I have not been a fan of breakfast cereal as an adult. Like so many other personal phobias, this dates back to my Army days. For thirteen long months in Korea, the only breakfast cereal available at the mess halls of the Fightin’ 802d Engineer Battalion was Grape Nuts. Per Seinfeld, “What’s with Grape Nuts? They’re not grapes. They’re not nuts.”
As Mess Officer, I was responsible for ordering food for our hungry men. I begged and pleaded with Eighth Army, “Send us something other than Grape Nuts. The Air Force ten miles away at Osan gets Frosted Flakes. My guys are ready to mutiny.”
Eighth Army replied, “Grape Nuts is all we have in the warehouse right now. When you consume all of that, we’ll consider ordering something else. Besides Grape Nuts is full of fiber. It will keep your guys regular.” Typical Army. Drinking bacteria-laden Korean water kept our guys “on the can”. No one wanted to eat Grape Nuts so the warehouse never emptied. The 802d’s shelves may still be stocked with moldering Grape Nuts fifty-four years later. Later, I discovered that the Congressman representing Post Cereal’s headquarters district was on the House Armed Services Committee.
That Congressman must have retired. To maintain high sales, Post Cereal introduced a new product last week. Consisting of crunchy flakes and almonds, “Sweet Dreams” comes with a description that reads like a box of herbal tea, touting notes of lavender and chamomile, as well as vitamins and minerals intended to support your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Half of American adults have trouble sleeping. Post claims that a “fourth meal” of “Sweet Dreams” before bedtime will send you off to Dreamland.
“Sweet Dreams” also contains as much as 13 grams of added sugar from cane sugar, corn syrup, “invert sugar” and molasses, which according to studies can be detrimental to your nightly sleep. Sugar makes you hyper? Who knew? How about anyone who has kids?
Personal phobias remain strong after more than fifty years. I am about as likely to buy “Sweet Dreams” as I am to consume other Army staples like powdered milk, powdered eggs, or canned grapefruit juice. Spam and Velveeta are a different story.
By Ed Dufton