The Great American Cereal Book: exclusive preview


37 Responses to “The Great American Cereal Book: exclusive preview”

  1. awjt says:

    I remember when I thought all the different colored little Trix/Applejax/LuckyCharms tasted different.

  2. Stefan Jones says:

    I have an unopened box of Millenios way back on the top shelf of my pantry.
    * * *
    I was very much a Cereal Culture kid.

    Many of the cartoons I watched as a tot were not only sponsored by cereal companies, but made to spec by them. “Linus the Lionhearted” was the most extreme. It had characters based on Post cereals. “Bullwinkle” and “Tennesee Tuxedo” were both churned out by the same Mexican animation outfit that worked pretty much exclusively for General Mills. (Yes, there were different creative teams behind them.)

    * * *
    Mark: Beanie & Cecil the cartoon, or the puppet show?

  3. MrsBug says:

    Mmmmmm, cereal. We used to love Lucky Charms and Sugar Corn Pops (remember when they actually advertised it as SUGAR Corn Pops!?). However, since we were relatively po’ folk growing up, we usually got the Malt-O Meal bagged versions or the Chex cereals.

    Also, for some reason, after I go running, I crave Lucky Charms or any kind of cereal. Mmmmm, cereal.

    Lucky Charms in my bowl
    Deceitful little wee elf
    Sugar buzz coming!

  4. Graysmith says:

    Looks nice. Reminds me of a little book called Krazy Kids’ Food (Taschen) that I got a few years back which is filled with these kind of retro graphics.

    • devophill says:

      I read this post to see if Dan Goodsell, whose collection Krazy Kids’ Food is largely based on, was involved in this book. He’s a really nice guy who I see at comic-con every year.

  5. Cap’n Crunch. I used to buy it at least once a year…and then spend the next week nursing the roof of my mouth which felt like it had been assaulted by industrial grade sand paper.

    • irksome says:

      Your problem is a lack of dedication, a common rookie mistake. The secret to eating Cap’n Crunch is, until you can build up scar-tissue, use the Crunches to crunch to Crunches.

      In other words, don’t bite down all the way. After a few weeks, you’re golden. And all amped up as well.

    • irksome says:

      Neal Stephenson has an excellent diversion on eating Cap’n Crunch in, I believe, Crytonomicon. He has the ideal working solution to the dreaded soggies; pour the milk into one spot near the edge of the bowl and spoon from that one spot. Since they mostly float, you eat the wet ones off the bottom and the dry ones fall into the milk to replace them. 

  6. Ambiguity says:

    It’s strange how all the packaging and ads look so retro… except for Quisp! Looks like something Mark would throw together.

    Who would have thought that Quisp represented ageless design?

    • penguinchris says:

       Mark has mentioned Quisp at least a couple of times previously on BB. On his recommendation, I bought some when I happened to see it in the clearance section at Target. I quite liked it (it’s basically the same as Cap’n Crunch but with a different shape) and I liked the package design too, which is the same as shown here. Definitely does not feel dated.

      The funny thing to me here is that this book’s cover design already feels dated to me. Very 2000′s. With so many examples of great retro design within the book, it’s a shame that they couldn’t spend the money to get a designer to do a cool retro design for the book cover.

  7. Gojulas says:

    I loved Freakies cereal, and had all the figures. We created houses for them to live in, with little papercraft furniture and tiny magazines for them to read.

  8. Christopher says:

    Last October I went to several different grocery stores in my area in search of Boo Berry, and if I couldn’t find it, I was going to go with either Franken Berry or Count Chocula–none of which I’d ever tried. When I was eight or nine my mother, who’d been giving me Sugar Smacks up to that point, read a book called Why Your Child is Hyperactive and took me off as much sugar as possible. I began to dread the big hunks of shredded wheat in my bowl each morning.

    As an adult, though, I’ve never gone back to sugary cereal, but planned to have one of the General Mills monsters as a Halloween treat to myself. Couldn’t find any of ‘em. It was very disappointing.

  9. Stefan Jones says:

    My mom was pretty anti-sweet-cereal. Not a total ban, but getting a box of Frosted Flakes or Sugar Pops was a rare treat.

    Before the current recession and rise in food prices, supermarkets would occasionally have these insane cereal sales. Buy ten boxes and some insane price, add coupons, double coupons, and you’d end up with some serious bargains.

    On a few occasions, I wouldn’t have enough coupons to cover ten boxes of “adult” cereal. So I’d use a coupon for kid stuff, and end up with two or three boxes of Cap N Crunch or Honey Bangers or whatever. YOW! When your’re not used to that stuff, it can be pretty brutal. It’s pretty much candy.

    The sales and coupons were pretty much geared toward moving the cheap sugary crap. These days, I buy store-brand “adult” cereals. Kroger Colon Blow Extreme Bran!

  10. IronEdithKidd says:

    Came for Fruit Brute, leaving disapointed. 


    I still miss you Fruit Brute.  :-(

  11. Pasketti says:

    Have you read Breakfast of the Gods?

    It’s a webcomic starring all (yes, ALL) of the old-time cereal mascots.

  12. urbanspaceman says:

    Notable spokescharacters: Kixie and Nixie (1950s); Pajama Boy (1964); Klyde the Beatnik (1965); Swerdloc, Gzorpe, Zilch, Colodny, and Booby (mid-1960s)

    Hey! They forgot the Schtickdooper! (This character liked Kix because they were fun to dynamite. Someone at the ad agency was definitely not stable!). And wasn’t that vocoder-processed voice announcing each character just too much?

  13. Evil Paul says:

    I’ve always been fascinated by American Sugary Cereals so this book looks great. One of the things I have planned to do if I visit the USA is to head straight to the nearest supermarket and marvel at the cereal aisle. It’s amazing how many brands I am familiar with from consuming Amercican media for the last 3 decades or so.

    I wonder if (since this book claims to be a ‘definitive compendium’) it mentions the sublime passage in Cryptonomicon about optimal consumption of Cap’n Crunch®?

    • Stefan Jones says:

      Sounds like the makings of an episode of CSI, or House:

      Naked man found swimming in fountain, screaming cosmic obscenities; His skin is  a strange green color, his pupils dilated, and multi-colored foam coming out of his mouth.

      Police finally identify him as a foreign tourist. In his hotel room are 37 boxes of sweetened cereal, all opened, and a well-worn bowl and spoon. In the room’s mini-fridge, a gallon of whole milk.

  14. jphilipp says:

    At Cover Browser I also assembled several hundred cereal box covers from the web (in addition to the 400,000 books/ magazines/ comics/ etc. covers):

  15. irksome says:

    I always combined Kix with Cheerios ‘cuz one sits in the other.

    The solution to a perfect breakfast 

  16. ferd says:

    Apple Jacks, my favorite!  Named after cheap hooch. Puffa Puffa Rice, Alpha Bits and Crispy Critters.  Most days; Quaker Oats, eggs or Cream of Wheat.
    Then there’s Cap’n Crunch Ice Cream bars – Strawberry and Chocolate, 5¢. Better and cheaper than a Push-Up for 10¢.

  17. James Ramsay says:

    “Today, I wouldn’t dare put a spoonful of these corn-flavored sugar nuggets in my mouth (I don’t buy sweetened cereal for my kids, either).”

    Why ever not? I’m actually waiting for my sister to visit Berlin in 10 days, with a box of Capt’n Crunch concealed in her luggage. It’s time my German daughter learned what real breakfast cereal is like. muesli be damned!

  18. lecti says:

    Now with more prion!

  19. jhhl says:

    Contemporaneous with the Boing Boing zine was the excellent FLAKE zine, not only about cereal packaging, cardboard flexidisks on the back of cereal packages and how they came up with dehydrated marshmallows, but also this fine tip on discovering old cereal boxes in good condition: go to estate sales of people who had grandkids in the 60s: there may be still a half-used box of vintage cereal in the pantry!

  20. teapot says:

    Mark: Do you expect you daughter to grow up with fond memories of waking up early and eating Granola? A little tooth rot didn’t hurt you, did it?

    She also isn’t going to be making up a miracle flow over a cereal bowl and a poor beat from the stereo. This song reminds me so much of childhood:

    Saturday morning, cartoons and sickening amounts of processed sugar. Yum!

  21. The Freakies were the best all around.  I couldn’t wait for Mom to get the next box, and I played with those toys more than anything else I had.  And I loved the cereal as well!
    Supposedly there was a movement to bring them back some time ago, but I don’t think anything came from it.

  22. purple-stater says:

    “Today, I wouldn’t dare put a spoonful of these corn-flavored sugar nuggets in my mouth (I don’t buy sweetened cereal for my kids, either).”

    Never quite understood this philosophy.  When you compare the nutrition labels about the only difference between “kid” and “adult” cereals is the fiber content.  Sweetened or not, the carbohydrate contents are pretty close to equal.

    I never got much sweetened cereal as a kid, simply because they were more expensive.

  23. I was not allowed to eat sugary cereals on school mornings. Fair game over the summer and on weekends though.

    The only exception was Cocoa-Puffs, because my mother loved them.

    I still eat cereal as an adult. I have Trix, Cap’n Crunch, and Life in my pantry right now.

  24. OriGuy says:

    Already out of date. I just finished a box of Dulce de Leche Cheerios. Too sweet to have a bowlful in milk, but fine dry in small amounts.

  25. Palomino says:

    “Contents May Have Settled”, Is the book half empty too? 

  26. TheMudshark says:

    Wow, that Corn Kix box is amazing!

  27. Quisp, Freakies, and Pink Panther Flakes – the morning foodstuffs of childhood.

  28. DreamboatSkanky says:

    I finally weaned myself off of these cereals.  I’m scared to get this book, but I want it so, so badly!

    There was, in my callow youth, a cereal box prize called “Space Fringes”.  I think the cereal was called that, too, though I can’t be certain; it may have been a prize in another cereal.  The Space Fringes all had names that rhymed with “fringe”, e.g., a more-or-less grasshopper looking fellow was called “Hoppinge”.  Collect them all!

    They were little plastic monsters rather like Freakies.  In fact, I believe I had set up in my mind some imaginary animosity between the Space Fringes and Freakies, something on the order of the war imagined between G.I. Joe and Action Jackson.

    They must have been obliterated in the conflict, as I can find no evidence of this lost cereal or prize.

    Anyone else?

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