Milking It: Cookie Crisp

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Cookie Crisp General Mills Rating: Three-and-a-half spoons out of four

Cereal description: Whole grain corn, corn meal, corn starch and corn syrup -- in other words, a helluva lotta corn -- mashed together and pressed into light brown, slightly puffy discs with what looks like a light sprinkling of powdered sugar. (Excuse me for a moment while I wipe the slobber off my keyboard.) The bits are pocked with darker brown speckles meant to resemble chips, although some of them more resemble Rorschach blobs. For instance, one piece I saw featured an hourglass shape. Clearly, when it comes to diving into this stuff, there's no time to waste.

Box description: Chip, the cartoon mascot all the ladies love (because his tongue's so big he can almost lick his eyes), perches above the bold, cartoony Cookie Crisp logo in his bulky, bat-wing-collared red sweater, two spoons at the ready. Good planning. The name itself features cereal ovoids for O's, and beneath it, supersized images that look so much like actual cookies that they probably are actual cookies bounce and jostle amid an ocean of advertising milk. Also present: a slogan that reads, "The Great Taste of Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk," the de rigueur "Whole Grain Guaranteed" banner, and a lower stripe declaring that the munch is a "Good Source of Calcium & Vitamin D: Nutrition to help your kids grow up strong!" Better yet, it'll make them regret each bowl of Honey Kix their moms try to get them to eat instead. The panel opposite the nutrition information is filled with a by-now regular feature of General Mills boxes -- text touting the calcium and vitamin D already pimped on the front of the box over a picture of a kid measuring himself against a faux-ruler that makes his head look as if it's only an inch and a half tall. On the back, meanwhile, is a "Make Your Own Rocket Rider" cut-out of the sort that affiliated Cookie Crisp brands have been using since at least last September, when I sampled Double Chocoate Cookie Crisp. Since then, however, its size has been shrunken to accomodate a "Nutrition Highlights" graphic. My guess: This rocket ain't gonna fly.

Taste: Although I've been gobbling cereal since I've been old enough to chew, and despite my having written about Double Chocoate Cookie Crisp and ultra-delicious Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp in this space over the past year, I'd never before eaten the original brand. My reasons make almost no sense at all. You see, I'm allergic to eggs, and as a result, I've spent my entire life equating chocolate-chip cookies and "Danger!" But after surviving, and enjoying, my two other Cookie Crisp excursions, I boldly took the plunge, and man, am I glad I did. The "crisp" part of the moniker wasn't chosen at random: The pieces really do have a wonderful snap to them. And the flavor is delectable -- pleasingly sweet, with a chocolaty flavor that flows with the milk rather than coagulating. Granted, I was left with a mucous-y feeling at the back of my mouth after breakfasting was through. But seldom have I had a better time clearing my throat.

Conclusion: I have no idea if chocolate chip cookies really taste like this. But if they do, I've been missing even more than I thought I was.

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