TOP 20 BREAKFAST CEREALS OF ALL TIME
It’s time to make things official. I’ve waited long enough and now the truth must come out. The world must know what the TOP 20 BREAKFAST CEREALS OF ALL TIME are. Before I begin this very important list, I must say that there are several factors that weigh into such a demanding collection of delightful breakfast options. Taste, of course. Color and Appearance (which might include shape and size. I would also include the “feel” of the cereal…enlarged to show texture, of course.) Gimmick and appeal. (A must from a child’s perspective. I would lump prize potential in this category as well.) And finally, nostalgia. This might be considered a controversial category. But look at it from a big picture perspective…we’ve all had cereal. We’ve all had that experience rounding the corner of the cereal aisle and scanning the colorful boxes hoping to lock gazes with Fred Flintstone or dodge the gaze of one of many novelty movie cereal characters. (I mean, c’mon…who really wants to eat Jack Sparrow cereal?)
While I may get some slack from this first entry…because of it’s position on the list, most likely. But while tasty, it has one big thing going against it: it’s size. If there was a way to shrink the size of those “combs” and still maintain the airy, fluffiness without making it any more crunchy…then Honeycomb would be shooting up the list. Until then, this BEAST of a cereal will have to remain at the bottom of my “bowl.” TASTE: 5, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 5, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 20
19.) PEANUT BUTTER CRUNCH
Cap’n Crunch has two cereals that are the cat’s meow. This particular one remains the PREMIERE peanut butter cereal of all time. It’s lovely. There was a period there that I was at war with Peanut Butter Crunch. I’m convinced they changed the recipe or something…because it often left my teeth feeling fuzzy after eating a heaping bowlful. (Pineapple still does that to me. Don’t know why.) But the last time I had some, it was yummy…my teeth didn’t feel a bit fuzzy and I was reminded on the peanut buttery yummy-ness in every spoonful….(SHEESH! I’m starting to sound like a commercial!) TASTE: 6, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 4, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 20
18.) GOLDEN GRAHAMS
I kinda have a love/hate relationship with Golden Grahams. They remind me of that friend that always hangs around your clique of peeps, even though no one really wants them around. They’re fine…good for a laugh every now and then. Golden Grahams is a good, crunchy, tasty cereal for those who like things sweet…but not too sweet. The raw-ness of the very “grahammy” offering is a nice touch to breakfast for coffee drinkers, and offsets a piece of fruit or yogurt nicely. My beef about this cereal is it’s inability to withstand milk penetration. The stuff gets sloppy very quick. Pour on the milk and get munching! TASTE: 6, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 4, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 20
17.) WHEAT CHEX
I feel somewhat obligated to include a member of the Chex family on this list. While you won’t find me sitting down to a hearty bowl of Chex for breakfast anytime soon (without a heaping spoonful of sugar…or strawberries…or a dump truck…or something on top!) I would like to say that Chex has its place in the cereal Hall of Fame, if only for…..Chex Mix. Chex Mix is by far one of my favorite snacks…and without the Chex…you only got da mix. (Which is basically like the equivalent of salty trail mix.) If you’re going to make Chex Mix…use Wheat Chex. It’s stronger and soaks up the butter in the homemade mix the best. Even blind people will find a box easily. It’s the compact little box located on the top shelf that weights 14 pounds. TASTE: 5, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 5, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 7 TOTAL: 21
16.) FRUIT LOOPS
Toucan Sam. What a marketing jackpot, am I right? I mean…think about it…a stinkin’ toucan with a colorful snout who likes little fruit rings! I mean the parallels are striking! (…..ahem…..) Let’s say we take away all of the color in the cereal. No more loops…and we put the toucan to sleep. You’d STILL have a darn tasty cereal. It’s on taste alone I throw this cereal a bone. It’s yummy. It’s like Fruity Pebbles on steroids. I could do without the mascot….and his colorful schnozz. TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 4, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 4 TOTAL: 21
15.) CO CO WHEATS
I’m not even sure that you can find these anymore. If they don’t make CoCo Wheats anymore, then the world has suffered a great loss. How many of you have found yourself with a crazy bad sore throat…or bed-ridden with illness, hacking up lungs and withering away…slowly drudging to the pantry for something…anything…to bring some sort of food into your system and an inkling of energy. I’m sure at some point you’ve eaten oatmeal thinking you’ve found Excalibur. Perhaps even a tidy bowl of Cream of Wheat. That’s awfully nice, isn’t it? But what if…when you shuffled your lazy, broken, withering body to the pantry you crack open the door to find that comfort food you so desire…JAM PACKED WITH RICH CHOCOLATY NUMMINESS! CoCo Wheats is so bloody good…. If it no longer exists….IF…..then I have lost a long time friend. (Sing along: “CoCo Wheats, CoCo Wheats, Can’t be beat! It’s the creamy warm cereal with the CoCo Treat!”) TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 3, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 2, NOSTALGIA: 8 TOTAL: 22
14.) CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH
This is the cool, stylish, Liberal Arts Major, half-cousin to Golden Grahams. Cinnamon Toast Crunch has no problem telling it like it is. “Yeah I wear cinnamon and sugar all over! You got a problem wit dat?” Despite it’s inability to hold its own in a bowl full of milk (after about 1 minute….soggyville) it remains a tasty, light cereal. Plus it has a fun, chubby, old Chef as the mascot. Good times. Have any of you wondered where the original other TWO Chefs went? There was originally three. Now only one. They kept the chubby one. My theory….he ATE the other two….in a bowl of 2% milk! Part of this complete breakfast! TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 5, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 22
I’m not sure why I like TRIX so much. Even when I go shopping and I pick up a box, I look at it in the cart there and think to myself…”well…it’s the lesser of all evils this particular trip.” (It sinks in around the paper towel aisle.) It’s good and fruity…and I suppose that if ANY cereal could be considered “refreshing,” Trix would probably be it. I always thought the Rabbit was a little TOO goofy. I mean…he’s basically a blob of white bouncing around like a freakin’ Oompa Loomp in the Mike TV scene of Willy Wonka. “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.” And in every commercial the rabbit is like three times as big as those kids. “Are you going to take that from them, Rabbit? You go back there and you take that cereal back from them right now! You hear me!?” TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 6, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 4 TOTAL: 23
This is the lovechild of a crusty honey bear’s pour spout and a fleck of a rice cake. And yet…it’s delicious. Smacks (also referred to as Honey Smacks by Californians and the whole of Western Europe) is a light, flavor-filled cereal that sticks to your ribs (like my Grandma would say.) But, like nearly every cereal, it does indeed have a flaw. (And this is the honest truth.) After you’ve opened the box and let it sit in your pantry for about week…when you crack the box for a dainty bowl of breakfast….you’ll smell a musky, cat-like funk. That’s right! SMACKS smells like musky funk after about a week! Truth! Total truth! Oddly enough, it doesn’t change the taste of the cereal at all. Still yummy. But the smell…not so nice. (Makes diggin’ for the toy a variable dip into the bog of eternal stench!) And the frog (Dig’em, by name)….yeah, he’s totally laughing at your turned-up nose! TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 6, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 23
11.) FRUITY PEBBLES
Ah, yes. The Chicklets of Cereals. The aquarium rocks of Cereals. Don’t inhale with excitement too quickly, you may ingest the first spoonful via nasal cavity! It’s simply a silly, gimmicky…yummy cereal. There is absolutely no substance to this stuff. It’s like someone was sitting around in an office somewhere and was like “I have an idea…let’s make some edible confetti and put it in a box guarded by two cavemen!” This stuff can’t hold a match to milk…and will turn into the gloppiest bowl of mash you’ve ever seen after a few minutes…but it’s cheap…fun…and good. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 8, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 6, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 27
10.) FROSTED MINI WHEATS
Let’s get serious now. We’re turning the corner and looking at the official top ten. I mean business. Frosted Mini Wheats is the kids cereal for old farts. It’s like the corporate party breakfast cereal. Anything with the word “wheat” in it makes me pause before purchasing. I’m not sure why…but you see, they’re slick. They slather the other side with a ton of sugar. Ummmmm. And don’t you DARE tell me you aren’t one of those people that eats the Mini Wheats with a ton of sugar…and leaves the ones with only a little sugar on them. You KNOW you do! I’m convinced there is a disgruntled factory worker in sector 8 at the Mini Wheat factory who is gettin’ lazy with the frosting machine…and taking his/her angst out on poor, helpless, frosting-lovers across America. Touche, my factory working nemesis….touche. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 8, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 7, NOSTALGIA: 4 TOTAL: 27
9.) FROSTED FLAKES
Okay…so the flakes got the leg up on the wheats. It’s was a tough race…but Tony the Tiger in all his gruff, ruff masculinity (and dainty neck scarf) came out on top, folks. Frosted Flakes are for people who want to feel like their eating healthy, but can;t stand to retire to Bran-ville. It makes you feel healthy because you never have to succumb and meekly withdraw to the sugar canister (which we all know is the kiss of death for any cereal connoisseur.) I’m still waiting for the day when there is an actual cereal varnish that withstands the power of manipulative moo juice. The day will come, my cereal-loving friends. Until then, we’ll continue to salute the Flake….and then gobble it up very rapidly. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 7, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 6 TOTAL: 28
Cheerios are good. Yeah. So tasty…and, uh….healthy. (*smiles*) I CAN’T DO IT! “You have to include it, I said.” I tried to be good. I tried to play fair. But, I’m sorry….I can’t. Cheerios just stink…..they STINK. Nobody…and I mean nobody sits around the house going, “hmmm, I could sure go for a bowl of cheerios.” Cheerios are a staple of the breakfast world and there is no indication of them dying away anytime soon. AND WHY? I’m serious…I’m asking. I think we’ll all agree that cereal should remain filled with sugar….completely frosted or accompanied by chocolate and marshmallows. Cheerios doesn’t even TRY to win you over with toys inside. I probably wouldn’t even buy a box of it said “FREE iPOD inside.” A week later as you bop to UB40 on your way out the door in the morning….you’ll have to face that box in the cupboard. It’ll stare at you. Awkward moments in the kitchen do NOT start your days off right, my friend. Do yourself a favor….keep Cheerios where they belong. In psych wards where patients us them to make neat little Christmas strings with popcorn and ear wax. TASTE: ….stinks…, COLOR/APPEARANCE:…stupid, stinky…., GIMMICK/APPEAL:….Ha! Appeal! Funny. Let me think….ah, stinky! , NOSTALGIA: Stinky McStinkster. TOTAL: Goose egg.
7.) COOKIE CRISP
I’m sorry…..that Cheerios thing upset me. Where were we? Cookie Crisp! Now you’re talkin’! Cookie Crisp is the funniest thing ever. Talk about an ultimate junk food. If I had a junk food top twenty…you’d better believe Chocolate Chip Cookies would be in my top five. I love it! I mean…they actually MADE A CEREAL consisting of NOTHING BUT Chocolate Chip Cookies! Genius! Pure genius. On top of that, (as if that wasn’t enough) the marketing department put the cereal in the tiniest box they could find. THEN…on top of that….it’s costs like $5.00 a box. The stuff flies off the shelves! Corporate executives from the Cookie Crip wing….you drive your Mercedes Benz with the top down. All hail. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 7, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 8 TOTAL: 31
6.) Honey Bunches of Oats
I’m not young. I used to be. I remember when I was. I sometime still think I’m young. But my body gently reminds me that I shouldn’t think that way anymore. (Like the time I ate four Pop Tarts in one sitting and nearly went blind.) This is why I have Honey Bunches of Oats in the Top Ten. This is a “healthy” cereal that actually tastes good. (Of course they had to counter the effort by making a spin-off cereal called “Just Bunches.” It’s like 23,500 calories per bowl.) Anything with flakes accompanied by freeze-dried fruit or barley and hay….just don’t eat it. You’ve got to live a little! If you’re going to splurge…let it be in your choice of cereal. If your conscience won’t let you…get Honey Bunches of Oats. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 8, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 8 TOTAL: 32
I suppose if the whole Honey Bunches of Oats, “I’m getting old” thing didn’t convince you…the Grapenuts confessional will. Okay…I admit. I love-a-da Grapenuts. I grew up with Grapenuts! Grandma liked Grapenuts and I like Grandma! They’re good in yogurt and yummy with a bit of sugar and warmed up in the microwave. And if you spill a bowl of ’em…clean up the mess with a paper towel…then LEAVE the paper towel to dry over night…then sha-bang! You’ve got yourself a nice, new scouring pad! In all seriousness…don’t leave your Grapenuts bowl in the sink. Be a good boy/girl…wash it out. My college years were spent making money with several odd job so that I could consistently replace my dinnerware. TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 7, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 9 TOTAL: 33
Who would have thought an apple flavored cereal would be in my top five? Actually, have you ever really thought about Applejacks? You don’t really THINK about apples when you’re eating them, do you? I enjoy them very much because they don’t leave me feeling like I just ate a bowl of mortar ten minutes later. This mainstream mega-cereal is certainly a great way to start the day. It’s interesting…they don’t even have a mascot or spokesperson! But, what….are they going to have a talking apple or something!? TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 9, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 9 TOTAL: 35
3.) COCO PUFFS
Have you ever heard of the children’s book entitled “Everybody Poops?” It’s out there and very popular. It a rather crude but poignant book that delivers a rather interesting message: we’re all human. Well, you know….everyone is “cuckoo for Coco Puffs!” Everyone! George W. Bush has eaten Coco Puffs. Oscar Goodman, Al Pacino, John Travolta, Richard Simmons, Bea Arthur….Pope Benedick. They’ve all been cuckoo for Coco Puffs! It’s a cornerstone cereal. You think chocolate at breakfast time? You’re thinking of Coco Puffs. Talk about the right kind of marketing too. You’ve got an A.D.D. bird who hasn’t had his morning sugar bursting through walls, haunting children and robbing them of their cereal. It’s a sitcom waiting to happen! TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 9, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 9 TOTAL: 35
2.) CAP’N CRUNCH
Studio executives, if you’ve ever thought about making a live action film about a cereal mascot….Cap’n Crunch is your man. What a stud. He’s like the ultimate cereal heavyweight. And he’s not a brute either. He’s…well….jolly! But in a cage match…he could take Dig’Em, Cuckoo Bird, Toucan Sam and that silly Rabbit with his eyes closed! Cap’n Crunch cereal is just a darn good way to start the day. It’s hearty, crunchy and yummy. I love it so much that I’ve crushed the cereal and breaded chicken with it! It’s in a class by itself, because it’s not really candy…it’s not chocolate…it’s not marshmallow…it’s not honey….what the heck is it? Nobody knows…and nobody cares. Cap’n Crunch will live for all time. I’ll be dead and buried and Cap’n Crunch will live on. TASTE: 10, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 9, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 10, NOSTALGIA: 10 TOTAL: 39
1.) LUCKY CHARMS
I have to reserve the top slot for the naughtiest, no-holds-barred cereal of all time. Lucky Charms is just the universal kids cereal. A multitude of marshmallows! The originals were gold stars, green clovers, purple…ah, unicorns..and blue asteroids…and, whatever! It’s yummy…and probably my GREATEST comfort food. They don’t even apologize for their cereal. They know it’s bad. Even the healthy part of the cereal is covered with a film of sugar. I bet you the box is even edible. Lucky Charms in my book…while maybe not the “BEST” by health standards….not the best by adult vs. children standards….I argue it is the ONLY cereal on this list that everyone has tried at some point, and the majority have walked away liking. Do you eat it every morning? Heck, no. That would be like eating candy bars for breakfast…and that’s just stupid. TASTE: 10, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 10, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 10, NOSTALGIA: 10 TOTAL:40
REAL QUICK….here’s a break down of some cereals that didn’t make the list. Some of them just missed the top twenty…some of them are THE DEVIL!
- LIFE – I don’t get LIFE. It’s like Chex and Golden Grahams were put in an isolation chamber in some bizarre far away universe…and the collision generated a massive explosion. When the dust settled…there was LIFE cereal. Yeah! We’re a…..we’re just as excited. …………I’m not excited. That’s called sarcasm.
- RAISIN BRAN – I tried in vain to get a raisin cereal on the top twenty list, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’d be lying to myself. The fact remains…after a few days, upon opening the box, every raisin inside turns to stone. I can’t get past that.
- WAFFLE CRISP – Whoever invented this cereal has an unhealthy relationship to maple flavoring. Perhaps this is an unfair account…but c’mon. You want waffles? Get an iron.
- WHEATIES – Who’s kidding who here? Wheaties is not something athletes eat everyday. It doesn’t make you stronger…give you more energy…blah, blah, blah. It’s all a gimmick. If it were all true, why don’t you just pour some Gatorade on top and fly away, Superman? On top of that…it doesn’t even taste that good.
- ALPHA BITS – Anyone else think Alpha Bits are SOOOO overrated? They taste terrible and the big gimmick is that you can spell stuff out in your cereal bowl. This cereal was developed by a teacher, I can feel it!
- MR. T CEREAL – Okay, so this doesn’t exist anymore. But, back, a long time ago, when it did…it was the yuckiest stuff I’ve ever tasted, ever. So gross. I pity the fool who eats this cereal.
- QUISP – Another cereal that incredibly hard to find. My brother-in-law went on and on about how much he loved this cereal. When we happened upon it in some weird grocery store in Chicago, we bought like five boxes of it…………….It tastes like feet. FEET.
- BOO BERRY – I’m going to lump the Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry Cereals all together and say that they just aren’t that good. But, Boo Berry….oh my gosh. How can I put this? There are three things in my lifetime that have made me instantly sick to my stomach: the time I ate an entire strawberry/rhubarb pie….venison jerky….and Boo Berry cereal. Just thinking about it make me queasy.
Hope you enjoyed my list! I’d love to hear your comments about your FAVORITE and LEAST FAVORITE cereals!
This entry was posted on October 1, 2008 at 12:13 am and is filed under MY "TOP" LISTS with tags Applejacks, best, Best of, breakfast, Cap'n Crunch, cereal, Cheerios, Coco Puffs, Cookie Crips, Cookie Crisp, eatng, hall of fame, Lucky Charms, morning, top 20. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.