Considering a career in the alimentary-research field? Think twice, for you will spend many a greyish-green hour whomping room-temperature cream of mushroom onto sidewalks, to compare its similarity to vomit with that of tapioca; grinding off-brand cheese puffs in a pestle until you develop RSI; and horrifying first dates and prospective in-laws by comparing the top note of a lobster cracker to bacterial vaginosis.
But if you can get through a worthy tome like The Great American Cereal Book: How Breakfast Got Its Crunch by Marty Gitlin and Topher Ellis without requiring an Alka-Seltzer or a meditation break, you just might have a future in this business.
TGACB is a tirelessly researched, gorgeously illustrated, and astonishingly straight-faced encyclopedic history of the cold-cereal industry. Readers will learn that SpongeBob and Hannah Montana have their own cereals, for instance, and that General Mills VP John Holahan invented the tiny versions of marshmallows we find in breakfast cereals — known within the industry as “marbits” — by cutting up a Brach’s circus peanut. (He subsequently eluded justice.) It’s also an invaluable window into the metric tonnes of horseshit the naïve American consumer would put up with in decades gone by.
The B.A.R.F. has compiled a (Cheeri-)overview of the lowlights, both the cereals themselves and a few of the more egregious forgotten mascots. We highly recommend experiencing the book for yourselves, however.
"Girl Cootie Crunch" didn’t survive the first draft, evidently.
Without the equally off-putting mascot, “Bixby Beaver,” Crunchy Loggs might have avoided the association with turds in the punchbowl. Alas.
Fiesta Fruity Pebbles with Confetti Sprinkles
As a result of a parental sugar-cereal embargo that continues to this day, Dr. Bunting spent most of the ’80s craving the most diabetically sugar-laden breakfast foods on the market, but this would have been a Pixy Stik too far even for her.
Description. A cynical and unpleasant mash-up of rum-raisin ice cream, holiday rum balls, and malted-milk balls, Schweddy Balls is touted on the Ben & Jerry’s website as “an ode to a classic ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch comedy” [sic]. In the sense that the rummy aftertaste, much like the average SNL segment, lingers on too long, this is entirely accurate. The adjective “classic,” however, is not, except in the sense that gagging and dumping most of a pint of ice cream into the trash is a “classic” response to a repellent dessert.
Half the day’s sat-fat allowance is expended on a half-cup serving of the Balls. Not worth it, my friends.
Description. Once upon a time, in a suburb not far from the Foundation’s HQ, a pregnant lady visited the suburb’s Baskin Robbins each and every day and always ordered the same thing: black raspberry ice cream. She began the practice shortly after receiving her happy news, and continued it throughout gestation, although she did not expect the baby until March. Shivering in a parka, fighting the mitten lint that crept into the scoop — the lady persevered.
That lady is our founder’s mother, and to this day Dr. Bunting is attracted to all manner of black-raspberry-flavored sweets and sundries, regardless of how nauseating civilians may consider them. Ice cream, Slurpees, vodka, fruit leather — Dr. Bunting has sampled the black-raz iterations of them all, and although Haribo is responsible for many of the more terrifying candies she has encountered, she felt no apprehension in testing Haribo’s version.