Cookie Crisp: Eating Dessert for Breakfast

Breakfast of champions
Cereal Philanderer is a weekly feature in which Jason Sheehan talks about cereal more than he probably should.

Cereal du jour: Cookie Crisp, which is only a breakfast cereal by the loosest of all possible definitions.

History: Cookie Crisp was inveneted in 1977. I imagine it went something like this, a conversation between some big cereal magnate and his sycophantic cereal developer.

Big Cereal Magnate: "Johnson! Get in here right now!"

Sycophantic Cereal Developer: "Yessir, Mr. Moneybucks, sir. What can I do for you?"

BCM: "I've been thinking, Johnson. You know what the kids today really like?"

SCD: "Drugs, sir? And bell-bottomed trousers?"

BCM: "Well, yes. But I'm really talking about children, Johnson. And do you know what children like?"

SCD: "What, sir?"

BCM: "They like cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. Now they can already have cookies at lunch and they can certainly eat cookies at dinner. But what I want you to do is to find a way to make them eat cookies for breakfast."

SCD: "You want a breakfast cereal made of cookies, sir?"

BCM: "Exactly!"

And . . . scene.

Actually, the real story is even more disturbing than that. Cookie Crisp was developed in 1977 by Ralston Purina. Yeah, the dog-food company. In order to make it (arguably) less creepy, it was actually manufactured by what RP called its "Human Food Operation."

Wisely, none of this was ever used in the advertising.

The Box: In a perfect example of the old adage about leading with strength, the Cookie Crisp box always shows a cereal bowl full of cookies and milk.

The Product: Oddly, for a cereal which is advertised as "The great taste of chocolate-chip cookies and milk," and which appears to contain nothing more than hundreds of tiny chocolate-chip cookies, Cookie Crisp doesn't really taste like cookies. Or at least not like any kind of cookies that a rational human being would eat willingly. The "cookies" taste kind of muddy and sickeningly sweet, with a vaguely chemical aftertaste which is really disturbing.

Never a terribly popular cereal, apparently, the producer (currently General Mills) came to realize that somehow they'd managed to fuck up selling cookies to children for breakfast, and so in 2009 launched a secondary product.

Breakfast cookies with sprinkles.


Best Feature: If you really want to eat cookies for breakfast, this is the most guilt-free way.

Worst Feature: The "cookies" taste like they were designed by a DOW chemical engineer who'd never actually tasted a chocolate chip cookie before.

Is It Better or Worse Than Apple Jacks?: Worse. Way worse. As a matter of fact, for an adult to enjoy Cookie Crisp, he'd have to either be stranded on a desert island with a tree that only grew Cookie Crisp, or so stoned that he thinks he is stuck on a desert island with a cookie tree.

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