Sunday, June 18, 2017

What's for breakfast?

Father's Day! They're going to whip up a nice breakfast for the old man, right? Let's see what tasty confections await us down at the breakfast table! Boy, I can't -- 

What the hell is this?

Sure enough, it's what you think it is -- General Mills has released two breakfast cereals based on the most popular varieties of Girl Scout cookies, Thin Mints and Samoas (alias Caramel deLites). I spotted these in Walmart a few days ago. What kind of sad, sorry, cookie-inhaling fat bastard would be desperate enough to buy these?

So I bought the "Caramel Crunch" and tried it. Sure enough, the Internet's #1 cereal mentor, Mr. Breakfast, was already on the job, and I completely endorse his review:

The thing that makes Somoas cookies so good is coconut and gooey caramel lined with chocolate. By contrast, this cereal just looks like little cinnamon donuts. The flavor of caramel is there, but the coconut is so subtle that I'm still not sure if I just imagined it. There is no chocolate element to the cereal.... it still feels like General Mills is on their way to making a truly great caramel cereal one day, but this cereal is a stepping stone to get to that eventual product.
That was my feeling exactly. You really wouldn't know it was supposed to taste like a Samoa unless you saw the box. It doesn't mean that the cereal is bad, as it isn't -- crunchy, not preposterously sweet, caramelish -- but as a cereal version of the cookie it fails. (Mr. B says the Thin Mints cereal does a better job of approximating its cookie.)

Having had our cereal, what else is part of this complete breakfast, hmm? Waffles?

Almost two years ago to the day I investigated the Belgian Boys and found that they are a small outfit making these tasty Belgish treats. Tasty they are, especially the chocolate-covered liege wafel. The non-chocolate wafel has pearl sugar, which are delightful little droplets of hard sugar -- the chocolate ones have pearl sugar too, but it's kind of lost in the chocolate. These treats are like, if a standard waffle had a baby with a cookie. Like a pizzelle with a weight problem. As with the other Belgian Boys products, these are not quite really breakfast foods, though. Then again, neither are cookie-based cereals.

So all this sugar is getting to me; how about some nice healthy yogurt?

We've been following a lot of yogurt fads since Dannon stopped putting out its yogurt with those little cardboard lid discs. Mix-ins, Greek, Aussie, quark, lactose-free, whole milk... the yogurt aisle has grown to vast dimensions. But one thing Yoplait will keep doing is coming up with wacky flavors. Like root beer float.

This flavor is part of their Whips! line, which is yogurt whipped up to a creamy, almost whipped cream consistency. It looks like this:

You may note that that looks exactly like a scoop of ice cream does when it's been sitting in a glass of root beer for a while. Well played, Yoplait.

Here's the thing I find interesting: Hires, Barq's, Mug, and A&W root beer all use natural and artificial flavors, while Yoplait's root beer yogurt uses only natural flavors. Why is that? Why can't the guys who make actual root beer use all non-phony flavors? Are they scared of something? Is there some magic root beer ingredient that will degenerate after the shelf life of a cup of yogurt but shorten the shelf life of bottled soda? We want the truth, soda people. I suggest appointing a special prosecutor.

Well, after that meal you really ought to brush your teeth -- but if you can't for some reason, like you're at a funeral, maybe you could pop one of these:

I was surprised to see the labeling change in Breath Savers, a line of mints by Hershey that has always tried to get its packaging to make you think of whooshing through a frosty landscape, like you're on skis.

The new font is attractive and completely counter to what has gone before. Looks like Century Schoolbook, or a reasonable facsimile. It caught my eye, which the old packaging never did. I suppose that's the point -- that, and as a means of focusing on the "breath" part, the way Certs (by Mondel─ôz) always has.

The problem for me is that Certs always tasted good and Breath Savers always tasted lame. Why? Sugar. Nowhere does fake sugar taste more fake than in candy. Breath Savers and other sugarless candies have always tasted like plastic to me. Some are better than others; the sugarless Werther's are not quite as obviously artificial. But they don't freshen your breath. And if you're going to freshen your breath after eating, why use a sugary candy and rot your teeth?

Well, that's enough Father's Day breakfast for me; back to bed! See you Monday!

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