The other day I went grocery shopping, which was a rare phenomenon in itself. I don’t have an attention deficit disorder, unless it’s possible to have the ADD flair up only in certain settings. In which case, you’ll find me unable to focus on a damn thing over in aisle four, riding the grocery cart like a scooter (it’s still irresistible), staring slack-jawed at the million different types of all the million things that there are.
The stars must have been aligned that night, because another rare phenomenon was occurring: I was shopping on a budget. Or at least, I was trying to. Soda in liter bottles instead of cans. Store-brand sour cream. Screw you, organic tomatoes. We’ll eat the pesticides, thank you very much. By the time I got to the cereal aisle, I was sweating. I was out of my mind. I was even about to buy generic cereal.
Let me back up a minute. Basically, I’m good for store-brand anything, EXCEPT when it comes to cereal. I had a scarring experience in childhood involving generic cereal. Look, my parents always bought me the Gucci premium-priced Frankenberry, Nintendo Cereal, and Cookie Crisp. I had exquisite tastes. But then I spent a week with a family member who only purchased the generic stuff. And not even the kind with the bargain-basement cartoon mascot on the box. No. [Insert pause for dramatic effect.] It was the bulk bag kind.
So there I was, twenty-two years later, staring down a box of Marshmallow Mateys, when something saved my life. And my delicate palate.
Rice Krispies Treats Cereal. One of the true breakfast holy grails and best cereals of all time. If anything I wrote before this was over the top, I assure you anything I write about the actual cereal is absolutely deserving.
It first hit the breakfast scene in 1993. From what I can piece together in internet research, it either disappeared for several years and just recently came back, was always available in certain regions while scarce in others, or has been known to randomly appear on store shelves, an experience that is akin to the Virgin Mary appearing to you in a dream.
And if you haven’t been blessed with a miraculous sighting, then you’ve been stuck with ordering it off Amazon and eBay, where it goes for $5-10 per box. Even at those prices, it has over one hundred five star ratings on Amazon, all apt with rapturous praise. They ain’t lying. This stuff is the crack of breakfast cereals.
Unlike the pre-packaged Rice Krispies Treats that have that weird, chemical paste flavor, the cereal is exactly like eating airy, fluffy, just-baked Rice Krispies treats. You could eat this stuff dry, straight from the box, which is what I’m doing right now as I type this. But I’ve been pairing it with vanilla almond milk and a cup of coffee, and it’s a part of your complete breakfast, just like the commercials always said.
You might be wondering how this stuff is even healthy. Well, it has Vitamin D. And Riboflavin, whatever that is. And even a whopping gram of protein. So there. And I don’t know why you’re wondering this. Breakfast isn’t supposed to be healthy. It’s supposed to be that ill-advised choice you make to prepare your body for the sugar crash around noon. Otherwise known as “lunch.”
Most cereals that I remember fondly from childhood just aren’t as good as I remember them. They’re not as sugary and sweet as they used to be, back in the wild west of the 1980s. But with Rice Krispies Treats cereal, it really is just as good as you remember. With this one, you can still go home again. If you can find it.