Breakfast and Brunch

Milking It: Boo Berry

Boo Berry General Mills Rating: Three spoons out of four

Cereal description: Whole-grain-corn cereal pieces featuring triangular eyes -- the better to see you with, my dear. They're accompanied by purple, pink, blue and white marshmallows shaped like bats, ghosts and other spooky stuff. If that sounds similar to Frankenberry, one of the other two so-called "monster" cereals, which was reviewed in this space last week, it should. They're physically identical aside from the color of the cereal bits -- purplish-blue for Boo Berry, radioactive red for Frankenberry. When they're making them, apparently, the folks at General Mills dye another day.

Box description: This design is the same as Frankberry's, too. The front cover features an oversize head shot of Boo, a blob of white protoplasm accented by a purple hat, purple bow tie, purple tongue and purple eyelids at half-mast, as if he went out drinking last night and is still three sheets to the wind. (Get it? Ghost? Sheets? Never mind...) Likewise, the panel opposite the nutrition information sports a blow-up of the logo against the backdrop of the cereal itself, and the back juxtaposes bummer-inducing "Nutrition Highlights" with a "Scary Monsters Poster" that hasn't changed this millennium, I don't think. In previous years, I was able to pick up boxes of Frankenberry and Boo Berry at huge discounts the day after Halloween -- but I stopped by a couple of stores that stocked them for the season on November 1 and found nothing. (Lucky thing I bought a box a few weeks earlier.) It makes me think General Mills realized that, considering all the preservatives this stuff contains, they can store unsold stock in a warehouse for the next eleven months and then bring it out again in September of next year as if it's new. It tastes as fresh as the century it was made!

Taste: Despite its similarity to Frankenberry and Count Chocula, Boo Berry is the lesser of the three monster munchables. Blame the cereal pieces for this state of affairs. Both Count Chocula and Frankenberry are stronger and more distinctive than Boo, which has always made less of an impression, and still does. Thank goodness, then, for those glorious General Mills marshmallows, which are so crisp and delicious that they seem positively other-worldly. Save them for last. You'll be glad you did.

Conclusion: Boo Berry's good, if not scary-good. -- Michael Roberts