Breakfast and Brunch

Milking It: Cap'n Crunch's Race Car Crunch

Cap'n Crunch's Race Car Crunch Quaker Rating: Three-and-a-half spoons out of four

Cereal description: This time around, the classic slab o' Crunch -- yellow in color, corn and oats in content, and shaped kinda like a piece of shredded wheat (but delicious, not bleeech!) -- is supplemented by Crunch Berry-like bits molded to resemble blue, red and light orange-ish sedans. On a real track, these alleged race cars would finish at the back of the pack. On the breakfast table, though, they win the trophy with space to spare.

Box description: The front cover announces that this stuff represents a "Limited Edition," and that's no exaggeration (more on that later). The "Race Car" part of the logo is printed in yellow backed by red, supplemented with streaky lines meant to represent speed -- and I'm not talking about the time it takes for this stuff to move through your digestive system. The Cap'n wears an excellent, NASCAR-style helmet designed to protect his valuable bean, although, naturally, it can't quite contain his eyebrows, which float outside it like orbiting satellites. He holds a checkered flag featuring the proud declaration "Fun Race Car Shapes!" in one hand and a spoop of his latest creation in the other -- but the black glove wrapped around the utensil makes it seem as if the spoon has actually been permanently attached to his arm, sorta like a different captain: last name, Hook. Awkward -- but a real time-saver in the morning! The side panel opposite the nutrition information boasts the usual admonition to "Try All 3 Great Flavors!" of unlimited Crunch (Crunch Berries, Peanut Butter and original recipe), tricked out with another checkered flag and the slogan, "RACE on over to for more fast fun!" (I did, and if there's any reference to Race Car Crunch there, I didn't find it.) On the back, meanwhile, is a busy display dubbed "Cap'n Crunch's High Performance Pit Crew." Bug-eyed, yellow-uniformed crewmembers buzz around the Crunch-A-Tize-Me pace car while other vehicles zoom past, their drivers asking surprisingly philosophical questions, like "What driver can't drive?" and "How did the racer lose a lap?," to which no answers are provided. Herman Hesse would approve.

Taste: Do you need to ask? Race Car Crunch tastes like Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, because it is Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries, except with the berries resembling 1950s-era Detroit iron instead of giant orbs. And that's fine by me. Far too few munches deliver the sugary punch the Cap'n offers with every bite -- and the zany eye candy of the packaging adds even more sweetness. Not that many people have gotten a chance to experience it, apparently. I picked up my box of Race Car Crunch at a Walmart in Grand Junction during a vacation, and in the couple of months I've been savoring it since then, I've looked for it at a number of stores in the Denver area, to no avail. Then, when getting ready to write this review, I Googled for an image and didn't find a single one; I wound up having to take a photo of the box myself. Moreover, I came across only a handful of online mentions about it, the majority of which treated it more like a rumor than something you can actually ingest. But I'm here to tell you: It's real. Oh yes, it's real.

Conclusion: With this much sugar in my system, I feel like I could outrace Jeff Gordon. Without a car.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts