I’m now World of Crap’s food correspondent, this wasn’t deliberate or planned but this will be my fourth post about some manner of grub and everyone knows if you do something three times it’s official and set in stone.
I’m going to be covering the cereals of my own personal youth, much in the style of every other post I’ve done, this is very much my own personal experience. Doubtless though, many will be the commenters who “can’t believe you missed out Sugar Frosted Chocolate Fucknuggets! Because they were the best and you’re a terrible human being for not having retrospectively eaten this during your childhood. The past is likewise unfortunately set in stone.
I will do further cereals in subsequent articles, and if I haven’t already tried a given cereal I will buy, eat and write about it just for you. I will likewise gain a stone.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we’re told this along with other advice like “don’t swim after eating” and “take your finger out of there and wash your hands this instant!”. ‘Break’ ‘fast’ you see? You’re no longer fasting so you’re breaking it. Because you’ve been asleep all night and not eating. That counts as a fast, well done!
(Editor’s note – only psychopaths put strawberries on their Corn Flakes.)
We begin with the daddy of all cereals and a name that is as synonymous with the food stuff as Mcvitie’s is to biscuits. I can refer to nothing less than Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. No other brand gets a look in as far as the one true Corn Flake goes. Golden perfection in a bowl perfected over millennia. Kellogg’s have seen empires rise and fall, civilisations come and go, but they endure through it all. Provided in a box larger than your wooden framed 80s TV arrived in, emblazoned with that iconic stylised cockerel. No morning in the 80s was complete without this monolithic bastion dominating the table, dwarfing the toast rack and the old glass milk bottle.
Providing a hearty crunch and a moreish, but not overly sweet, flavour. This so clearly set this apart as the perennial family favourite.
Not much more to be said really, they’re flagship – like Chesney Hawkes, they’re the one and only.
Advertised in the 90s with the slogan “Have you forgotten how good they taste?”. Perhaps sales were down, and they thought people just needed to be reminded? Other slogans considered included “Do you have cereal specific amnesia?”, “Have you repressed corn?” and “Can’t remember breakfast, you absent minded fucker?”
(Editor’s note – seriously, what is it with the fucking strawberries.)
I never really think about them being spelled with a K, but there it is. Toasted grains of rice that puff out to delicate, crunchy, little shells. Fill your bowl with the blighters, go on, they’re hollow, you need a good amount in there, tank it to the brim… now add milk: Oh whoops-a-bastard-daisy – half the contents of your bowl are now on the floor! Best get down there and mouth vacuum them up. No meal of Rice Krispies is complete without shaming yourself on your knees fellating the lino.
On the box we have the iconic Snap, Crackle and Pop, onomatopoeic anthropomorphic personified pixies. It was always vaguely understood that they had different jobs and just came together to appear on the box. Maybe they all lived in the same house, had breakfast together and then went off to their day jobs? Snap was apparently a chef – makes sense, this is food, someone has to prepare it. Crackle was wearing a sleeping cap, fine, he’s just woken up so he’s having breakfast… though that might make his job “bed tester” or “benefits git”. Pop is a drum major from a band. They’re a bit of an eclectic mix when you think about it.
Snap: I made breakfast.
Crackle: I’m not paying for it, I’m skint can I borrow a fiver for tabs?
Pop: *Spins his massive band sceptre thing and smashes all the dishes*
Snap: I fucking hate you two!
In the late 80s they suddenly became superheroes, a unifying theme for the former noise munchkins. Now they had capes, could fly and make food appear out of thin air. These God-like beings answered such pressing world issues as some daft woman who sat down to a breakfast of nothing. She’d forgotten to buy Rice Krispies (cereal specific amnesia?). They could have solved world hunger, but were content to make a single materialisation to a weird blonde woman.
I say they became God-like beings, buy I’m only 66% accurate – Pop became a blundering idiot. He could fly, but only while screaming and clearly out of control. Imagine living in this world for a moment, these sharp nosed fae zoom around the sky delivering cereal to the chronically stupid and there’s one of them howling like a moron and crashing into buildings and traffic.
Why even bring him along? They have to physically drag him home! They could have just become a double act, called themselves Snap and Crackle and had done with it. It does sound a bit too much like Slap and Tickle and that would have required an entirely different costume again.
It wasn’t long before they were back to their weird old day jobs and fighting every morning. That’s probably what the sound is when you pour on the milk.
(Editor’s note – no strawberries thank fuck.)
“Oh Ricicles! Twice as nicicles as bicycles!”. That wasn’t a slogan, it was just what I used to say as a kid, because I was annoying and clearly wanted to state my preference for sugar over physical activity.
Let’s be fair – this cereal was just Rice Krispies with added sugar, that’s it. They stayed solid much longer too as the sugar crust deflected all moisture. Cavities Crunchies may have been a more accurate name.
They were sweeter than a bloody tuckshop and initially made no secret of their lack of nutritional value by having Henry’s Cat as the mascot, a character synonymous with idleness and being unrepentantly portly.
Perhaps wisely they elected to dump the licensing agreement with Bob Godfrey and came up with the iconic Captain Rik. A space hero! Fuck yes, look at him with his bulbous head and rocking costume. To any child growing up in the 80s, raised on Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers, this was clearly the cereal to have. It’s space cereal! It’s what astronauts must eat! Off camera Kirk is totally sitting down to a bowl of these while signing condolence cards for the families of guys who’ve just died on away missions. Buck is eating these out of Twiki’s bellend-shaped-helmet-bowl-for-a-head.
Captain Rik was also accompanied by a giant and a robot. They didn’t get talked about all that much, like Morph’s extended cast. They were there but very much background characters to the star so likewise they faded into obscurity. And there was also this:
A weird lenticular mask that flipped between being a space captain and a superhero or something. How did our congested little hearts contain such excitement?
So beloved was this cereal that when a friend and I were merrily skiving at primary school, we happened into the backroom of the hall and found the baking cupboard. Inside was a long out of date box of these saccharine delights. We merrily helped ourselves to stale handfuls of cereal throughout the fortnight that followed. I’m not entirely sure in retrospect just what the hell we were doing buggering about in the hall. Maybe it was some worthy experiment for science?
Time wore on for this cereal, and as they do, sales must have dipped. Popular, well selling, products don’t get arsed around and altered; only when a competitor is threatening profits do formulae start to get tinkered.
So it was that my beloved Ricicles got added marshmallows. My initial excitement knew no bounds! Surely this was would be the greatest thing ever? They’d taken perfection and raised it beyond the ken of mortal man! So I waited until shopping day, begged, pleaded, threw fit after tantrum, promised the Earth in subsequent good behaviour and a complete cessation of all complaint and subsequent demands.
And there they were, brand new design, traditional encrusted rice bubbles mixed with all new, dazzling moons, stars and planets. I’d had marshmallows before, straight from a packet, I knew what to expect, fluffy, chewing, gooey and beyond sweet. Immediately tore into the pack and retrieved one to enjoy in isolation.
What met teeth and tongue can only be described as a crunchy clod of powder. Like icing sugar that’s been left out to harden on the back of a wooden spoon. I learned the valuable lesson that these required milk to plump up and soften, but the die was cast. Even once thoroughly soaked these were like malformed little speed bumps on a favoured scenic road. Of the kind that ruin your enjoyment of the journey and make you want to take a different route home.
It could be said that they had gilded the lily, they did in fact gild the fuck out of the lily until it sank without trace. So you’ve lost your plant and your gold Kellogg’s, all the for the sake of some chalky marshmallows.
Subsequently returning to the classic recipe did little to tempt customers back, having to reduce the sugar drove the rest away. So they finally buried its poor, abused corpse and cancelled it completely. Fuckers.
(Editor’s note – that monkey’s checking for strawberries. Good job monkey.)
“I’ll have a big fuck off bowl of chocolate for breakfast every day Mum, thanks. And a note for PE. No honestly it’s fine, the term ‘obesity epidemic’ is years away.”
Another of Rice Krispies’ dressed up offspring, replete in a fine brown suit that “even turns the milk chocolatey”. Way to make a design fault into a selling point! Leave these in milk for longer than thirty seconds and the chocolate will wash off revealing the soggy, naked rice mulch beneath. Because you want that, you cocoa-whore, sloppy choccy action for you.
Famously represented by the imaginatively named Coco the Monkey, who despite any natural predilection toward a fruit based diet would “rather have a bowl of Coco Pops”. Obviously the mascot for anything is hardly going to be sitting there on the box above a giant bowl of the stuff and say “Actually I rather like sprouts.”
My main recollection of these was in the mid-nineties. The price had skyrocketed to over £2 per box. After taking time to recover, my father called the shop to confirm the price hadn’t been a mistake or some cruel prank. They were ever thereafter referred to as “£2.12p Coco Pops” and were served with equal parts milk and guilt.
Like Captain Rik, Coco also had a whole host of jungle animal friends, none of whom I can remember that well. Though I do feel that the hippos from Chambourcy (Hippo Pot A Mousse) may have been among them, and the crocodile from Peter Pan.
Like their sugar crusted cousin these went through a phase of pointless rebranding: Fucking Choco Krispies! As though Britain isn’t infamously overly attached to brand names and will humourlessly continue to refer to Marathons and Opal Fruits while cursing in general. “I’ll always call it Jif! See how passionate I am about it?! I’m foaming at the mouth! Because I’ve been gargling Jif!”
(Editor’s note – just fucking try it, strawberry people.)
Marketed as the cereal for highly active people who live in huge custom bungalows halfway up a mountain. This was the stuff they ate before going out to run up to the summit and back. In reality it’s what you eat if you decide you hate the roof of your mouth and want to generally sand it down to the capillaries. But such is the sublime hyper-sweet honey flavour that you’ll rapidly become accustomed to the sharp metallic tang of your own blood mixed in with it. Start is really a way for Kellogg’s to wean customers on to being vampires. They never did get round to marketing “End” cereal, but the prototype involved fully draining a person every morning for a week. Then you join the ranks of their undead cereal killers.
They’ve never had a mascot, other than perhaps a stop watch but that REALLY doesn’t count. It didn’t even have a face… well ,other than in the sense that watches all have faces. I suppose it had hands as well. Fair enough they had a mascot, but it was dull and unimaginative because they expended all of their energy running up and down mountains and burning off the calories their honeycomb shrapnel had just provided.
Meanwhile the less active among us were wondering two things: 1) Why is this box so bloody small? I’ve barely got three bowlfuls out of it, and 2) Why does my piss now smell of Start?
More is on the way! I haven’t missed stuff, I’m just tired. Not enough cereal.