[In the interest of science, I have decided that I will purchase and devour four of the breakfast cereals that helped give me a strain of juvenile diabetes not seen outside of Oompa Loompa populations. The cereals will be judged on their bouquet, ability to resist lactose infiltration (stay crisp in milk) and presentation (aka are they as brightly colored as the vomit of a socialite who lives on nothing but wine coolers and fruit snacks).]
CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH
Cinnamon Toast Crunch (or CTC, as it’s known to those of us deep in the breakfast game) might be the most unabashedly unhealthy cereal this side of Cookie Crisp. And, while a baseline of miniature cookies in the guise of a breakfast item might not sound hard to beat, trust me, Cinnamon Toast Crunch barely limps past it. I was a slave to those crunchy squares of carbohydrate goodness dual blasted with a cinnamon and sugar coating so permeating that beach sand in your ass crack would have been jealous of the thoroughness.
What Cinnamon Toast Crunch did to milk is a thing of beauty. The mutagen that created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had less transformative power. Milk soaked in CTC (because you’d be a fool to say it was the other way around) was a sugary nectar unparallelled, the childhood equivalent of an XXX moonshine on the wall of a saloon. To this day, I’m convinced you could dump it on an oil spill in the garage and have a clean floor 20 seconds later. Just make sure to rinse it off before it gnaws through the concrete, too.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch at my breakfast table was a sign I was getting spoiled; that I’d either made the honor role or a pet had been diagnosed with cancer. This has left it a coveted item in my adult life, even if a trash bag full of the stuff is only $7 and a trip to Costco away.
After making exactly such a trip for the purposes of this article, I returned home with my bounty and was struck when opening the Cinnamon Toast Crunch by how pungent its aroma was. I’m not sure you can smell sugar, but I could detect something wafting off it. Perhaps it was the scent of joy. Pouring it in the bowl caused loose cinnamon and sugar to cascade out alongside the flake, like a fairy sprinkling dust on a sleeping child to guarantee them pleasant dreams. I poured on the milk and braced myself for the rare feeling that is happiness in adulthood.
Chef Wendel’s concoction didn’t disappoint, but it was clear that the Heisenberg of the breakfast game had lost a step or two. The cereal pieces, now rife with whole grains and other impurities, held little of their previous, grossly exaggerated sweetness. And though Cinnamon Toast Crunch managed to stay crispy as I begrudgingly finished off the bowl, I didn’t feel it deserved any commendations for that. Cat shit might stay crispy as a crock rock in milk; that doesn’t meant I want it in my breakfast bowl. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic, but, with each bite, my hopes and dreams died like the country’s innocence after JFK’s assassination. Truly, Camelot had fallen. It was time to wrap up the nostalgia and face sober, somber reality with one last cereal.