I don’t know if there’s a Hall of Fame for Awful Cereal. I get that typically halls of fame are reserved for honoring good things, not detracting from bad things. And I get that maybe it should be a Hall of Infamy, but at that point, we’re really overthinking this a bit too much, aren’t we?
Regardless of whether or not something like a Hall of Fame for Awful Cereal (HFAC) should exist or not, I would like to think we could all agree on the simple fact that the first entry in the HFAC would be Grape Nuts.
I have had the misfortune of eating Grape Nuts twice in my life. The first time was at my brother’s. I was crashing there for the night, and when the morning came, it was time for breakfast. His supply left a fair bit to be desired. I can’t remember exactly what was there (Cheerios? Shredded wheat?) but whatever it was, it was missing my usual go-to dependables. Cocoa Puffs or Cocoa Krispies. (If your cereal isn’t giving you chocolate milk when you’re through with it, it’s not pulling its weight.) There were, however, Grape Nuts.
“Aha!” I said to myself. “I’ve never tried those before. I like grapes. I like nuts. These are gonna be great.”
One bowlful later, I discovered it’s a miracle Grape Nuts haven’t been hit with a false advertisement suit years ago. They contain neither grapes nor nuts. In fact, they’re basically kitty litter, but I suppose “Kitty Litter” as a cereal name didn’t score as well in their consumer research tests, so they decided to lie instead.
Not that I’ve ever tasted kitty litter, in case you were beginning to have your doubts. I mean, I’ve tasted Grape Nuts now, which already makes me pretty suspect, so I wouldn’t blame you for being suspicious about my history with consuming kitty litter. But Grape Nuts look like kitty litter: small pellets. They smell pretty much odorless, which I believe is the point of kitty litter. And if you swapped them out with your cat’s kitty litter, I’m willing to bet Mr. Bigglesworth wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Needless to say, I didn’t have a second bowl.
And yet somehow I was suckered into trying Grape Nuts again. Years had gone by, and I was having ice cream at a friend’s house. The flavor? Grape Nuts. I stared at the flavor name in confusion. It was like calling something “Dog Vomit Ice Cream” and hoping that would somehow sell more cartons. Except my friend wasn’t just eating the ice cream. He was enjoying it. He even said it was his favorite flavor.
I am not above admitting when I am wrong, and what did I know? Maybe when you added cream and sugar to Grape Nuts and then froze them for a while, they turned into some kind of awesome flavorfest. Did I want to miss out on a thing like that? Maybe the batch of Grape Nuts I’d had was stale, or maybe my brother had accidentally put kitty litter into his Grape Nuts back in the day.
Reader, I tried the ice cream.
Again, I’ve never put kitty litter on top of my ice cream before, but if I were ever try such a thing, I’m fairly confident I couldn’t have a worse experience with that flavor than with what I put in my mouth that day.
Friends don’t let friends eat Grape Nuts. Period.
There are other cereal brands that belong in the HFAC. Original Cap’n Crunch has cut my mouth more times than I’d like to admit. Rice Krispies are borderline, because if you don’t literally inhale them the moment you add milk to the mixture, you’re left with Rice Mush. I’m not honestly sure what Apple Jacks are trying to accomplish, but whatever it is, they’re failing.
But they all pale before the horror that is Grape Nuts.
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