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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Generic Cereal and Me

I'm going to come out and say it. I loathe generic cereals, offshoots of popular brands. Don't hate me. I have a reason for hating them, stemming from a long ago memory that has scarred me forever. It's not a public loathing either. You guys who enjoy generic cereal, I fully respect that. Hell, I buy a lot of other foods that are generic. But I just can't do it with cereal.

When I was a kid (fine! I admit it, even now at 31 years old! Hush now) my favorite cereal was Fruit Loops. Oh how I adore those yummy circles of chemically enhanced flavors of fruit! I can't get enough of them! It was the only cereal I would eat without allowing it to get soggy with milk. I would (and umm, still do) scarf those suckers down in mere seconds, then go for seconds and thirds.

One day, my mom decided to try to save money. A good idea all around. However, she screwed with my Fruit Loops. I vividly remember that day, sitting in the big part of the grocery cart and my brother was sitting in the chair. We strolled up the cereal aisle and instead of Fruit Loops, my mom decided to put in the cart some generic brand called Fruity O's. It had a picture of a cat on it. I looked at it, and tossed it out the cart and onto the floor.

"Brittany! That's not OK! We don't do that!" my mother hissed.
"Not Fruit Loops."
 "These are just like Fruit Loops."
"Not Fruit Loops."
"We're getting them and they'll be just as good as Fruit Loops. I promise."

The picture of the cat was a good foreshadowing. That crap tasted like cat food. Not that I know what cat food tastes like. I took one bite, ran to the sink, spit it out, and refused to eat it. My mom tried threatening me with not buying Fruit Loops until that box was gone. I held out for 3 weeks until she gave in. That box of Fruity O's gathered dust in our cabinets for years.

People have tried to get me to believe that other cereals are just like Fruit Loops: Fruity Pebbles for instance. You can take your Fruity Pebbles and eat them to your hearts content but dont ever think I'm stupid enough to believe they are the same. People, a good cereal is not just about taste. It deals with texture too. I also realize that consuming enough Fruit Loops will rip the top of your mouth into shreds. That's part of eating Fruit Loops. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to pay for my fruity goodness.

As a parent and adult I understand and acknowledge the whole buying generic to save money concept. I'm fully behind this endeavor. But an incident happened this week that reminded me again how much I loathe generic cereal.

J decided to check out Aldi again, a store we used to shop at regularly, now that it is very close to our new home. He took Ashe with him, a tradition of theirs (See Ashe and his Elephant for other food store escapades). Lately Ashe has been on a serious Lucky Charms kick, or as he calls them, Yucky Charms. J found a generic brand of "Yucky Charms" at Aldi and Ashe was ecstatic. He's been scarfing them down at snack time, or for breakfast. While focusing my attention on Soren who is trying to crawl up my leg, or to Ashe who is bouncing up and down, I would dole him out a small portion without noticing the box. Until the other day when it caught my attention. And since then, I've had a hard time opening the pantry and reaching for that box. Here is why:

As another person pointed out in a forum I frequent, nothing should have a beak AND teeth. Someone else pointed out it looks like a crossbreed of Patrick and Spongebob Squarepants. I want to know who was stoned enough to think THAT was a great image logo for a kids breakfast cereal box.

There is just something very creepy about a crazed looking star with ginormous, out of proportion teeth, and crossed eyes trying to lure your kiddo into eating their marshmellowy goodness. It's actually creepy enough that Xavier won't go into the pantry knowing that box was there. I can't say I blame the kid.

So I have added yet another reason as to why I loathe generic cereals. Fortunately I had the fortune of sending this creepy sucker to the garbage bin this morning. While Ashe piteously whined about the lack of Yucky Charms, I was able to turn him onto generic Goldfish instead: They're in the shapes of sharks and he loved gobbling them down.

Sharks I can handle. Stars with teeth? Not so much.


Katie said...

I have the same kick with frosted flakes. Generic Frosted Flakes are evil. They don't have the right texture or the right amount of sugar and they get soggy faster.

And that star is creppy.... really creepy.

Stephanie said...

That star ROCKS! No wonder Ashe was diggin em! ;)

Dan Frey said...

In Buffalo, there was a generic Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch called Peanut Butter Crunch Heads. As FSM as my witness, they were BETTER than the name brand. It was some kind of anomaly in the space-time-cereal continuum. I would eat those things until the inside of my mouth was raw.

I should mention this was when I was 32 years old.

♥ Fanged Faerie Girls ♥ said...

I hate generic cereal. There are just some things you do not buy generic of because they never taste like the original. Cereal is one, soda is another, there are more but those are the top ones.

I am a captain crunch girl but the top of the mouth in pieces part is the same, if I am not flicking pieces of shredded top of my mouth skin off with my tongue for 10 minutes afterward, it is not REAL captain crunch.

Also, I know some strange person that eats generic fruit loops by the bag and I wonder if she might be an alien (she also hates chocolate ice cream which pretty much confirms it to me.)

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I totally thought of you as I stood in the cereal aisle at Walmart yesterday. Just cannot do it here, either!!! ;) Fake PopTarts? Check! Fake yogurt? Check! Fake pasta? Check there, too! (I know, I know, but it's frozen - what's the difference?) But fake cereal? No dice!

Helene said...

I hate generic cereals...I won't even buy the generic corn flakes! I buy a lot of generic products but cereal isn't one of them!!!

My kids call Lucky Charms Yucky Charms too!

And yeah the star on that box is disturbing!