"I wrote 63 songs this year. They're all about Jeter." Just kidding. The game we love, the players we hate, and more.

Culture and Criticism

From Norman Mailer to Wendy Pepper — everything on film, TV, books, music, and snacks (shut up, raisins), plus the Girls' Bike Club.

Donors Choose and Contests

Helping public schools, winning prizes, sending a crazy lady in a tomato costume out in public.

Stories, True and Otherwise

Monologues, travelogues, fiction, and fart humor. And hens. Don't forget the hens.

The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » Culture and Criticism

N Cereal AA: The Sweet 16

Submitted by on July 7, 2009 – 12:34 PM56 Comments

cinnlifeReady to vote? Click here. Confused? Click here.

1 Rice Krispies vs. 4 Lucky Charms. …Ouch.This match-up could serve as an indicator of what we can expect once the winners in each draw face off.Will you guys pick the classic, despite its dullness as a cereal qua cereal?Or will those of you who eat cereal only as a sweet snack prevail?Super-tough call; I'll vote Charms, but pick Krispies for the win.

6 Frosted Mini-Wheats vs. 2 Frosted Flakes. …OUCH!…Okay.It's my opinion that the Flakes have the superior frosting, and don't rip hell out of your mouth, but again, I don't eat cereal with milk, or for its nutritional value — and I think the latter might carry the day for Mini-Wheats, not to mention that they have different flavors of frosting for those nowadays.But dang, Flakes rule.I can't call it.Good luck, folks.


1 Honey Bunches of Oats vs. 5 granola. HBoO is the last of my favorites still in the running: it's sweet but not too, crunchy but not too, healthy-seeming but not with bark bits and whatnot.And yet, I foresee an upset spanking at the hands/clusters of the 'nola.

3 Special K with Strawberries vs. 2 Raisin Bran. I've made my feelings on raisins clear.(In case you missed one of the 48 previous memos on TN: "Bastards.")It doesn't seem to have had much effect; all y'all other raaaaaaaisin-haaaaaaters…come out and plaaaa-aaaaaay.…No?All right, then.Much as I'd like K to KO Raisin Bran, I'm resigned to Bran going to the Final Four.


8 oatmeal vs. 13 Chex. Whenever a baseball team does something improbable — the Nats sweep a division leader, for example — you can count on a commentator to observe, "That's why they play the games."That phrase is going through my mind as I look at the Fiberfest draw; what a strange brew it's turned into, no?All the top seeds upset, and Chex apparently in possession of a band of fierce loyalists?But like the man says, that's why we play the games.I don't have a strong feeling about either of these (unless we're talking Starbucks oatmeal specifically, in which case Chex better look the fuck out), but I'm betting Chex's Cinderella story to continue.

6 Honey Nut Cheerios vs. 7 Cinnamon Life. I remember Honey Nuts as a lot sweeter back in the day; now, they have more of a molasses top note, which is something I like in a vacuum but not so much on an oat O.Cinnamon Life has its own problems, mostly to do with poor mush resistance, but I'd still vote for it…although I think the Cheerios win here.


1 Captain Crunch/Crunchberry vs. 5 Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It's a Skin The Roof Of Your Mouth showdown!The Crunch heads to the Elite Eight without breaking a sweat, I suspect, if only because CTC drew all fake-fruity cereals on its way here and can't outgun a top-seeded fellow starchy-sweet.

6 Corn Pops vs. 2 Froot Loops. It's a little surprising to see Corn Pops still in this thing.Can they pick up enough votes from Froot-Loop haters to stay alive?I doubt it.Loops FTW.

— Sarah D. Bunting

Ready to vote? Click here. Confused? Click here.

Be Sociable, Share!



  • Tisha_ says:

    It KILLED me to vote for Chex, since Chex beat out the best cereal (Yogurt Burst Cheerios) ever invented… but, I HATE oatmeal with a passion. I had to eat it every Sunday morning for YEARS and it never didn't make me gag. It's so disgusting.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Apologies for the wonko top poll there; I can't seem to fix it, so let's try to muddle through.

  • Shanchan says:

    Frosted Flakes vs. Frosted Mini-Wheats? Rice Krispies [treats] vs. Lucky Charms? Arrrrrgh! My top four in a death match!

  • Stephanie says:

    If we're talking oatmeal that comes in a little paper packet (which is what Starbucks oatmeal is), then I'd vote it down no matter what cereal it was against. Except Trader Joe's apple and cinnamon style paper-packet oatmeal. But steel cut oats left in the crock pot overnight? Ready when you wake up in the morning? With brown sugar and the dried fruit that shall not be named? That would beat out almost any other cereal there is.

    As for the rest of the match ups? We have left my sentimental favorites behind so while I'll still vote, I'm not as there with the actively rooting thing.

  • DuchessKitty says:

    I am OVERRJOYED to see Chex here in the top 16. I didn't think it had a chance, and although I love me some oatmeal, I will be voting Chex just to see what happens.

    Raisin Bran has to go down this round right? I think Special K with Strawberries has the strongest chance of beating it. I'll cry if the Devil's Bran makes it to final 4.

  • Kristina says:

    I love soggy Frosted Mini-Wheats like I love restaurant water. I.e. a lot. And really, Chex is magic in cereal form. It's like the Leatherman of cereals – you can do almost anything with it: learn science, take it camping, build statues of Stalin…the possibilities are endless.
    But personally I'm still hoping Cinnamon Toast Crunch comes through for the win.

  • attica says:

    I bet if Corn Pops were still named Sugar Pops (as they were in my youth), we'd see a better showing. They are no less sweet under the new name, but "Corn" just seems better for you, dunnit?

    I still gotta love the 'nola and 'tmeal, though.

  • Tarbosaur says:

    Stephanie: Again, I think you're getting into the "cereal as ingredient" sort of thing. I mean, I'm not arguing that food can't (or shouldn't) taste good, but if I have to do more than "put cereal in bowl, add milk, eat, spoon optional" then I think it's getting outside the scope of this poll.


    Raisin Bran: The problem with this matchup is that the people who hate Raisin Bran probably hate SpecKberries for the same reason, only more so. At least the raisins in RB are actual RAISINS, as opposed to the weird freeze-dried sawdusty lumps in the challenger.


    FMW/FF: I think that people will be giving granola their "sop to health food" vote, and that's the only thing that Frostymins had over Tiger Bits.

  • Mary says:

    A review of my votes suggests that I simply do not like fruit flavored cereasl. I would not have guessed that, and yet there is the proof, right in front of me. Honey and cinnamon flavors FTW!

  • Maren says:

    I voted for Cinnamon Life, but my guess all along for the winner has been Honey Nut Cheerios, which is essentially the vanilla ice cream of cereals. Boring, but sweet, so everyone can come to a neutral compromise on it. That's the problem with these contests, I fear.

  • Peter L. says:

    OK, so real oatmeal, made by someone who knows what s/he is doing, is awesome. I am not talking about the pre-packaged crap, just steel-cut oats, some liquid, and, as Stephanie says dried fruit of your choice. Forget all your bad experiences; there is perfect oatmeal out there, and it's actually nutritious, unlike most of the entries (and yes, we eat cereal for reasons far beyond nutrition). As there is no justice in this fallen world, oatmeal will, no doubt, be taken down by some punk upstart. Just let it get past Chex, whose main claim to fame is as a snack mix base….

  • Cassie says:

    Curse you, Froot Loops! Curse you to the bowels of Hell!

    I hate Corn Pops. But they got my vote, for the Loop . . . she is Satan's hula hoop.

    That came out way more rhymey than I planned on.

  • Mike says:

    How can Frosted Flakes be losing to Frosted Mini Wheats? I don't care how much frosting you put on it, it's still a tasteless pile of wheat. That's no fun.

  • Hellcat13 says:

    I am actively voting against cereals I HAAAAAAAAAAAAATE (oatmeal and Raisin Bran, I'm lookin' at you) moreso than cereals I actually like at this point. All my faves got killed in the last round. This makes me sad.

  • ferretrick says:

    Cinnamon Life FTW!

  • Nilda A says:

    Go Raisin Bran. I even eat the bran flakes when I have eaten all the raisins in the box. YUMMY!!!

  • Tisha_ says:

    Reading peoples' descriptions of the "perfect" or "awesome" oatmeal is giving me the sympathy gags for my 9 year old self… the horrid stench of the stuff is still in my nose. OMG, for real, I'm gagging.

  • Linda says:

    I think asking oatmeal that you prepare, as in cooking, to compete with cereals that are ready-to-eat just doesn't make sense. Yes, homemade oatmeal from steel-cut oats is more nutritious and may be more satisfying than Cheerios, but the point of the NCerealAA, to me, is to compare like to like — ready-to-eat cereal to ready-to-eat cereal, in which category you can kind of include instant oatmeal (which I think is pretty vile, but then, so are lots of these cereals). Throwing home-cooked steel-cut oatmeal with dried fruit into the mix is like having a tournament of TV shows and making one of the choices "reading a book." You're not wrong, but you're not answering the question.

  • J says:

    I said it before, I'll say it now: Cinnamon Toast Crunch FTW.

    @Attica, you're right. The whole renaming of Sugar Pops never made any sense. I mean, you're already talking about overprocessed nuggets of blown-up sugary corn with sprayed-on vitamins; no one believes they're anything but what they are. Let's be honest and keep sugar in the name, where it belongs. Sheesh.

  • tulip says:

    Agh! This match up is killing me! Honey Nut Cheerios was the only "sugar" cereal we could get as kids. That along with Crispy Wheats w/ raisins (shudder) was the reason that the first month of college I subsisted on Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch, Cinnamon Life and Corn Pops. Obviously my votes all went to this illustrious group.
    (The mush factor is gross in all other cereals for me except for some reason the Corn Pops. weird.)

    I had to vote FF for my mom despite liking FMW a little better. There was nothing better than sneaking out of bed around 10:30pm to snuggle with my mom on the couch while she ate her nightly tiny little bowl of FF. It was her only "vice". ah the joys of youth!

  • Sandman says:

    Imagine all the hatred Sars reserves for raisins boiled down and concentrated into its most vitriolic form: you'd have a near approximation of my loathing for that sawdusty torus of pure evil dyed with highlighter ink, the Froot Loop.

    I agree with Peter L.: steel cut oats, carefully cooked, are in a class by themselves.

  • Jen K says:

    Fuck you, Cinnamon Toast Crunch! Can we get some more votes for the Cap'n of Crunch, please?

    Ugh, cinnamon. HATE.

  • Alyce says:

    I hollered out in pain so loudly at Frosted Flakes being in a veritable dead heat with Mini Wheats that my husband abandoned the grill to see what was the matter.

    Just humanity losing its mind, I guess.

    No other explanation will do.

  • Alyce says:

    I'm sorry to say that I love Raisin Bran – Kellogg's not Post's. BIG difference. Not surprised there is some confusion on the part of the voters there.

    I find it amusing how much I care about this.

  • cayenne says:

    I'm still in mourning for Count Chocula, and can't believe that NONE of the chocolate picks made it to this round. People, if regular cereal + chocolate milk is OK, then why not chocolate cereal + plain milk? Sometimes humanity's logic does not compute.

    So now I have to pick from a) crapadoo flakes or processed blerf with or without frosting, b) crapadoo flakes or processed blerf with icky dried "fruit", c) miniature stale doughnuts with honey or carcinogenic colouring, d) other honey-flavoured gag-inducers, or e) something which either contains cinnamon or can have it added to make it edible. By default, option e wins.

    Amazing how when so many choices are available, the bland comes out on top. I'll bet if wallpaper paste had been an option, it would have won.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    If you like homemade oatmeal, do not read this comment. I hate homemade oatmeal; it is not a rational hatred; I will now make a series of disgusting comparisons; be on your way.

    Okay, so, two words: Ramona Quimby. You KNOW what I'm talking about. I didn't love homemade oatmeal anyway, but after I read that chapter, there wasn't enough brown sugar in New Jersey, and besides it tastes like attic in the first place.

    And then! Certain family members who put RAISINS AND MILK on that shit? WHY?! I hate raisins, I REALLY hate milk, and topping the already-vomitocious oatmeal with my sworn enemies, bleegaccchhh, I couldn't even watch. "Mmmm, a bowl of chewy bathtub farts with spiders and asbestos! What a way to start the day! …Why is Sarah eating an apple in the yard?"

    People wonder sometimes why I don't really eat breakfast; this is why. This, the Tolkien muesli, and the "oeufs a la Dad" (poached eggs, rare, with Kraft parmesan, which sounded kind of good but SMELLED like someone was getting a perm in their armpits).

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    PS Please define "blerf" so that I may gank it pronto.

  • Sandman says:

    Oh, why wait? I can tell you already that Sarah's last entry made me laugh so hard I nearly blerfed my drawers.

  • cayenne says:

    @Sarah – blerf = vomit. What those cereals look like while being created, and taste like afterwards.

  • Karen says:

    I think I must be the only one who likes instant oatmeal and eats it of their own accord. With extra raisins. I assume I'd like the slow-cooked kind, but I don't own a slow cooker, or actually bother taking any time with breakfast, so I wouldn't know.

    That said, Cinnamon Toast Crunch was my favorite cereal as a child, and has held up well into adulthood. I hope it wins!

  • Cat says:

    How can you pit Cap'n Crunch against Cinnamon Toast Crunch??? Like, my two favourite cereals ever, and yet There Can Be Only One. :'-(

  • Mimi says:

    I love oatmeal, especially with raisins, but the Ramona Quimby comment still cracked me up. That said, it may be true that oatmeal with lots of prep time is in a different category than the rest of these cereals, but at the same time, it's oatmeal. You can't just pour it in a bowl and eat it (…well, some people do, but they're crazy), it absolutely has to be cooked. Saying it doesn't count when you slow-cook it or that making it that way makes it an ingredient instead of a cereal is sort of disingenuous.

    And on that note, it is just as well Cream of Wheat wasn't in the initial poll, because don't no one trash-talk my CoW.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Mimi: It was, actually. Got its ass kicked, too. [snif]

  • Judi says:

    J — It was like, this major takeover of cereals, the removal of sugar from things. Sugar Smacks, Crisp, Pops — now "Honey, Golden, and Corn." As a kid this brought a major revelation to me: adults are dumb. Seriously, I was a lot more able to convince my health food parents to buy the cereals with the new names.

    Ramona Quimby rules.

    And Chex's Cinderella Story is totally the name of my emo pop punk band.

  • Anlyn says:

    I have no idea who Ramona Quimby is, but I hate homecooked oatmeal as well. It's just so bland. Mom never let us put anything on it, either, except some milk and little bit of sugar, same as all the regular cereals. It sucks.

    I'll eat instant oatmeal occasionally, but not the ones with dried fruit in it (anymore). I do like Quaker's Banana Nut and Maple Brown-Sugar, though.

    I also voted against Fruit Loops and Raisin Bran, as opposed to voting for their competition. I hate them so much.

  • La BellaDonna says:

    Sars, I read every Beverly Cleary I could get my hands on, including about our favorite pest, and I am drawing a complete and pearly blank on "Ramona" + "oatmeal" =________. Could you please explain?

    I would have thought that the instant oatmeal would come out swinging against the instant Cream of Wheat packets (which are NOTHING like real Cream of Wheat, which has to be cooked and stirred so it doesn't lump up with inedible cysts, but is otherwise yummy with maple syrup). I don't know who would have won; I'd run away screaming, having had each. Alas, I live vicariously through others, since I can't actually access the contest. It's worth the vicarious, though.

  • Kristina says:

    See, and I have a problem with cereals that look like something found in a third world gutter after you pour milk on them. So anything chocolaty, flaky, or fruit-loopy goes out the window. You could soak a frosted mini-wheat with a fireman's hose (oh…lord) for a day and a half and they'd still look like food. Moist Frosted Flakes make me want to punch Tony the Tiger in his stupid tiger balls.
    But then, I had a bad experience. Frosted Flakes and bag ramen: you are dead to me.

  • Lisa says:

    ::wonders how old Anlyn is::


    ::runs off to hold her own Chevrolet doll::

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    If I ever get the TN store up and running, it's going to be the most hostile clothing in the world. "Have Met/Was Bitch," "eat a bee," "I'm-a punch you in your tiger balls," "little red wagon of angry"…

    @Bella: 1. Ew, "cysts." 2. In Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona blerfs at school. She ate oatmeal for breakfast that morning even though she felt sick, and it's some sort of classroom experiment involving blue oatmeal that sends her over the edge.

  • p jane says:

    "oeufs a la Dad" (poached eggs, rare, with Kraft parmesan, which sounded kind of good but SMELLED like someone was getting a perm in their armpits)

    *bwah!* The whole entry had me giggling in agreement, but that pushed it over to a snort. Unless there's crispy bacon or SOS involved, give me coffee and a choco chip granola bar for breakfast any day. Dry cereal makes a nice (dry) snack, cereal w/milk is fine if the kids are otherwise occupied so as not to demand something in those precious minutes before the cereal turns to mush, but breakfasty breakfast doesn't rank high on my list of needs.

  • Kristen says:

    @cayenne: "People, if regular cereal + chocolate milk is OK, then why not chocolate cereal + plain milk? Sometimes humanity's logic does not compute."

    Ah, but the flaw in YOUR logic is that you start with the premise that regular cereal + chocolate milk is OK. It is not.

  • Kristina says:

    You know, I always like Henry Huggins better. Well, of the Beverly Cleary oevre. Fudge was my boy, for reals back then. Ring bear!

    Anyway, I'd wear a t shirt that had "eat a bee" on it.

  • La BellaDonna says:

    Oh, man, I would blerf too at blue oatmeal! Come to think of it, I may anyway. FOOD IS NOT MEANT TO BE BLUE; in fact, the very fact of its being blue is supposed to be a warning not to eat it: "Warning: If you eat this Food Item after it has started to look blueish, you are engaging in self-medication with Homegrown Penicillin, at your own risk."

    Do not risk having to say to the doctor about gnawing on your hundred-year-old cheese, "Funny, it didn't look blueish!"

  • Anlyn says:

    @Lisa – 32, as of yesterday. :) I read a lot as a kid, including Beverly Cleary, but I still don't remember Ramona Quimby. Oh well, probably a good thing, considering.

  • Tarbosaur says:

    Well, the oatmeal was blue so that they could see the maggots more easily. No, I am not making this up.

    (God, why can I remember the details of vaguely milqetoast kids' books I read twenty-two years ago, but I can't remember that I was supposed to take my car to the oil-change place this morning?)

    (PS: I always loved that scene where Ramona's father slices open the pancakes. I pictured him doing some kind of ninja move, SLASH-SLASH-SLASH-SLASH and then the pancakes sit there for a second before exploding in sprays of batter.)

  • Erin says:

    Oh man. I love the members of the Tomato Nation.

    Srsly, @cayenne: "crapadoo flakes or processed blerf" made me about shoot water out my nose, and I'm STILL laughing. HYSTERICAL.

  • Mrs. Apron says:

    Frosted flakes + chocolate milk are the only reason I had any calcium in my body growing up. (Well, that and maybe mozzarella in string cheese format.) My premise (and my mother's, too, I imagine), was that 1) it started out as milk, and 2) if cocoa krispies + white milk are not only OK, but are advertised as "turning your milk chocolate", then my FF+ brown cow are just fine.

    I hate milk. I hate that filmy nast it leaves in my throat and the blerf feeling I get my stomach afterwards. I only discovered in college that I'm lactose intolerant. Is it any surprise?

  • sherry lynn says:

    I go on vacation and miss one vote adn suddenly the AWESOME cracklin' oat bran is gone?!?!? drat! but count me among the raisin bran haters. raisin bran = mushy tree bark + dark brown pellets. yuck!

  • Jeanne says:

    Thank you ever so much for reminding me of Ramona and the oatmeal. Thinking back on it though, that may be where my aversion to oatmeal and anything with an oatmeal-like texture came from. Death to oatmeal! Now I need to go think of something else before I get too queasy.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Oh, I forgot the "…Blerf." shirt. And the "haaaaaaaaaate" shirt. We're awesome.

Leave a comment!

Please familiarize yourself with the Tomato Nation commenting policy before posting.
It is in the FAQ. Thanks, friend.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>