Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ka-Boom!

When my parents got married, they had very little to their name. At their wedding, my dad borrowed $10 to pay the minister. So, by the time they were expecting me, they used a lot of government programs to put food on the table. We had a wonderful garden full of vegetables, but food stamps, WIC vouchers, and government cheese and peanut butter handouts kept other items on our table, like meat, milk, and cereal. Most of the time, we scored. In fact, the government cheese tasted much better than the wimpy Kraft singles wrapped in plastic. The cheese was a huge brick of cheese, which we had to slice ourselves.

But when it came to the cereals, man oh man, life was bad. I still have a beef about the WIC-approved cereal. These cereals were not "normal" cereals by any stretch of the imagination. They served as yet one more way to separate the rich from the poor. The wealthy (and by wealthy, I mean not on food stamps) kids got Lucky Charms. We got Kaboom.

Have you ever heard of Kaboom? Probably not because no one in his or her right mind actually eats Kaboom by choice. We ate Kaboom because we had a WIC voucher that meant my family did not have to pay for the box of Kaboom cereal. Of all the WIC-approved cereals, it was the closest to Lucky Charms. But, Kaboom had some serious differences.

Instead of a leprechaun, Kaboom had a demented looking clown on the box. Instead of fun-shaped marshmallows the size of pencil erasers, Kaboom had marshmallows the size of baby amoebas. Instead of simple frosted cereal pieces, Kaboom had dark multicolored, scary smiley-shaped cereal pieces. Some of the cereal pieces were a deep shade of eggplant; others were about the color of a dark forest at night.

Even though I really wanted Lucky Charms, and we could have used the food stamps to buy Lucky Charms, my frugal mom made us eat the WIC cereals first. She never let a voucher expire, and I swear we ate our weight in Kaboom cereal. The stuff was dense, not light and fluffy like Lucky Charms. And, you could really taste the added vitamins and minerals that all poor people's kids surely need more of. I wonder if they sprayed the iron right on top of the marshmallow bits because those things always had a mysterious sheen to them.

I found myself wondering if Kaboom cereal still exists. Not that I plan to buy a box for my own personal enjoyment, but Buzz (who grew up in a much more privileged, Lucky Charm type of cereal eating household) has never heard of Kaboom, much less tried it. I kind of want him to experience it. Just once.

So, I did a little research (Googling) about Kaboom cereal and found some interesting facts:
  • Kaboom cereal is indeed available, for $4.30 per 10 oz box.
  • In Kill Bill, a Kaboom cereal box makes a cameo.
  • Kaboom is also the name of a toilet cleaner.
  • Kaboom cereal is part of the General Mills family. And so is Lucky Charms.

2 comments:

Erica said...

Funny... I still crave Kaboom and King Vitamin on a regular basis ;)

ROBERT WEST said...

Kaboom & King Vitamin...YES! I was so grateful for those cereals. The "dust" from King Vitamin in ice-cold milk! Winning!!!

 
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