Milking It: Honey Kix

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Honey Kix General Mills Rating: A half-spoon out of four

Cereal description: Petite corn orbs -- some a bit oblong or misshapen, but most circular. They're a bit darker than the light-yellow hue associated with original recipe Kix, with darker spatters meant to imply that they've been sprayed with sweetener. Of course, implications don't always sync up with reality...

Box description: The top of the box's front cover is dominated by a blue-and-yellow banner that declares the concoction contained within to be "NEW!" -- a dubious assertion. The main background below is golden brown -- the better to set off the word "Honey" and a dipper with a single drop of amber liquid that threatens to plop onto the Kix logo, replete with a cereal bit that serves as the dot of the letter "i." Also on view is a giant spoonful of cereal suspended in advertising milk like some kind of semi-scuptural still life; a bland description ("Lightly sweetened crispy corn puffs" -- emphasis mine); some preliminary nutrition data accompanied by yellow check marks ("16 g. of Whole Grain," "Good Source of Fiber," "No Artificial Flavors or Preservates" -- this last boast serving as the most prominent danger sign); and the familiar slogan, "Kid-Tested, Mother-Approved!," which has always struck me as problematic. If the stuff was "Mother-Tested, Kid-Approved!," I'd feel better about it. The side panel opposite the main nutrition data includes a "Grow Up Strong With Big G Kid Cereals" display that spotlights a girl measuring her height beneath text touting the amount of calcium and vitamin D in the mix, while the back highlights "The Goodness of Kix" within an illustration inspired by the individual cells of a hive. Way to build up my expectations, only to smack them down immediately thereafter.

Taste: Pardon my naivete, but it seems to me that if "Honey" is a prominent part of a cereal's name, the bits themselves should be noticeably sweet. Not so in this case. The honey must be applied as sparingly as vermouth in a dry martini; perhaps the General Mills bakers simply wave a bottle of the stuff over the pieces rather than applying any of it directly. The results put me in mind of a line I recall hearing decades ago in an old episode of Sanford and Son: Fred declared someone's cooking so flavorless that when he belched afterward, it tasted like a handkerchief.

Conclusion: This morning, I ate a bowl of Honey Kix without even noticing. 'Nuff said.

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