While up in the Donegore garden centre, I discovered alongside pastiches of the “keep calm and carry on” posters, sentimental tea towels and other kitsch, boxes of Lucky Charms were being sold.
Selling cereal alongside ornaments is odd, yes, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen Lucky Charms in person. I’m serious! As far as I am aware, Lucky Charms are not sold in Northern Ireland. Every mildly tourist-y location in the country will try and shill plush leprechauns, leprechaun keychains, leprechaun clothing and all manner of leprechaun tat, but no one has capitalised on selling leprechaun approved foodstuffs. I don’t even know if they’re sold in England; a few years ago an acquaintance in England threatened to send me some, though nothing came of it. I can’t remember if she just bought hers from a local store, or if she had to import them. Either way, it was a kind offer!
This box cost £7. That’s not cheap. For reference, cereals in Northern Ireland are kinda bog-standard! It’s all flavoured flakes or rice crispies or “o” shapes, and the very thought of marshmallows in cereal confuses and confounds me. You can find Kellogg’s stuff on every shelf for about £3 or more, and cheap shops will usually stock no-name al-Qaeda cereals* for a pound, and that’s about it. If you want your cereal infested with candy or deluged in dripping honey, then you’ll need to enter the shaky world of homebrew cereals. That’s a bad road.
* It’s a Max & Paddy’s Road To Nowhere joke, nothing to worry about.
The box is practically a big ol’ advertisement for DC Comics. There’s a mini Justice League comic book inside, a cut-out Batman mask on the back, and it promotes the Green Lantern cartoon on the side. Why they don’t just have Lucky join the Green Lantern Corps is beyond me.
My only direct experience with the Justice League is through one episode of Justice League Unlimited episode “This Little Piggy”, which only had Batman and Wonder Woman, and they barely even shared the screen if I recall. The comic’s pretty bog-standard, save for a couple of goofy looking panels. They also have online continuations! For all the bad shit I hear about DC nowadays, I give them credit for trying to hook in kids with these things.
That said, I can’t even look at any splash image of the Justice League without hearing in my head, “NEVER FEAR, WHITE PEOPLE ARE HERE!”
While I’m making bad jokes, it tells you to get a parent to cut out the Batman mask. That must be painful for him.
So, after all this build-up, what’s the cereal like? Well, it’s not bad. It’s definitely a different experience from the boring ol’ cereals you get over here. The bulk of the dish has a strange resemblance to Sugar Puffs, though I haven’t eaten those in years so I’m probably talking rubbish. The marshmallows aren’t a completely alien addition, they work pretty well. I can still taste the sugar rush, though, so I probably won’t be eating it right before bedtime. That’s one of life’s mysteries solved.
Funnily enough, the garden centre had a couple of other American foodstuffs available! At least, I thought they were American imports – I read that a few of these are available in the Republic of Ireland, apparently? I can’t personally vouch for it without catching a few trains in that directing and carousing through a few grocery stores, but hey, interesting info.
Reese’s Pieces advertises that they got peanut butter in crunchy shells! I became a sucker for peanut butter chocolate back when Wes mailed me stuff a couple of years ago (and has been threatening to send more – and I’ve nothing to repay him with! Do they have Jelly Tots in the USA?), so I was looking forward to these. They’re okay. They taste nice and all, but at this scale you can barely taste the peanut butter; it’s like eating M&Ms or Smarties, and then something in the back of your mouth reminds you, “oh, there’s a lick of peanut butter in these. Well ain’t that something.” It’s a small bag, and I got a bit sick of them halfway through. My sweet tooth is not what it used to be. Can’t compare to Take 5s, though.
I’m familiar with the old Tootsie Pop commercial, but I never knew of Tootsie Rolls. It’s basically just toffee, isn’t it? It was okay, but I can’t say I was too impressed. I get the impression the real excitement is about the lollies, because how many times do you see a wad of chocolate on a stick? … that is what it is, right? Man, I’m gonna be so disappointed if it isn’t.
… at one point I had a good way of segueing into this topic, but it’s gone now: It’s funny how other countries interpret American pop culture, so to speak. Thanks to the internet or even just regular media, it’s so easy to discover all kinds of in-jokes and references to bits of pop culture that are complete unknown outside the country. That old ad of the Native American crying about garbage is parodied a lot, but it wasn’t until the internet I ever saw the original; until then I had only ever seen parodies, like in Wayne’s World 2 and The Simpsons. I thought the former was where it originated from, and thought the latter was referencing it. Funny how things work.