Froot Loops

Our hotel in Austin had a great breakfast bar that included an omelet-to-order option, freshly baked biscuits, and lots of other tasty breakfast options—including two gigantic containers of Froot Loops. The cereal must be popular in Texas, because two of the three dry cereal options were Froot Loops. The other was Raisin Bran.

I successfully resisted the temptation to chow down on a bowl of Froot Loops, but it was a challenge, because one of my childhood memories involves that cereal. In the early’60s Grandma and Grandpa Neal took UJ and me on a trip to Battle Creek, Michigan, where we took a tour of the Kellogg’s cereal factory. At the end of the tour Kellogg’s served every visitor with a little dish of vanilla ice cream topped with Froot Loops, which had just been introduced. I liked my Froot Loops sundae very much and asked Mom to buy the cereal when we got home—which I’m sure is what Kellogg’s was hoping for. (I liked Toucan Sam, too.)

Froot Loops remains a favorite cereal to this day, although my metabolism doesn’t permit me to eat it anymore.

Cereal Dreams

Last night I had one of those vivid dreams where every element and action seems to be etched in exceptional clarity.  It was so realistic that I woke up feeling guilty and shaken about my dreamland activities.

In1422355043742-1776787770 the dream, I was eating a gigantic, heaping bowl of Froot Loops.  I was relishing each sweet, crunchy mouthful of the multicolored morsels, but was wracked with regret at the same time.  I recognized with horror that, on a low-carb diet, a colossal serving of Froot Loops and milk was absolutely verboten.  And yet, confronted with a bowlful of diet-destroying deliciousness, my dream self could not resist temptation and dug in anyway.

So, I’ve  reached the point where my anxiety dreams no longer are about the young me being chased by monsters, or the teenage me being exposed to terrible humiliation, or the young adult me forgetting about a crucial law school test until the very day of the exam.  Now my subconscious has exposed a new vein of concerns that, having lost some weight, I’ll promptly backslide and end up right back where I started.

It’s kind of pathetic that Froot Loops would be my forbidden fruit, but I think my subconscious got this one right.  Ever since my grandparents took UJ and me to Battle Creek, Michigan for a tour of the Kellogg’s factory that ended with a Froot Loops sundae, I’ve been a fan of Toucan Sam.  We haven’t had a box of any breakfast cereal — much less Froot Loops or, even worse, Frosted Flakes — in our house since I started a low-carb regimen in August precisely because I don’t think I can trust myself around it.

I have to say, though — that big bowl of Froot Loops sure looked good.

Full Of Promise But Disappointing, Like a Kel-Bowl-Pak

When we were kids, Mom would occasionally buy the Kellogg’s “Variety Pack” rather than a regular box of “cold cereal.” The “Variety Pack” had 8, or 10, or 12 very small boxes of different kinds of cereal. You might get Frosted Flakes, Sugar Pops, and Corn Flakes, among others, in one Variety Pack, and then get All-Bran, Raisin Bran, and Froot Loops in another. The Variety Pack offered the luxury of choice and the chance to sample the newest cereal to roll off the Battle Creek assembly lines, but also offered an even more stimulating challenge — the challenge of successfully using the Kel-Bowl-Pak.

The Kel-Bowl-Pak

The Kel-Bowl-Pak

What cereal-loving child of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s did not attempt, at least once, to eat breakfast using the Kel-Bowl-Pak rather than pouring the cereal into a bowl? For the uninitiated, the Kel-Bowl-Pak was featured on every small Variety Pack box of cereal. The boxes held out the promise of deft, precision engineering, with carefully marked perforations, detailed illustrations and instructions on the side of the box, and an official, probably trademarked name — the “Kel-Bowl-Pak.” The concept was simple. The careful cereal eater was to follow the perforations and slice through the cardboard and underlying wax paper, primly fold back the cardboard and wax paper flaps like opening the double doors of the cabinets underneath the bathroom sink, and then pour milk into the exposed cereal and eat right out of the box. What could be cooler than that? You could picture rugged hikers munching cereal out of the Kel-Bowl-Pak while gazing at the sun rise over the Grand Canyon.

Unfortunately, the actual performance of the Kel-Bowl-Pak never seemed to live up to its promise. Inevitably, the cheap cardboard would rip under the pressure of pudgy fingers and safety scissors, or the wax paper would tear and cereal would spill everywhere. And, even if the perforations were followed and the cardboard and wax paper were opened with surgical precision, the remaining wax paper packaging would immediately leak once the milk was added, and the cereal eater would be treated to a few spoonfuls of cereal from a soggy box that left smeared milk on the kitchen table.

And so, the Kel-Bowl-Pak was full of apparent promise, but ultimately disappointing. Sometimes, life is like that.