If you’re between 3 and, say…16, chances are that your breakfast is comprised of a bowl of cereal. If you’re older than 16 and struggling to pay your bills (or you’re a college student living on meager means,) then there’s also a solid chance that your breakfast is comprised of a bowl of cereal. Chances are, your lunch and dinner are comprised of a bowl of cereal, too.
Although we are all grown men and women, it didn’t take us very long to come up with a list of our favorites. Some are cherished loves from our childhood. Some are still around today, and we’ve passed our love of them on to our children. None of them is particularly good for you. Nope, you won’t find Wheaties, Oat Bran or Chex here. Hell, reading this list might cause your blood sugar to go up 50 points.
10. Cocoa Pebbles: If you were to go back in time to the early Eighties, and focus in on a particular house in Brooklyn where a young Big Money (we can call him Little Money) was raised, you would have found that there were only two things in the world that could’ve made him happy: music and Cocoa Pebbles. Actually, that would have been the same in the late Eighties, or the early Nineties.
Man, I could’ve cared less about Fred & Barney (although if I was Mr. Flintstone, I would have put a prehistoric foot in Barney’s ass for constantly stealing my Pebbles). I wanted that damn chocolate!! Pour in about one part milk to two parts cereal to maintain that crunch, and this rice ‘n sugar ‘n cocoa concoction hit the spot every time. I could’ve had it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a midnight snack! Come to think of it, during those late nights when I was either cramming for a science exam or catching the end of Arsenio, nothing hit the spot more than my personal favorite cereal of all-time. Even guzzling down the cocoa powder-enhanced milk was better than just about any morning meal you could dream up.-Big Money
9. Rice Krispies: Take a look at all the other cereals on this list. What do they all have in common? They’re all basically sugar-coated sugar except for Rice Krispies. So how did these basically bland bits of puffed rice make the list?
First, not only does it have the iconic characters of Snap, Crackle and Pop, but Rice Krispies actually make those sounds. Millions of children grew up with their parents telling them to be quiet so that they could hear the cereal talk (which was a simple ruse to get the kiddies to be quiet so that mom and dad could work off last night’s bender).
But most importantly, without Rice Krispies the world would be deprived of the greatest gooey, chewy, sugary snack known to man – Rice Krispie Treats. Kids and adults alike love the simple mixture of Rice Krispies, melted butter and melted marshmallows. If you’re too lazy to mix them up yourself, you can find them at Starbucks. That’s how beloved and ubiquitous they are. So here’s a lifted spoon to the humble Rice Krispie, my pick for best breakfast cereal.-Dennis
8. Boo Berry: Count Chocula gets all of the glory. In most markets, you can pick up a box of chocolatey-marshmallowy goodness year-round. Although they once had similar exposure, the Count’s compadres generally only make appearances on store shelves in the lead-up to Halloween. Maybe that limited availability makes them better in my head, but I’m a sucker for both. Boo Berry was the third to join General Mills’ monster cereal triptych, though later years would see brief appearances by Fruite Brute and Fruity Yummy Mummy (both now defunct). With its ghostly-shaped mallow and cereal bits, Boo Berry is allegedly the first blueberry flavored cereal, albeit likely without any natural blueberry flavoring (yet somehow “part of this nutritious breakfast”). Fall will be here before you know it, kids – be sure to stock up.-Dr. Gonzo
7. Count Chocula: You think of cereals with marshmallows, and the first one that comes to mind is Lucky Charms. Always. It is the marshmallowed cereal, the one by which all other marshmallowed cereals are judged. And yet…
If you eat enough Lucky Charms, you stop appreciating it (editor’s note: strongly disagree.) The marshmallows, they never stop being awesome, but the other things, the oaty bits, well, you may as well be eating Cheerios. Everyone who has eaten their fair share of Lucky Charms knows the pain of seeing a pile of oats and no marshmallows halfway through breakfast. The joy is gone. The motivation is gone. You may as well have had a bowl of enriched bran flakes.
You don’t have this problem with Count Chocula. Everything that is not a marshmallow is still chocolate. There are still a ton of marshmallows. The white marshmallows turn into delicious marshmallow sludge bits after a minute or two in milk, with the consistency of an oil slick but the taste of the inside of a twinkie. Best of all, there are no illusions when you’re eating a bowl of Count Chocula. There is no presumption of health, no so-called “fruit” to be found as there is in the other “monster” cereals (Boo Berry’s blueberry and Franken Berry’s, uh, “berry”).
There is no reason to eat Count Chocula other than to shove as much sugar in your system as humanly possible before your schoolteachers can get a hold of you and suck that oh-so-brief burst of energy out of you. From first crunchy bite to last sip of slightly mealy chocolate milk, it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do.
It’s awesome.-Mike S.
6. Fruity Pebbles: I still remember the day some 30 years ago when my fascin-obsession with Fruity Pebbles began (this is either going to be really, really good or really pretty sad). I recall my father climbing the stairs to the front door of our Dorchester walk-up after a hard days work… carrying a large brown box. He walked in, set the box down on the kitchen floor, and I proceeded to maniacally tear into the corrugated capsule. What happened next would later become Quentin Tarentino’s inspiration for the briefcase scene in Pulp Fiction: the glorious, beautiful sight of a case, not a box, a case of Fruity Pebbles cereal. In the perfect example of right place at the right time, my pops scooped the case that “fell off a train” and brought its contents to his thankful home. Since that day a bond was formed, a boy and his pebbles….his Fruity Pebbles.
Fast forward 30 years. The world and it’s ways are different. The Jetsons and Flintstones have gone the way of the dinosaur, left behind for newer, better looking action filled fare….but the Pebbles, the Pebbles have remained. My dramatization is intentional, I’m not THAT crazy, but you have to admit, you know a product is great when it out lives the relevance of its inspiration by 25-30 years….and counting. Don’t believe me? Seen any Mr. T cereal on your local supermarket shelves? Didn’t think so. But the Pebbles, those delicious Fruity Pebbles continue to delight mouths and tummies of young and old well into the future. While that prehistoric family, The Flintstones may live on only in reruns and the hearts of 30 somethings and older, that little fruity spitfire Pebbles is still doing her thing, even though kids have no idea who she is or where she’s from. Yabba Dabba Do!-Chuck
5. Frosted Flakes: Frosted Flakes have ALWAYS been my favorite cereal. I’ll admit, as a child, I picked them for dubious reasons-my mom never let me have sugary cereal, but Frosted Flakes was the one I could get away with having, since they were technically corn flakes. But, oh! The thin layer of sugar which coats them made all the difference between a bowl of tasteless corn flakes and a bowl of deliciousness. And then, of course, the sugar falls off the flakes and into the milk and even milk (which I’ve hated the taste of for most of my life) suddenly becomes sweet and delicious. Also, Frosted Flakes are one of those rare cereals that you can actually enjoy dry- I’ve been known to walk around the kitchen, eating a handful of dry flakes. Hmm, I’m suddenly in the mood for a midnight snack…-Brittany
4. Cap’n Crunch: It seems you can’t sell a cereal these days without some sort of cartoon mascot. Frosted Flakes have Tony the Tiger. Fruity Pebbles have Fred and Barney. Even Honey Nut Cheerios has that bee thing. Were it not for the obsession with cartoon cereal characters, I doubt Cap’n Crunch would have come to be, so thank God for advertisers! Throughout it’s almost 50 year existence, the cereal has had over a dozen variations, but the only three that matter are Original, Crunch Berries, and Peanut Butter. All share the same sugary, vaguely treasure box shaped oat bunches in common, but add their own twists for fun. Crunch Berries adds fruit flavored sugar oat balls (contrary to a 2009 lawsuit claiming Crunch Berries were real fruit), while Peanut Butter just douses the whole box in peanut buttery goodness. Shiver me timber! Sure, in 2009 a team at Yale named the cereal the worst marketed to children from a nutrition standpoint. Sure, it’s basically like eating a sea of sugar milk. Sure, the giant jagged pieces make your mouth hurt after a while. But dammit, it’s delicious and will forever be a part of my childhood. You and the Cap’n do indeed make it happen (even if “it” may refer to childhood obesity).-Stephen
3. Cinnamon Toast Crunch: Sometimes, it’s the simple things. General Mills’ rapturous Cinnamon Toast Crunch is largely devoid of catchy mascots and gimmicky additives like colorful marshmallows and sugar-rush candy bits; no, Cinnamon Toast Crunch requires none of these things. Its appeal resides squarely in the postage-stamp-sized morsels offered in the title, cinnamon-coated squares of crisp, addictive flavor. With or without milk, these bites are like cuddling with a unicorn on a cloud made of happy feelings.-Drew
2. Cookie Crisp: It’s the simplest, most ingeniously clever idea for a children’s food in the history of food itself. What do kids love more than anything? Cookies. So how do you make the perfect kids’ cereal? Why, you take cookies and put them in a bowl. End of story. Sure, they had the obligatory goofy mascot and cartoon commercials, but it didn’t matter. They could have just put “COOKIE CEREAL” in generic black type on a plain white box and it would have sold just as well.
I mean, really. Cookie cereal. I hope the guy who thought of it won some awards. And that he lives in a gigantic mansion. Made out of cookies.-Jeff
1. Lucky Charms: It’s all about the marshmallows, baby.
Clovers, diamonds, stars…purple, pink, green, orange…I didn’t care about the color nor did I give a damn about the design. I chomped up those fake-ass marshmallows the same way Pac-Man gobbled down those green dots. Coated with enough sugar to send you into diabetic shock just by sniffing them, such was the power of Lucky Charms.
OK, I’m not gonna lie, the commercials with the leprechaun were kinda cool, but also pretty damn corny. And the non-marshmallow portion of the cereal kinda tasted like cardboard. But damn if it wasn’t the best tasting cardboard you’d ever had before in your life. Saturday mornings-any morning, for that matter-was instantaneously made better with a bowl of cold milk and Frosted Lucky Charms.
Magically delicious? HELL. YES.