Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cereal Profiles, Entry 4


Cap’n Crunch

Most definitely one of the all time best sugar cereals out there. Cap’n Crunch’s reputation for cutting the roof of the eater’s mouth has not impeded myself, nor most of America, from enjoying it.

Cap’n Crunch holds a strange place in the realm of sugar cereals. Cap’n Crunch, the original brand, has no real bells and whistles. There are no fruity colors, just a bland consistent yellow. There are no extraneous pieces; i.e. fruit pieces, marshmallows, kiddie shapes, etc. The only thing that qualifies Cap’n Crunch as a CHILDREN’S cereal is the Cap’n himself. I believe this is where one of the distinctions between children’s cereal and sugar cereals may lie… but nonetheless, the only thing that qualifies Cap’n Crunch as a SUGAR cereal is that, well, it’s really sweet and sugary.
As far as mascots go, Cap’n was kind of run of the mill as well. He really didn’t have any long lasting feuds going on with other cartoon characters, nor “the kids” who ate his cereal. He was always kind of just there getting in random adventures, being the Cap’n and reminding us we should go pick up his cereal.

Here’s a break down of the current major brands.

The Original:
There’s not much to say about plain old Cap’n Crunch Cereal. Chances are you’ve already tried it. It’s a very simple formula. Tiny squares of crispy cereal with sugary goodness embedded in every layer and fibre of it. They are in fact so crunchy that, besides been well known for shredding the roof of your mouth as mentioned before, they were once advertised as never being able to lose their crunch. As a kid, I once let a bowl of Cap’n Crunch sit out all night soaking in water (I was old enough to know that I wasn’t going to go near a bowl of milk that sat out all night) just to see if the bits would indeed stay crunchy. Truth be told I don’t really remember how the test ended up, but I have vague recollections of it being a gross mess in the morning. It’s structural integrity held up on the inside while the outer layer did, in fact, begin to get soggy. You have to give Cap’n Crunch some credit for that.

Cap’n Crunch Berries:
This is a mixture of original Cap’n Crunch mixed with pieces of several different colors and flavors. The original Cap’n Crunch bits are, as one would expect, identical to the bits found in the standard Cap’n Crunch cereal box. The fruit pieces are different, being slightly larger and more round in shape. This cereal is for the truly experienced Cap’n Crunch eater. I started eating these long after I got bored of the original brand, and binged on them for a few months. The eating experience is pretty intense: the fruit flavors are kind of weird. While the flavors mix well with the original Cap’n Crunch flavor, they add a definite zing and punch to the flavor that overwhelms your mouth and ultimately destroys all memories of what eating the original Cap’n Crunch is like. The “fruit” flavor doesn’t really taste like any fruit. It is somewhat similar to the flavor of Trix Cereal, but much more intense. The more you eat it, the more it feels like you are chewing impossibly crunchy shreds, spoonfuls of sugar and a spoonful of very concentrated, highly condensed flavoring. It’s a good cereal to do a brief stint on, but it tends to wear on you. And it turns your milk pinkish purple.

Cap’n Crunch’s Peanut Butter Crunch:
Effectively this is the same cereal as Reese’s Puffs cereal. I was disappointed to find that the creators of this Cap’n Crunch brand even abandoned the classic shape of bit, using the size and shape of the fruit bits found in Cap’n Crunch Berries. This makes it so that they visually look identical to Reese’s Puffs. However, it does maintain the quality of crunchiness that you expect of a Cap’n Crunch brand, while Reese’s Puffs are known for having a crunch of less character and integrity, falling into sogginess quickly. Strangely, these slight differences are enough to propel the peanut butter Crunches a few solid tiers above the eating experience of Reese’s Puffs. I tried these for the first time tonight, and I was surprised to find myself throwing back 3 – 4 bowls where I had expected to just try one for experiential measure.

I highly recommend you check out the wikipedia page on Cap’n Crunch for a list of some other combos that were tried out in the past. Some really weird stuff that I wish I could have tried. One last brand that I must mention that I did get to try was the limited run Christmas Crunch. This was the same formula of the Crunch Berries substituting the normal colored bits for red and green bits and changing the flavor slightly.'n_Crunch

The Snackmaster as (a very scary looking) Cap'n, sans moustache.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Twizzlers are one of those treats that fit into their own snack group. Now I know that there are other products out there that you can argue fit into their own category, but for now I’d like to address just licorice. For the purposes of identifying with my own personal experiences, I will mainly discuss this category in the context of Twizzlers (since Twizzlers are truly the dominant brand, and my favorite).

Twizzlers mystify: you can never truly get full off of them and they are mild enough to never really truly upset your stomach to the point where you need to stop eating them. One must achieve a higher mental will to stop eating them (or, just boredom). Eating massive amounts of Twizzlers will not cause your body to send impulses of warning to stop eating. There will be no “Too Full” message sent. Nor will there be a “Too Much Sugar” message sent. The worst that can be expected is a weird queasy stomach feeling and a sense of oversaturation.

You can do fun things with Twizzlers too. Adventurous eaters will take a small bite off of each end of a single Twizzler and then dunk it into their drink to use as a straw. This is yet another Snackmaster nostalgic childhood memory. Strangely enough, I remember having the best luck with milk as a beverage for drinking out of Twizzler straws. The mild flavor of the Twizzler did not distort the mild flavor of the milk. Carbonated beverages, Coca-Cola in particular, are a definite no no. My child-like scientific mind deduced that something about the sugary tube of a Twizzler activated the carbonation of Coke, sending small fizzing streams into your mouth if you attempted a Coke-Twizzler straw combo. You know, some people get off on weird stuff like that, but I'm more a fan of enjoying products as they are intended to be enjoyed. You can go ahead and eat mentos and diet pepsi at the same time. I'm good.

The true Snackmaster way to eat Twizzlers is to go for the whole pound bag. I have, indeed, downed that whole bag within a couple hours. Now I’m no competition eater, and I know it can easily be done in faster time. But I’m talking about day to day living; routine snacking. A single pack of Twizzlers kind of is what it is. Taking on the whole pound is a standard, mundane test of worthiness.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Drought...

The drought of Snackmaster posts has also been accompanied by a slight drought in snacking.
Last week I did very little snacking. Which is still a poor excuse for not blogging, but nonetheless...
Lunchtime snacking had been down to a minimum, and I was pretty busy at night leaving only time for dinner.

Good news: The Snackmaster photo-shoot bag of treats is nearly depleted! At the bottom of this once mighty sack remains only a handful of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, a bag of Tropical Skittles, a bag of Tangy Twister Mike and Ikes and some York Peppermint Patties. I have a feeling it might be some time before even these get eaten; they're all kinda either niche snacks or one-is-already-too-much snacks.

I want to talk about Drake's Funny Bones. I had a package of these the other day, perhaps the 4th or 5th time in my life that I've eaten them. Now first of all, Drake's is a pretty stand-up Hostess replacement as far as packaged pastry snacks go. I had remembered enjoying the Funny Bones in the past so I thought I was making a slam dunk when purchasing them a few days ago. For those who don't know, Funny Bones are the shape of a human finger, except maybe a little bit bigger (depending on the dude). They are essentially chocolate frosted chocolate cake pastries filled with "peanut butter".
Pretty much everything about them is solid with the exception of the "peanut butter". Here's where my memory had failed me. Instead of having a delicious candied peanut butter, like Peanut Butter Twix for instance, Drake's peanut butter is kind of muddy and the flavor is not quite on point. Add to that the fact that the peanut butter color itself is a dark brown, and you begin to grow skeptical. All criticism aside, Funny Bones are really not bad, there are just many more products out there that are better. Fortunately, there are 3 per package. In The Snackmaster's world, more is definitely better; especially when you are dealing with a mediocre product. And credit must be given to Drake's as well. All in all they are a decent company. The Yodels and Devil Dogs are pretty slammer. Drake's is also places where other competing brands are not. There has been many a gas station convenience store that I've walked into with an embarrassing selection of Hostess products, only to be redeemed by a healthy Drake's selection. It's times like these when diversity of taste and resiliency of snack character truly pay off.