Ever since I could chew solids, I have eaten cereal on a daily basis. At some point, my cereal consumption could almost be measured at an hourly basis. I have always considered taste, texture, and milk-to-cereal ratios apart of the art of eating cereal. It took until the ripe maturity of ten years of age to be able to carry the milk gallon from the fridge to the counter with ease, though I think I was actually thirteen-ish when I could finally carry it with one hand. Before then, my younger brother and I were completely dependent upon my mom making cereal for us. And thanks to her, we learned to drown our cereal in milk and mix cereals when two boxes became too low to make an entire bowl. But she and my father both worked multiple jobs to keep food on the table, so the task typically fell into my older brother’s hands. We’d ask him to make us cereal, and sometimes he would decline the request. But when he accepted, Blake and I had a little choreographed number, catchily entitled “The Cereal Dance,” that we’d perform. While Scott stood on the counter and carelessly poured cereal and milk into three bowls, Blake and I rubbed our hands over our eyes and lifted our knees up like the Soggybottom Boys, making a 360-degree rotation while squealing in bouts of anxiety.
Nowadays, neither my parents nor brothers are around often enough to eat cereal with me. But when my brothers and I do get together, cereal is the one love we know we all have in common. We head straight to the grocery store for two boxes of cereal and a gallon of whole milk to accompany a list of Adam Sandler comedies and our parents’ deep-seated couches. But we always face the same problem when arriving at the cereal aisle and picking our victims for the night: where did all the good cereal go? And I’m not talking good like Cheerios, Special K, and Kashi. No, I’m talking about Waffle Crisp, Rice Krispie Treats, and French Toast Crunch. The sugary goodness that is the building block of our childhood. Nights dedicated to this topic with my fellow Cerealeans have yielded nothing but frustration and unsatisfied hunger. But the internet has given these cereals of our childhood another chance at life (or death?) so that we might live out our youth for a little bit longer.
This cereal may or may not have dictated my priorities in life at one point. They were mini-waffles that were more crispy than crunchy, and got extremely soggy after five minutes of being in the bowl. This is why and how I learned to eat cereal quickly — because there are only a couple of cereals in this world that are better soggy, and they involve the Flintstone’s. Waffle Crisp’s mascot, at its peak of tastiness, was a group of elderly women who slaved over the making of Waffle Crisp. So you know they tasted the way Grandma would make ‘em. She wouldn’t worry about the sugars or the calories. And that’s exactly how Waffle Crisp tasted. They smelled like syrup and brown sugar. They tasted more like that than a buttery waffle. And the milk turned a light beige and tasted almost like the smell of cinnamon rolls. Waffle Crisp actually has not been discontinued yet. For some reason, Post cereal has just drastically reduced its production of it. I found it once in a North Georgia Ingles. I was dizzy with excitement and hope for the future of Waffle Crisp. Over the years, Kellogg’s Eggo Cereal took Waffle Crisp’s spot in major grocery stores. The upsetting part about Crisp’s competition is that it really isn’t the same. It’s like drinking skim milk after having whole milk for ten years. There’s less sugar, less texture, and the Eggo’s are thinner. They pale in comparison. But fear not, the Waffle Crisp market on the internet is vast, affordable, and easy to find.
Rice Krispie Treat… the cereal edition
Okay, so Kellogg’s got it right when they decided to give RKTC a chance. It first appeared in 1993 and judging by the profits Kellogg’s got by my family alone, I’m pretty sure it had no problem selling. But over the years, it vanished, and is also in limbo with Waffle Crisp… not officially discontinued, but also not easily found at any grocery store. However, when I was seventeen or so, Kellogg’s pushed it for a limited time in numerous major grocery stores. I literally gave money to someone from work, while I was on shift, to run over to Wal-Mart and buy three boxes for me. It might’ve made me a candidate for sainthood in my brothers’ eyes. RKTC is portioned off pieces of Rice Krispie Treats that are dry enough to avoid the goop of fresh, homemade Rice Krispie Treats, but sweet and frosted enough to rule out the sweetness of Frosted Cheerios, Frosted Flakes, and Frosted Wheaties combined. RKTC cannot be found on the shelves anymore, though I hope Kellogg’s goes for another push with them, but there are options for the RKTC addict: 1.) The internet 2.) Making Rice Krispie Treats and allowing them to set at room temperature for three days. At that time, they are dry enough to put in milk and enjoy, and you actually have control over what goes into the making of the RKTC.
French Toast Crunch
French Toast Crunch had a shelf life from 1995 to 2008. Apart of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch family, it took on the approach of the Crisp family (Cookie Crisp, Waffle Crisp) in that the cereal itself was shaped as small pieces of french toast. These crunchy delicacies had the ability of staying in milk for a rather long period of time without getting soggy. But when General Mills decided to make French Toast Crunch look the as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, sales plummeted… at least in my household. The flakes didn’t carry the same flavor. They actually seemed even more sugary, with a brown sugar coating, and lost the imitational taste of french toast. Along with losing the taste, they lost their texture, getting soggy at a much quicker rate. Though Cinnamon Toast Crunch is and was another favorite, the problem with this change was that General Mills lost its FTC market. And subsequently stopped manufacturing the cereal. Which is probably the biggest blow to my childhood taste buds.
Although all of these cereals lost their spotlight, they never lost their following. Many blog posts and discussions from kids of the 90’s era are dedicated to the understanding of the shelf life of perfectly perfect cereals and their disappearance. It leads me to ask one thing: if the market remains, why not give these cereals another chance? Though that question may never be answered or fulfilled, there is one thing I can promise. If it does happen, I will not hesitate to do the cereal dance once more.