Mick, by the way, was on the Alpha-Bits box.

Pamela Atherton said...

Y'all don't even KNOW what death by cereal is! My mother didn't want us having sugar (so none of those fun cereals you mentioned), so we ate Puffed Wheat or Puffed Rice, that was... SHOT OUT OF GUNS!!... to the tune of the 1812 overture in ads. We had the kind that came in long plastic bags. (I think mom bought generic before generic was cool.) Imagine eating a bowl of styrofoam packing peanuts with milk - THAT was our puffed wheat breakfast.

Here's the commercial. Nowadays I can't hear the 1812 Overture without seeing cannons filled with puffed wheat and rice shooting off.I am scarred for life.

Fed by the muse said...

Imagine my surprise when once looking at the ingredients of Cookie Crisp Chocolate Chip cereal only to find no actual chocolate listed (but it did contain dried apples!) Cereal I really loved as a kid was Pink Panther Flakes (made by Post, ca. 1971), which turned the milk poured onto (as advertised).

iamr4man said...

Cereals of my youth:
Nabisco wheat honeys (also rice). Couldn’t eat them with milk. Yuck. Good out of the box though. When they got old they stuck together like popcorn balls. Yum.
Jets Cereal (get set with Jets)
Kellogg’s All Stars ( Alakazam, what a wonderful wizard I am)
Post Crispy Critters (the one and only cereal that comes in the shape of animals)

I think I liked the jingles better than the cereals themselves.

PolyWogg said...

I'm from Peterborough, Ontario, home to the HQ for Quaker Oats. They've grown over the years, make all sorts of things, but one of their original big sellers was Quaker Oatmeal. I also went to Trent University, also in Ptbo, and so our marketing class reached out to the marketing dept at Quaker and in they came to talk about their marketing campaign from the early 80s.

Just as "healthy" living kicked off with aerobics etc., people embracing thinks like rice cakes as snacks, they decided to do a campaign for Quaker Oatmeal. And who was more kind-hearted, warm and friendly than Wilford Brimley? (Cocoon, Our House)

So they advertised it with him talking about the benefits...and his closer for the ad was always..."Quaker's the right thing to do." The campaign fell flat. Nobody wanted to be told it was the right thing to do, apparently. But they weren't giving up. They added a voiceover of a peppier tagline...Quaker Oatmeal, it's the right thing to do (pause) and a tasty way to do it!

Still fell flat.

What worked? The classic jingle. "Apples and cinnamon, raisins and spice, maple and brown sugar, and everything nice....We'rrrrrre going to make a hot cereal lover outta you (outta me?), outta you."

To this day, I cannot say the words Apples and cinnamon for ANYTHING without singing the song. Pavlovian response. My wife MAY kill me one day, and that will be the trigger.

Oh, and there are a bunch of hilarious commercials with Brimley and some kids. In NONE of the scenes are both Brimley and the kids talking. Apparently Brimley was a "one-take" commercial actor, and the kids messed up a few times to the point the video crew thought there was going to be a murder or two. So the kids' lines were edited in when Wilford wasn't there, he would do his lines and leave. In his segments, they didn't speak; in their segments, they were looking at him but he wasn't standing there.

The best class I had in university was listening to those guys for the day...and he's still alive apparently!

aka PolyWogg

tb said...

Don't forget the coolest thing - the records that used to come right on the box! Just cut out and play. I think we got the Archies and some Paul Revere, maybe...
I still love my Cocoa Pebbles

Tom Asher said...

Definitely ate all the cereal I could growing up in the 80s... provided it was no more than $3 a box - that was the rule.

Nowadays, I try to watch my carbs, but I recently killed off a box of Special K with Dried Strawberries... glorious...

Storm said...

This is a picnic table. Many parts are edible!

Cheers, thanks a lot,


Mark said...

Quisp was the best, and you can still find it once in a while at Fresh Market. I don’t think I ever had Freakies, but I can still sing the commercial jingle...

sueK2001 said...

You used the worth "plethora" in this blog. That makes it a winner for me! I have an obsession with using the word "plethora" as much as possible in writing and in oral presentation.

So, this leads me to ask you a Friday Question..Are there words and phrases you love and adore that you sneak into your writing?

Oh yeah, I rarely ate cereal as a kid but I totally love Fruit Loops as an adult and had a bowl after reading this.

Anonymous said...

As a kid, we did the same - had cereal Monday thru Saturday, and then eggs, pancakes, bacon on Sunday after church. I was an odd kid and preferred unsweetened cereals. I loved Cheerios or Corn Flakes with fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, or sliced peaches. Got a little monotonous in the winter when it was bananas all the time. Although in the upper Midwest, we ate a lot of oatmeal or cream of wheat during the winter. I didn't eat Grape Nuts as a kid, but as an adult I love a couple tablespoons of them stirred into plain yogurt with some fruit. If you wait a minute or two, they soften slightly and you worry less about chipping a tooth!

MJ said...

As a kid, we did the same - had cereal Monday thru Saturday, and then eggs, pancakes, bacon on Sunday after church. I was an odd kid and preferred unsweetened cereals. I loved Cheerios or Corn Flakes with fresh fruit, like strawberries, blueberries, or sliced peaches. Got a little monotonous in the winter when it was bananas all the time. Although in the upper Midwest, we ate a lot of oatmeal or cream of wheat during the winter. I didn't eat Grape Nuts as a kid, but as an adult I love a couple tablespoons of them stirred into plain yogurt with some fruit. If you wait a minute or two, they soften slightly and you worry less about chipping a tooth!

GFoyle said...

Long time lurker, always enjoy reading Ken, and finally have something to contribute. Have you read the excerpt from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon about eating Cap'n Crunch? It is hilariously baroque and mesmerizing with detail.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Speaking of Grape Nuts, ever eat a pine tree? Some parts are edible. (Funny how someone like Euell Gibbons was a household word and popular Carson joke subject and then fade away.)

I have a Friday question inspired by the recent passing of beloved Muppet performer Caroll Spinney, who was Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar for over half a century. Big Bird had a teddy bear that was named Radar that he dearly loves. The IMDb says that Gary Burghoff gave him the bear. Muppet Wiki, which tends to be fairly accurate, says it was given to him by Mr. Hooper (the Sesame Street storekeeper whose death was historically acknowledged in a brilliantly written episode that aired on Thanksgiving Day so kids and parents could discuss it).

Do you know any backstage story about it? Was Caroll Spinney (or a Sesame Street writer) simply a M*A*S*H fan? Did the M*A*S*H folks have any feelings about the bear's name?

If a tree is eaten in the forest, does it make a sound?

DrBOP said...

Stoner's Delight

medium size bowl
successive 1/4" layers of Grape Nuts
with thin slices of banana, or other fruit
as deep as you are hungry
Final fruit layering over entire
Pour warm milk just to top of cereal
let soak for 2 minutes
distribute a 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
over top fruit layer
add 1/8 inch of very cold milk
use thin metal spoon to carve out chunks
of hot/cold-fruit/grain-sweet/sour tongue grenades
repeat dark brown sugar and cold milk
at each uncovered layer of
Stoner Cereal Candy

(NOT reccomended ANYwhere near bedtime ;>)

Mike McCann said...


I'm with you on Grape Nuts, a great and unique taste (though due to the sky-hi carbs, I only rarely have them). Have you ever tried them mixed with spoon size (unsweetened) Shredded Wheat? There's a terrific synergy of the two different grainy tastes if you let them "marinate" together in milk for a couple of minutes.

And, from the "lost cereals" department, does anyone remember Kellogg's OKs? The Battle Creek boys' knockoff of Cheerios, but in my decades-old memory, a tastier. IIRC, Dennis James did the brand's TV commercials.