Milking It: Cap'n Crunch's Touchdown Crunch

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Cap'n Crunch's Touchdown Crunch Quaker Rating: Three spoons out of four

Cereal description: If you're not Osama bin Laden, you'll recognize the standard Cap'n Crunch design: yellowish corn and oat squares that puff with deliciousness at their center. Supplementing the main attraction just in time for Super Bowl week are green and blue orbs that are supposed to be shaped like little footballs. Excuse me while I dig through the box to try and find one that actually is.

Box description: The cover features the good ol' Cap'n clad in an excellent football helmet no doubt meant to protect his noggin in the event of a roughing-the-quarterback incident -- although this dome can't quite contain the top half of his eyeballs or his crazy white eyebrows, which hover in space in a defiant challenge to gravity. He's also got shoulder pads atop his usual Cap'n uniform, which I'll bet he's under orders to wear at all times. His arm is cocked in a classic throwing pose beneath the Touchdown Crunch logo, which is emblazoned over (but not quite on) a blue penant. Also in view: yellow goalposts, a bowl of cereal doused in advertising milk, a slogan announcing "Fun Football Shapes!" (where? where?), and a small green circle featuring the motto "Smart Choices Made Easy." Just the way I like 'em! The side panel opposite the nutrition information urges diners to "Try All 3 Great Flavors!," which in this case represent original recipe, Crunch Berries and Peanut Butter Crunch. (Apparently, Choco Crunch didn't make the grade.) The back, meanwhile, sports a "Pigskin Puzzle," a word scramble and other enjoyably busy extras arrayed around a drawing of the Cap'n now wearing a referee's duds. (Guess that's one way of making sure the calls go his way.) He declares, "The spoon is up, and it's GOOD!!" Well, pretty good, anyway.

Taste: Of course this stuff is delectable. What are you -- un-American? But it's still a bit of a bummer that the folks at Quaker didn't try a little harder when coming up with this variant of an already marketable brand -- a common problem these days. The alleged football-shaped items are essentially no different from Crunch Berries. None of the ones in my box came to recognizable points at the end, and there are no stripes or laces to enhance the football concept. And no football I've ever seen has been blue or green unless the word "Nerf" was stamped into their side.

Conclusion: The laziness of Touchdown Crunch's execution results in half-a-spoon penalty. Go back five yards and repeat first down.

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