Milking It: Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp

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

Cereal description: Whole-grain corn discs, yellowish-tan in color, with a semi-rough surface that makes each piece look like a discus designed to shatter on impact. Save each shard for me.

Box description: Mascot Chip the Wolf appears at the top of the box's cover, holding a spoon in one hand, a jar of peanut butter in the other -- and his giant tongue is only slightly less red than the bat-wing-collared red shirt he's rocking. The rest of Chip's body is concealed behind a giant logo, with the O's in "Cookie" represented, naturally, by two cereal pieces. Beneath these words, more of the stuff splashes into cascades of advertising milk -- and there's also a small banner inviting diners to "Build Chip's Cookie Cruiser Invention." This variation of a feature first described in our September Milking It review of Double Chocolate Cookie Crisp is so complicated that the panel opposite the nutrition information is dedicated entirely to folding the contraption on the back. The vehicle on my box consists of milk cartoons, a boom box, a sail made of old clothes and a foldable Chip who actually manages to keep his tongue in his mouth. I guess he has problems steering when it flops over his eyes.

Taste: Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp would seem to be at a major disadvantage in comparison to the other cereals in the CC family -- namely, it contains no chocolate. But I'll be damned if it's not delicious anyhow, due in part to the fact that its flavor is a simulation of peanut butter rather than a precise replication of it. Frankly, I've always found the idea of peanut butter to be better than actually eating the stuff. It's been at least ten years since I put together a peanut butter sandwich for myself -- probably after seeing a commercial that made the goop look unbelievably creamy and delectable -- and after a single bite that practically fused my mouth shut, I realized that I'd made a terrible mistake. But Peanut Butter Cookie Crisp is yummy, not gummy, featuring a taste whose phoniness is its secret weapon. There's nothing quite like it in nature, and that's a good thing. Better eating through chemistry.

Conclusion: In this case, fake peanut butter is better than the real thing. -- Michael Roberts

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