Trail Mix Crunch Cranberry Vanilla cereal Post Rating: Two spoons out of four
Cereal description: An amalgamation of different grains -- wheat, oats, barley, rice -- blended with dried cranberries, almonds and plenty more. This potpourri produces a munch that's marked more by dissimilarity than consistency -- a crazy compendium of assorted shapes and textures that seems to have been tossed together at random from ingredients left over from other cereals. Think of it as breakfast recycling.
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Box description: Looking for some fun graphic designs? You've come to the wrong place, pal. The cover features a bold yellow "NEW!" banner over the "Trail Mix Crunch" logo, rendered in a breezy red font. In the foreground, a giant spoonful of this mix, arranged as carefully as a table centerpiece (complete with a trembling drop of advertising milk clinging jism-like from the utensil's edge), is backlit by a golden sunrise illuminating, or perhaps setting ablaze, a single pine tree. This image is rimmed by the red curve of a cereal bowl juxtaposed with a couple of cranberries, a cleaved almond and a pretty flower, which I may or may not have just eaten. Finally, the "Cranberry Vanilla" label is accompanied by a description -- "Granola, lightly crunchy nuggets, cranberries, almonds and a touch of vanilla flavor" -- that's longer than the lyrics of some hip-hop songs. The side panel opposite the nutrition information pimps other Trail Mix Crunch variations -- there's also Raisin & Almond and Maple Nut & Brown Sugar -- while the back is dominated by a photo of two Caucasion couples in their twenties wearing backpacks and camping clothes so trendy that it's clear their main mission is a photo shoot, not a commune with nature. ("Are you done yet, Mr. Cameraman? Because it's cold out here...") Oh yeah: There's also directions on how to serve the cereal hot: Microwave it for 30 seconds if you'd like "a big crunch," a minute for "a little crunch." Guess that means if it's in there for two minutes, it vaporizes completely.
Taste: Trail Mix Crunch is absolutely fabulous for jaw exercising. If I ate it on a regular basis, I'll bet I'd have the most bulbous jowls in the neighborhood. Flavor-wise, though, it's pretty much what you'd expect from granola -- a little wisp of sensation by about the fifth chew, followed by hours of trying to get the mashed-up remains out of your molars. The dried cranberries provide the main exception to this rule: They provide an occasional burst of pleasure. But there simply aren't enough of them to make TMCCV stand apart from the other three-trillion granola products on the market.
Conclusion: A cereal as good for you as it is boring. Wake me when breakfast is over.