Breakfast and Brunch

Milking It: Total Cinnamon Crunch

Total Cinnamon Crunch General Mills Rating: Two spoons out of four

Cereal description: Ridged squares that look as if they've been toasted and sprinkled with cinnamon -- although that last ingredient appears on the roster after a slew of other items. Some of the things in line in front of it make sense (whole grain wheat, rice flour, sugar) -- but it also trails a couple of elements with chemistry-class names. Would it have been more appropriate had General Mills dubbed this stuff Total Maltodextrin Crunch? Or Total Tricalcium Phosphate Crunch? Maybe so -- and that's frightening.

Box description: Brown ain't the most appetizing color in the palette, but that's the hue the front cover designers used behind the red Total logo and a yellow banner with blue lettering declaring, "NEW!" Immediately below are the words "Cinnamon Crunch" (also in utilitarian brown), as well as the description "Lightly sweetened wheat and rice squares," a soft-focus photo of the munch in an almost square bowl and the boast that it offers "100% Daily Value of 12 Vitamins & Minerals." A white stripe curving along the bottom of the frame picks up this theme. It reads: "Now! The Most Calcium and Vitamin D of any leading cereal!" -- thanks to that delectable-sounding Tricalcium Phosphate, I suppose. I'd love to suck down a test tube of that stuff right now! The side panel opposite the nutrition information offers more nutrition information, and so, too, does the back, which uses the amount of calcium and Vitamin D on hand as a jumping-off point for seven (count 'em, seven) paragraphs worth of boring dietary gab. The last of the text nuggets is devoted to "Great Taste," which says everything I need to know about misplaced priorities.

Taste: Smells good, giving off a rich cinnamon aroma straight out of the box. But the scent fades quickly in milk, as does the flavor. Halfway through a serving, the cinnamony boost pretty much disappears, leaving a cereal lover with a kickless grind to the bottom of the bowl. And while the bits don't turn instantly soggy, neither do they hold up as well as they should. By the time breakfast is done, they're more squish than crisp.

Conclusion: Cinnamon Crunch falls short on both the cinnamon and the crunch. That's going two-for-two in the most disappointing possible way.