Milking It: Honey Graham Oh!s

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Honey Graham Oh!s Quaker Rating: three spoons out of four

Cereal description: Supersized, light-tan ovals made mainly of corn, rice, wheat and oat flour, with assorted chunks, flakes and nuggets occupying the center gap. Looks sort of like a mutant bird's nest -- but in a good way.

Box description: The Oh!s logo is wonderfully cheesy -- not so much the graham cracker and honey illustration at the center of the "O," but the use of an exclamation point in lieu of an apostrophe. Could Colorado's own 3Oh!3 have nicked its name from this morning munch? The bright red moniker stands out against a bright yellow backdrop, with the words "Honey Graham" floating above it and the the phrase beneath reading, "Good Things in the Middle!" (Just like the cream filling in an Oreo, or a human's genitals.) A bowl of the stuff bathed in advertising milk occupies the lower portion of the cover, while blue banners boast that it contains "0 grams TRANS FAT" and is "Always a GREAT VALUE" -- as if the only way someone might consider buying a box is because it's cheap. Have a little confidence, people. The side panel opposite the nutrition information offers a couple of recipes, for "Snack-Time Mix" and "Plenty 'O Peanuts Snack Bars" that look so thick that they probably have to be chipped apart with a chisel before being ingested. As for the back, it's dominated by more hype listed under the heading "Oh what a cereal!" Only problem: "Oh!s" is consistently spelled "Oh's," thereby relegating the exclamation point to mere symbolic status. "Terrible decision!" I exclaim.

Taste: I've avoided sampling Oh!s for years simply because it looks so lame. The imaging makes it seem like one step above generic, which isn't exactly a way to generate excitement, and honey graham is the most overused flavor in the entire cereal universe. Imagine my surprise, then, when they turned out to be far more enjoyable than anticipated. The honey-graham taste is fairly light, which is preferable in my mind to a heavy coating, and the texture is great. The bits are thick and substantial, recalling the late, great Quaker brand Quake -- you remember; Quisp's lantern-jawed nemesis -- and that old Saturday Night Live commercial about a hard-as-rocks product that's hearty because it's mined. Your choppers and jaws will get a real workout when you eat this stuff, but it's worth the effort.

Conclusion: Better! Than! Expected!

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