Breakfast of champions

Those of you who are in my age bracket will remember this title as a slogan for a brand of breakfast cereal.

Nowadays, breakfast cereal is hardly even a topic of conversation, but back then it was iconic food.

Wheaties was the breakfast of champions. I remember it because it had many famous athletes on the box, like Rusty Staub (he played for the Montreal Expos).

There was an expression in those days, used for when people gave a special effort in something. You said to them, “Wow, you must have had your Wheaties this morning!”

I did not like Wheaties. They went soggy almost immediately after you added the milk to the bowl. In my humble young opinion, they were not worth buying.

I could cheer for those champions without eating soggy cereal.

I was more of a Grape Nuts girl, or maybe Shreddies. Spoon Size was pretty tasty, too, with a bit of brown sugar on top – and slices of banana, or berries if they were in season.

For the most part, my parents weren’t keen to buy sugary cereals. The one exception was when we went camping for summer holidays.

Then, my mom bought those assorted mini boxes of cereal that you could open from the side to make a bowl.

My brother and I would divvy up the Fun Pak, as they called it. We would hope our parents would want the Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes. He loved Fruit Loops, so then I got the Apple Jacks. The Corn Pops we sometimes played rock-scissors-paper for.

There was one novelty cereal that became a treat in our house, and although it did taste great, I do believe it was ingenious marketing that sucked in not only us kids but my parents, too. That was Hunny Munch, a cereal that had Winnie the Pooh on the box.

Christopher Robin and his “silly old Bear” were childhood icons in our household. In the days before Elmo, Teletubbies, Barney, Dora and all the rest, book characters had far more clout.

Pooh and his friends were charming and believable as characters (they weren’t too cool, like that Tony Tiger guy). They had fun adventures, and they stuck together.

Maybe Pooh’s gourmand nature was part of the attraction, too. A honey-glazed cereal sounded like the definition of decadence in my little mind. A

nd for a while, there was even a little friend in the box too – a plastic character, one for each of the gang. I still have a few of them in my shadow box of keepsakes.

We called Hunny Munch “Pooh cereal” at our house. It was uniquely available in Canada, made by Quaker Oats Company (they had exclusive rights to the story characters in Canada).

It was not in the stores long where I grew up, and I was sad when it disappeared. I have had Corn Pops, which look and taste similar, but they are not the same.

Nostalgia has a special flavour to it, and it is not just about the experience of our taste buds. The wonderful part of it is the memories connected to it, which lingers even if we never get to taste the flavour again. Did you know taste and memory are connected?

I will never eat Hunny Munch cereal again. I may buy a Fun Pak this summer when my hubby and I go camping. And I will most certainly read the tales of Pooh and his charming friends to our granddaughter. That even beats getting a prize in the box.

Remember to eat your breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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