We ate a lot of sugar when I was little. I’m surprised my sister has any teeth left. She would sit and eat brown sugar right out of the bag. I wasn’t a big sugar eater. I was a hyper little chihuahua. I did put a layer of sugar on top of my Rice Krispies, after they were all properly dunked under the milk. I should add that I added sugar here and there until the cereal was gone. Some people liked to drink the sugar milk leftover, but I never did, despite my mom telling me to finish my bowl…of sugar milk. I would look over at Cheryl and she would just be going at it. I am sure she took in enough sugar for the whole block. People out of sugar knew where to come: The Sugar Shack on the corner of Crystal and Fernwood.
The sugar, in cereal, was masked, of course, in creative packaging. Oh wait. No, they didn’t hide the fact that it was nothing but sugar. The cereal companies were upfront and honest back then. By God, if there was nothing but sugar in their boxes, they put it right on the cover. Like Sugar Pops.
Sugar Pops had a personality disorder. The Sybill (young people are lost with this reference) of cereals, so to speak. First, it was called Sugar Pops. They used Sugar Pops Pete, a prairie dog puppy who began pistol whipping us with Sugar Pops cereal in 1959. Pete was a cowboy, who carried his gun that had red and white spiraled barrels that I guess shot sugar at the bad guys to sweeten them up. Maybe that’s where the phrase, “Kill them with kindness” came from. They then changed the name to Sugar Corn Pops. Then they dropped the sugar altogether and called them Corn Pops. But do kids want to eat pops of corn? No, because they would then just eat popcorn, right? So, now, Kellogg’s is selling Pops. Just Pops. Pops of sugar. Back to Sugar Pops, right?
Companies had to change the names when they people started caring about their health. Companies started getting shifty. Hiding the facts. It’s like Kentucky FRIED Chicken is now KFC. They needed to hide the unhealthy FRIED part of their name. They couldn’t just be called KC, because it would be confused with the Sunshine Band. But back to cereal…
Another cereal we ate when we were young was Sugar Crisps. I remember this commercial. It too changed from Sugar Crisps to Super Sugar Crisps, to Super Golden Crisps to now Golden Crisps. Another company hiding their sugar. The shame.
Sugar Bear was suave and cool. He was voiced by actor Sterling Holloway, who made Sugar Bear sound like Dean Martin and sing like Bing Crosby. He really made you want to eat sugar.
The next one I mention only because my sister loved Puffa Puffa Rice. Sugar rice. Yum.
This cereal was described as “puffed and toasted rice with brown cane sugar” with “oceans of en-er-gy”. Maybe this is where my sister got the idea of eating brown sugar. The commercial said, “with brown cane sugar”. My mom used brown sugar when she made her delicious refrigerator cookies. So, I’m thinking that when there wasn’t any Puffa Puffa rice cereal in the house, Cheryl got out the brown sugar. Same thing, really.
The only cereal I would eat were Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes. And they didn’t taste good without sugar. I’m surprised I ate Rice Krispies. I hate rice. Rice as a breakfast food sounds disgusting. But, not when you have three fantastic characters giving me their “Snap, Crackle, Pop” routine. What a fun cereal to eat.
When I had children of my own, I tried to get them to eat healthier cereals, like Frosted Flakes. Tony the Tiger says they are, “GREAT!” I guess that means healthy, right?
I wish we could go back to the days when companies told us the truth. Their products contained a lot of sugar, but they told us so. Now, we have to decifer the information on the side of the box. We have to figure out what they are hiding.
Maybe kids should just sleep in until lunch.