Monday, October 10, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Cereal

Brody (the most perfect grandson in the world) is visiting us and is a most mellow, gentle little man.  In addition to being "Mister Congeniality," he must be having a growth spurt because he has been a little Cheerios pig the past couple of days.  He has developed a cute two-fisted eating style and has ploughed through almost the entire box of cereal and not the snack-pack size, either.

The word "snack-pack" sucks me back through time and deposits me smack in the middle of a tour of Kellogg's of Battle Creek.  In my youth our family lived about a half an hour away, so I toured that plant plenty - from annual spring field trips to family vacations, with tours thrown in whenever we had out-of-town guests as well.  Yep I - and most kids who lived in the area - became well-versed in the fast and furious world of funnels filling endless boxes with sugary goodness.

What I remember vividly about the event was that there was a yellow stripe painted on the cement floor with signs everywhere saying, "For your protection, stay to the right of the stripe" which you can bet your Apple Jacks I did and did obsessively too.  Never did one saddle-shoed toe even graze that yellow danger zone, no sirree Bob.  I prided myself on being a model student and model students did what they were told, end of story. The plant was loud and scary and I did my level best to focus all my attention on getting out of there alive - which I clearly succeeded at, I might add.

It did not escape my attention though that the man who was leading the tour was wearing a hardhat but I was not, which seemed like a kind of shabby way to treat a guest in my elementary-school-sized mind.  It was noisy in there, hot and icky but there was an up side to it too which made all the drama worthwhile.  At the end of each and every tour we were ushered to a cafeteria where we received not only a snack pack containing two of my favorite cereals of all time - Sugar Smacks and Sugar Pops - but a scoop of vanilla ice cream with Froot Loops sprinkled all over the top.  Whoever thought of that glorious finishing touch was a genius and it was the highlight of my personal tour every single time I took it, including the last time when I was an adult and took my own son to see cereal being made. 

My daughters never experienced the pleasure of the tour though because somewhere along the way Kellogg's stopped giving it, citing "industrial espionage" as the reason.  Really?  I can understand why  spies wouldn't stoop to asking random kids in the area their nefarious cereal questions because most adults (even spies) aren't that comfortable conversing with children.  In truth, they probably didn't even think of it.  But why the spies didn't take all the pictures they needed in the decades that we all were encouraged to visit, I can't say.  Maybe they were just too busy munching Sugar Pops from their free snack packs to bother.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

The "Cereal City" tour now has a replica of the old production line,(the same one that we used to actually be able to tour) and a museum. It's a cool tourist spot, but the smell of corn flakes toasting is missing; and the snack packs are no longer given away :( I also think they stopped the ice cream with froot loops on top before my class tour happened, since I still love froot loops I'm sure I would remember that!! Glad you are enjoying some time with Brody! I bet he'd have eaten ALL the box already if they were froot loops :)