They changed my Special K.
When I’m not at home, I have what I consider to be an adventurous enough palate. When I travel, I look for local specialties, even when it’s a raw scallop, cooked reindeer or something called Aquavit, a traditional drink in Sweden that tastes like paint thinner. I know how to live on the epicurean edge.
At home, my culinary wanderlust stays in my carry on. Food is fuel and if it weren’t for the kids, I’d probably never cook again. I’ve been known to eat cereal around the clock, which is how I made this most recent discovery.
Let me back up a little. When we were kids, we weren’t allowed to have the sugar laden cereals that made childhood worthwhile. We could have shredded wheat, Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes. Once a year, Mom would spring for Winnie the Pooh cereal (yes, that was a thing) or Cocoa Puffs. We would spoon the sugar into our mouths and imagine this was how some children lived every day because their parents loved them.
Now I am in charge, I buy Shreddies, Rice Krispies and Special K. Our cereal tastes like sad feels. We mix things up sometimes with granola, and Pammy has been known to toss in some Raisin Bran when she does the shopping. Raisins are the devil’s minions, and she’s the only one who considers that a treat.
So, late one night, I was scrounging for something to eat. I pulled a box of Special K down, and opened it. It wasn’t until they landed in the bowl that I realized something was amiss. These were not my tiny flakes of blah. These flakes were big, and frilly, and…different. I looked at the box. It said they were a new recipe. I didn’t want a new recipe. If I wanted a new recipe, I would have jumped into a volcano and bought Frosted Flakes.
Sighing, I hit them with some milk and went along with the unwanted, unexpected experiment. They felt wrong. My palate has been trained to appreciate small soggy bits, and these new ones were endeavouring to stay crispier, longer. I could tell their goal without even reading about it. And every time a cereal proclaims that it will stay crunchy, even in milk, I can only think of the movie Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold creates something called cereal varnish. The manufacturers would never call it that, but that is precisely what they wish they could do.
I don’t expect my Special K to stay crispy. If you want cereal that does that, you buy granola that tastes like small pebbles and twigs. You could leave that stuff overnight and it wouldn’t soften up. Things like Corn Flakes drown in a few seconds, and offer up their limp cardboard bodies to taste buds that have trained for decades to expect little from cereal, and therefore can never be disappointed. Like mine.
When the new recipe was released last year in the U.K., hundreds of people headed to Facebook to sound off about their breakfast being destroyed and others started hoarding the “old” recipe. I must have been distracted by headlines about Syria, the Ukraine, Russia and the Middle East, because I missed the outcry against such an appalling development.
The new version tastes sweeter and looks like a Corn Flake wearing frilly underpants. Our world is lousy enough without me having to look for reasons to be upset, though I would ask Kellogg’s one thing: don’t you remember New Coke?