Breakfast and Brunch

Milking It: Kellogg's Low Fat Granola with Raisins

Low Fat Granola with Raisins Kellogg's Rating: Two-and-a-half spoons out of four

Cereal description: What isn't in this stuff? There's whole oats and whole grain wheat, some of it fused together in random wads, like meteorites collecting fragments during the trip through space, other parts shattered into jagged fragments. Add raisins, almonds and rice and the results resemble an explosion at Whole Foods. Oh, the humanity.

Box description: The marketers at Kellogg's didn't exactly work overtime coming up with the front cover design. The backdrop consists of a modified, computer-graphic sunflower over which is superimposed the utilitarian "Low Fat Granola" logo -- it's bright green, even though none of the ingredients share that hue -- and a heaping spoonful of the munch, with the almond shards so perfectly arranged that they probably had to spend time in the L'Oreal Paris makeup room before strutting onto the runway. Just as prominent: An ad for a "Free MOVIE DVD" that ties into the rest of the packaging. For instance, the panel opposite the nutrition information offers a $3 rebate on a purchase of Alvin and the Chipmunks, which isn't nearly enough, in my view; I'd start at $90 and work my way up from there. (Beneath the Alvin pimpage is copy suggesting that Kellogg's cereal -- not this particular variant, but any Kellogg's cereal -- makes a great movie snack. To hell with popcorn: Where are the Froot Loops?) The back, meanwhile, offers breakfasters a chance to get one of eight DVDs for the price of "5 certificates from specially marked boxes of Kellogg's products." What a deal: Spend $20 on cereal, and your reward is a copy of The Pagemaster, a lousy flick starring a no-longer-so-cute Macauley Culkin, which can be found for fifty cents in every Goodwill in America. Bargain!

Taste: No doubt about it: Low Fat Granola is dense. The eighteen ounces of whatever in this container seems to tip the scales at around thirty pounds, and once ingested, the weight makes them feel as if they've ratcheted up the gravitational pull on your small intestine. As they're going down, though, the experience is actually kind of pleasant. Raisins are present in abundance, and the mixmasters don't skimp on the sugar and molasses. The concoction is unexpectedly sweet for a product that boasts about its low-fat content in its name. Now if I could only get rid of this brick sitting in my gut....

Conclusion: Probably not as good for you as it pretends to be. And that's a good thing.