Usually my parents bought the “healthy” cereals, also known as the cereals that no kid in their right mind would ever consciously CHOOSE to eat. Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran, and in my house, Cheerios. Being the industrious kid that I was I compensated for Cheerios complete lack of flavor by dumping a cup of sugar in and THEN topping it off by pouring in a nice cold glass of chocolate milk. Mmmmmmm. Them’s good eats!
Every kid knew, though, that if they REALLY wanted something, it was obtainable. Every parent had a breaking point where it was worth the $3 for a box of cereal or candy or toys or Pop Tarts just to get the kid to shut up. Now that I’m an adult I see how hellish just going to the supermarket is. I can’t imagine dragging three kids along with you like my mom used to. Kids instinctively know this AND know how to exploit it for their benefit. As a kid it was just a matter of picking which battle was worth it. You didn’t want to over play your hand.
It was rare, but on occasion my battleground of choosing would be that rarest of all cereals, Frankenberry. I’d see Frankenberry, the (of course) Frankenstein monster of the Monster Cereals family, smiling up at me with that pink, stitched up, deformed head and know that I MUST HAVE THAT CEREAL.
Monster Cereals, made by the fine folks at General Mills, really had their heyday in the late-1970s/early-1980s with commercials and a seemingly endlessly expanding line of cereals. Count Chocula and Frankenberry were the most popular, followed by Boo Berry and Yummy Mummy. For some reason, Dingleberries never really caught on. Then one dark day I got out of bed and Monster Cereals had practically vanished off the face of the planet. Sure, an occasional box of Count Chocula would pop up, but the crown jewel of the Monster line, Frankenberry, was more or less impossible to find. I remember when I was about 17 driving 40 miles to a gas station in the middle of nowhere just because I’d heard from somebody that they actually carried Frankenberry. Sure, dust had gathered on the boxes and the cereal was older than the creepy guy behind the counter, but really, really old Franks were better than no Franks at all!
Maybe it’s due to their scarcity, but Franks have achieved an almost-mythical status amongst my friends and me. If cereal were a religion, Franks would be the body and milk would be the blood in our unholy communion.
Thank God for the internet. Besides being the ONLY place a civilized, cultured man would even THINK about feeding his hardcore porn addiction, it’s also now possible to order Frankenberry DIRECT FROM GENERAL MILLS. Yes, that is not a misprint. You can now have Franks delivered to your door! You don’t ever have to leave your house again! You see, to keep their trademark on the Monster Cereals General Mills has to produce a certain number of boxes every year (or so I theorize). It’s a specialty brand. It’s special.
For my last birthday my friend 8-Ball, also known as The Association’s™ Tea Bag, got me a CARTON of Monster Cereals. Two Count Chocula, one Boo Berry, and, yes, two Frankenberry. The Count and Boo got pushed to the back of the cupboard and I tore through the two boxes of Franks like Rosie O’Donnell ripping through a gross of Twinkies. Between mouthfuls I declared to my empty apartment that “This is the best birthday ever!”
There are a lot of cereals out there. A lot of good cereals. Over the course of this website I’ll probably write about a few of them. But Frankenberry is far and away the greatest cereal ever created by mortal man (if, in fact, they were created by man and not some uber-God of cereal). Marshmellows, cereal that’s a shade of pink not found in nature, and good ol’ Frankenberry himself make this one as worthy of the extra effort now as it was when you were a kid.