The Boxtop - Cereal Netletter
Volume 2, Number 6 Autumn / Winter 2000

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Reader's Poll
Sorry, there is no Reader's Poll in this issue. Thank you for your interest.
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Autumn / Winter 2000 Index

Character Profile: Freakies
What's A Marbit?
A King Fit For A Meal
Cereal Review - Post Great Grains
Reader's Poll Results - What type of "cerealist" are you?
What's New in Cereal? Kellogg's and "The Grinch Stole Breakfast"
What's New in Cereal? Kellogg's Froot Loops "Prize Inside"
What's New in Cereal? General Mills Agrees to Buy Pillsbury



Character Profile: Freakies
by Topher
freakiesThe Freakies were a group of mutated critters who lived under the abundant Freakies tree and enjoyed eating their cereal. Issued in 1972 and 1973 by Ralston Purina, Freakies proved to be very endearing criters despite their short cereal run.

The original Freakies were named Boss Moss, Grumble, Cowmumble, Hamhose, Snorkeldorf, Gargle, and Goody-Goody. Upon its re-release, the new set of Freakies were Boss Moss, Grumble, Ace, Hot Dog, Hugger, Tooter, and Sweetie.

Ralston brought out three different versions of this cereal: Freakies, Fruity Freakies, and Cocoa Freakies.
More details on Freakies.

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What's A Marbit?
by Topher

A "marbit" is that colorful shaped marshmallow found in numerous cereals aimed at kids, like Lucky Charms. John Holahan, a Genral Mills VP, invented marbits in 1963. The idea came to him when he cut up a few orange marshmallow "Circus Peanuts", stirred them into a bowl of Cheerios, and enjoyed the result.

Marbits are made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. They are melted together and whipped until foamy. Coloring is added. Then the mixture is extruded into shapes (like squeezing playdough, or your favorite homemade pasta, through shaped dies or cut molds). Like playdough or pasta, the long shaped mixture is then cut into into individual pieces and dried.

The folks at General Mills continued to work on the process until they were able to perfect a marshmallow which wouldn't release moisture into the cereal. They also developed a process to combine colors and make intricately shaped marbits. Lucky Charms was the first cereal to use marbits, and continues to be one of the best selling cereals at General Mills.

For more details on Lucky Charms ever changing shapes, see Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.

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A King Fit For A Meal
by Pajama Pirate
When one hears the word "cereal" the first thought that usually comes to mind is hard small objects falling into a bowl followed by splashing milk: cold. Quickly forgotten is the cereal that first came: oatmeal. Ingredients: oats and hot or near hot water. It is very helpful during that bitter cold winter. It is also a handy breakfast to have if one is lactose intolerant. Very easy is to eat sustenance already chewed. All that is required of one is to open up and swallow. Forget that it is healthy (though it is), forget that it is boring (hardly), and forget that it takes a tad longer [than cereal] to throw together (prepare) (it is definitely worth the wait). Just eat it. Eat it with a spoon and feel its warmth, taste its power, smell its oats. Sure, it doesn't contain every color of the rainbow. Maybe it doesn't snap, crackle, or pop. So it doesn't "go cuckoo", nor does it "bring out the tiger in one". But it certainly is gr-r-r-r-r-reat!

"But Pirate," you ask, "I haven't got the time for oatmeal." Well you're absolutely wrong, and that wasn't a question. The solution to your so called "time" dilemma is the following: instant oatmeal. I know that this is not a new concept. It's been around for years. Give me two minutes and I'll give you a delicious bowl of steaming hot (or not so steaming, which ever you prefer) oatmeal. This cereal is often over looked and underrated.

As a small child of age 4 or 5, I spent many a breakfast time with my face in a bowl of disappearing oatmeal. Then when the discussion between my friends and I about breakfast came, I observed their faces just stare past me then look away as the conversation came to a sudden halt when I mention that I had for breakfast a bowl of oatmeal. I could read in their faces that they felt pity and embarrassment. I, however, was not ashamed but proud of my breakfast, knowing that someday they would all feel foolish for basically shunning me from their breakfast society and not eating oatmeal themselves. My head mightn't have been held so high if not for Bert of Sesame Street fame. He was a huge factor in maintaining my pride, strength, and hope.

"So I said to Bert, 'oatmeal is oatmeal, how many different ways can you make it?' He didn't like that at all."
-Ernie.


I was not angered by this statement; I laughed at it. However, it is very wrong. Oatmeal can and has been made several different ways. My favorite of the sorts is maple and brown sugar. Anyway, get up on your feet, walk out that door, hop on that bicycle, peddle to the store, walk inside... where was I going with this? Oh yeah! Buy some oatmeal! Because if you don't, then who will? And another thing, I recently found out that oatmeal lowers cholesterol. Wow, is there anything oatmeal can't do? If there is, I don't want to know about it.

Good morning to ya.

[The writer has always been interested in cereal. Oatmeal was his first, at an age before he could even talk or walk or wrestle alligators. When he was twelve he almost met Lou Farigno at the mall but arrived a half an hour after he had left. A year after he graduated from high school he moved to Chicago and that is where he currently resides.]

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Cereal Review
by Matt Wills

Post Great Grains

Great Grains The supermarket was running a special on Post Great Grains. The one with pecans. A longtime favorite, but admittedly one I had not bought in quite a while. More often than not, it usually costs more than I can comfortably justify just out of a "Good Old Days" principle (I had a real hard time when cereal reached a buck a box, which was almost as bad as when gas topped fifty cents a gallon). Nowadays, $2.99 for this one is considered a bargain. I bought a box.

I am a 24/7 cereal eater, not above fixing myself a bowl any time I feel the urge and just as likely to have it as a bedtime snack as for breakfast. Not being close to either, I tore into the box and poured a bowl as soon as I got home.

Right away, I knew something wasn't right. Flakes! The familiar muesli consistency I had been anticipating was flakes! I looked at the box, thinking maybe I had somehow grabbed something else off the shelf. Yup. It says "Great Grains", and "Suggested serving" certainly resembles flakes. I hadn't even noticed the box itself was considerably bigger than it had once been (more a more compact Grape Nuts-size). When did they do that? WHY did they do that?

Oh, well. I've got it in the bowl, I might as well give it a try. I took a spoonful. Utter disappointment.

What had been a unique, satisfying, dense, chewy-crunchy cereal was now just another flake. A light, fluffy, go-soggy-in-sixty-seconds flake. Well, yes, the fruit and nuts were there, but the mouth feel I so enjoyed was gone. The flavor wasn't quite there, either. Post does not get high marks for changing the product (whenever it was they did it). Great Grains isn't.

There is, however, some redemption. When I called the toll-free number printed on the box to tell Post that this was the last box of Great Grains I would buy, the representative took my name and address and sent me a check for the full purchase price. Small consolation for losing a favorite like that, but I do appreciate the effort, and it does prove that Post is concerned with customer satisfaction.

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What's New In Cereal?
by Topher

Kellogg's and "The Grinch Stole Breakfast"

A number of Kellogg's cereals feature a Grinch hand on the front right of the cereal box. Clearly a tie-in for Jim Carrey's "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" and an interesting holiday addition.

Scott Bruce "Retires"
Scott Bruce, author and cereal box guru, has decided to sell his vast cereal box collection on ebay. Keep an eye out for his offerings at www.ebay.com.

Kellogg's Froot Loops
Froot Loops currently offers free color changing character spoons inside market boxes.

General Mills Agrees To Buy Pillsbury
The breakfast table should get a little more interesting once this deal is completed.

Send Us Your News
If you notice anything new in your supermarket cereal isle, or wish to report a new cereal development, please e-mail us. We'll give you credit for your information, or keep it confidential, at your request. Thank you.

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Reader's Poll Results
What type of "cerealist" are you primarily?
Innovator 100%
Masses 0%
Playful Masses 0%
Purist 0%
This is an unscientific survey based upon 56 voluntary responses in our Summer 2000 Reader's Poll. However, due to technical problems only one vote was properly tabulated. We apologize for this problem.

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The Boxtop is a non-commercial publication. It is not affiliated with or endorsed by any cereal or company. All of the names, characters, brands, and icons included here are trademarks of their respective parent companies and cannot be used for commercial purposes. Enjoy breakfast and support your favorite characters!
Opinions expressed are those of the writer, which like most things having to do with cereal may not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editor, anyone else on the staff, or the world at large. A good sense of humor is appreciated.
Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the Editor.
All information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness.
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