Monday, September 19, 2011
Monday Munchies - Franken Berry
As a kid, one of the most enticing aspects of adulthood was being able to eat whatever I wanted when I wanted. Ma Serpico was a huge proponent of "clean up your plate" and "three more bites, good bites" when meant that mealtime could often times end up a battle of wills.
I usually lost.
Parent mandated cereal was also something I loathed. I wanted something colorful, preferably with marshmallows or at least a mascot. What I ended up getting was, more often than not, "kid tested, mother approved."
Franken Berry was a mythic cereal.
Not only was it strawberry, which is like the pied piper of flavors, but it had it's own mythology; Franken Berry made your poop pink! How awesome is that? It's like the gift that keeps on giving!
Of course Ma Serpico would never allow it. While I longed for something to go "coo-coo" it would always remain beyond my grasp. If she was a good mood, I might be able to get something that tasted "grrrrrreat."
But being able to eat cereal at night (and conversely ice cream for breakfast) were two of things that I couldn't wait to do. Smoking, drinking, voting, driving and running for president all paled in comparison to eating the cereal that I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it.
To make matters worse, by the time I was in a position to actually buy my own cereal, Franken Berry was relegated to a seasonal variety. It just compounded the insult.
In the intervening years I've since sampled Franken Berry and I found it to be completely tolerable. It's funny how my whole childhood experience with cereal has shaped me. Despite my wanting them, when I actually had them they were disappointing. Maybe it's a palate thing or maybe they just aren't good. The point is, I can only eat them in small doses.
As for Franken Berry, it's a cereal with a mascot and marshmallows, so you basically know what you're getting. If your taste buds squint, you can a most pretend that it tastes like what someone who's only read a description of what strawberries actually taste like would synthesize.
I will never get accustomed to the texture of cereal marshmallows. They aren't soft, light of fluffy. They're just sweet and not cereal. They're tolerable, but they're barely marshmallow.
I will say that I don't care for the new rendering of Franken Berry on the box. It looks too slick and digital. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer ink and paint to tablet pcs.
But for me the Franken Berry experience isn't about texture or flavor. It's about that thrill of seeing the box on the shelf when there's a chill of autumn lingering in the air. It's about that rush of finally getting your hands on the forbidden fruit. It's about childhood expectations, not adulthood realizations.
Franken Berry makes me a kid again.
(But I'm not going to lie; I secretly wish that it also made my poop pink.)