Breakfast and Brunch

Milking It: Mother's Graham Bumpers

Graham Bumpers Mother's Rating: Three spoons out of four

Cereal description: Corn, oat and rice mashed together and then molded into thick, gently curved, boldly rippled rectangles. They resemble outdoor-recliner cushions made of wood, or perhaps swimming pool rafts destined to sink to the bottom in a matter of seconds. But no: They float.

Box description: The Mother's logo features an amateurish illustration of a mom and her daughter, eyes downcast. The image is supposed to suggest bliss, but it's just as likely to make folks think of napping -- probably not the best message to send first thing in the morning. The words "Graham Bumpers" burst forth bubble-letter style over depictions of several graham crackers and two separate phrases: "Natural Graham Flavor" and "Crunchy Corn Cereal." Beneath it, pieces of the cereal fly from a giant bowl into the light blue, cloud speckled sky thanks to a fearsome jet of advertising milk, which splashes up in one place to produce a blob seemingly ready to take over a movie theater where Steve McQueen's girlfriend is sitting, unaware of the danger just outside the lobby doors. The nutrition information panel features one of the briefest ingredients list on any cereal I've sampled: only ten items, most of which I can actually pronounce. Opposite it is ad copy pimping other Mother's brands -- Peanut Butter Bumpers and Cocoa Bumpers -- under the slogan "Every day is Mother's Day." Bet my mom wishes that was true. Meanwhile, the back features a number of factoids and activities arrayed around a maze with a bowl of cereal at its center -- for instance, a trivia question asks, "How many kernels does an average ear of corn have?" But nowhere on the spread are breakfasters told where to find the answers. I finally located them in fine print on the box's bottom (an ear of corn usually has around 800 kernels, by the way). Thank goodness, or I would've had to waste the day Googling. Again.

Taste: Didn't expect much from this munch, frankly. It looked like one of those offerings that equated nutrition with flavorlessness on par with taking a bite out of the kitchen linoleum, e.g., Mighty Bites HoneyCrunch. However, the first bite told me I was wrong. The pieces don't taste as much like graham crackers as do, for instance, the recently reviewed Golden Grahams. But the molasses that serves as a primary element is used generously enough that the taste is quite sweet, thank goodness. The box itself is heavier and denser than most cereals in the same size containers, leading me to fear that eating Bumpers would be like trying to pass a brick through my intestine. Instead, they left me feeling pleasantly full but not bloated. Eating them won't magically transform you into Mr. Creasote -- so go ahead and have a wafer-thin mint afterward.

Conclusion: Who cares if Graham Bumpers look like they were carved rather than baked? Chip me off another slab.