Saturday, July 11, 2009


Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms: a Breakfasty Guilty Pleasure.

Folks who stop by here regularly know that I am, breakfast cereal-wise, pretty much a shredded wheat and Grape Nuts man. The sweet kiddie stuff holds very little attraction for me.

Frosted Flakes? I loved ’em as a kid, but they’re too saccharine-sweet for me now. Same with Corn Pops (formerly known as Sugar Pops). And I watch bemusedly as General Mills, in their constant effort to grab more shelf space, takes a perfectly decent minimum-sugar cereal like Cheerios and tarts it up, offering twenty-seven different varieties - all basted with plenty of sugar. Honey-Nut Cheerios? Who the fuck needs that?

I’ll confess to glomming a bowl of Froot Loops once in a blue moon, mainly for the nostalgia value. But they don’t really hold my attention. For the same reasons, I once (re)tried Trix, a cereal memorable mainly for its rabbit-exclusionary advertising. It is loathesome. I don’t remember hating it quite so much as a Snot-Nose.

But then there are Lucky Charms.

What with the Mistress of Sarcasm being a Lucky Charms aficionado, it was inevitable that they would show up in our pantry. A nondescript oat-based cereal, not too sweet by itself, but jacked up to the nth degree by the addition of freeze-dried chunks of a marshmallow-like polymer. The “marshmallows” - for so we are instructed to call them - have a bizarre crunchy texture and a vaguely chemical pong, but they render any milk remaining in the bowl (it’s devilish difficult to make the milk and the cereal come out even) pleasantly sweet.

I’m old enough to remember when Lucky Charms first appeared on our grocery shelves back in 1964. There were, at the time, a far sight more appealing than other then-new products, such as the horrible Alpha-Bits, which managed to be both vile-tasting and didactic. But I was never a regular consumer. Even then, there was something wrong... something vaguely pagan... about a cereal that consisted of 75% cereal and 25% “marbits.”

Originally, Lucky Charms had only four kinds of marbits: pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. Over the years, like pretty much everything else in our lives, the Charms have piled on more and more stupid-ass marbit shapes - now we have blue diamonds, purple horseshoes, red balloons, rainbows, pots of gold, leprechaun hats, shooting stars, hourglasses, blue dildoes, and gold diaphragms. Eventually, I suppose, they’ll figure out that nobody gives a rat’s ass about nutrition, and they’ll just sell boxes of marbits (“Free dental insurance policy in every box!”).

I may be an official, AARP-card-carrying Old Dude, but Lucky Charms are nevertheless a guilty pleasure. They’re Tragically Delicious™... mainly because they are so wrong to love. Whenever I eat a bowl of ’em, I feel like Humbert frickin’ Humbert.

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