Milking It: Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate

Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate Kellogg's Rating: A half-spoon out of four

Cereal description: Whole grain wheat welded into a wiry-looking brown square diode, with one side flocked with white sugary spew and the other more or less naked to the world.They're hard and heavy, although not hard and heavy enough to break a sliding glass door when thrown against one. I know because I tried it. Doing so was a helluva lot more fun than eating the stuff.

Box description: A banner across the top of the front cover features the word "NEW!" and assertions that the cereal is "Made with 100 percent WHOLE GRAIN" and counts as an "Excellent Source of FIBER." More disturbing, though, is the presence of an anthropomorphic mini-wheat with spindly arms and legs and a facial expression that calls to mind South Park's Mr. Hankey -- although he's light tan, not dark brown. Yes, I'm confused, too. The anti-succinct "Frosted Mini-Wheats Little Bites Chocolate" logo appears against the backdrop of brownish swirls that are supposed to recall a vat flowing with a certain sweet treat, but the design more closely resembles one of those microscopic-camera shots of the lower intestine -- a not-so-subtle reference to all that fiber, I suppose. At the bottom of the frame is a spoonful of the cereal splashed with advertising milk beside the announcement that "Each Piece is Nearly Half the Size!" But half the size of what? A full-size Mini-Wheat wedge? A shoe? A Volkswagen Beetle? As for the side panel opposite the nutrition information, it features a pitch about whole grain and fiber "Working Together!" as narrated by that scary quasi-humanoid Mini-Wheat mascot. The back, for its part, shows the larger Mini-Wheat dude patting the back of a smaller, chocolaty version who looks like his son from a mixed marriage. I'd like to get a gander at the missus. There's also a "Half-Sized Quiz!" that asks questions such as, "Which is nearly half the size of Africa?" The answer is "Antarctica" -- although what with global warming, it's probably less than half the size by now.

Taste: Due to the strong resemblance between Mini-Wheats and home insulation, I'd never before tried the original version of this brand or any of its variations until cracking open this box. The strong chocolate smell that greeted me when peeling open the interior bag raised my hopes (and is the only reason for the half-spoon rating). But things went steadily downhill from there. I had expected the cereal to be so rock-like that I'd have to attack it with a chisel instead of a spoon. Instead, it was relatively brittle, shattering into a slew of sinewy shards that seemed to collect at the back of my throat, tickling my gag influence like dryer lint. My brain told me not to swallow the stuff, but expelling it seemed like an even more unpleasant prospect. Talk about a lose-lose proposition.

Conclusion: Because of my inveterate cheapness, I've finished every box of cereal I've purchased for Milking It blogs. Doing so this time will be my most difficult challenge yet.

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