Cereal Killers

Remember porridge? Kids used to eat it and then you'd use the same stuff to go and feed the horses. You may not have liked it but you knew where you were with a bowl of porridge. Remember Weet-Bix? Kids used to eat that too. Since I've been out of the house most mornings for a year I've noticed that breakfast has changed a whole lot since 'El Papito' took control. There has been a nutritional revolution of the kind where the proletariat have decided they'll just rebel against the mean anglo breakfast Nazi and let themselves eat cake. I am amazed to find whole shelves dedicated to layers of inflated sugar cleverly disguising themselves as 'high energy' generators with the added benefit of warding off all 'fuzzies.' I know what fuzzies are. It's when your kid really hates maths and suddenly grows a woollen beard and then dies on their desk in an effort to avoid learning anything. I know this because I've seen it on the television. Just like I know that people who peddle McDonalds are really helping kids to be Olympic winning bike riders, and not, as some people have evilly suggested just getting really rich turning them into diabetic couch potatoes. Like I also know that kids will never choose apples when option B is chips. It's also great to know that if I give my daughter Nutri-grain she will turn into - a boy! This, as Nutrigrain Mums know is much better, and anyway, there's no room for girls in Nutrigrainland. But that's not all! There's more! She'll also (if she eats enough Nutrigrain) become an Iron Man and then come back from swimming from Antarctica to kiss me on the head and in a deep voice tell me what a great Mum I was for feeding her all that Nutrigrain all those years. TV taught me all this– and I know we might have one of the best runners and multi sportswomen in the country right here in the Rei, but everyone knows that only boys do real sport. It was with some amusement and a certain sense of pride that I opened the pantry cupboard, muttered that it was full of cereal with gender issues again and, on closer inspection found that the packet had been tagged in an ungainly hand. What had once read 'Iron Man Food' now said 'Girl Powr Food'. The Nutrigrain had obviously helped her to fight off the fuzzy logic of TV land. The thing that really gets me though is that these so called cereals blast out words like 'no artificial colourings or flavourings' '3 wholegrains' 'all natural' but what whole grain is shaped like a double helix? How many naturally occurring grains could you play a game of noughts and crosses on? Since when did breakfast stop being food and start being an enormous packet of very small contents ensuring our offspring's future economic success? Why, in good taste's name, would Milo be anything other than a drink? Should it be a capital offence to scream 'contains natural flavours' in huge letters and then hide the 30 cm list of unnatural colourings and flavours that it also contains in tiny numbers along the inside seam of the packet? It could be worse I suppose – they could have gone the way of Argentina and had mate (communally consumed green tea – sipped from a silver pipe, my mother, a trained nurse, refers to it as 'the hepatitis straw') and chocolate biscuits. Or the way of Thailand – dried, semi fermented salted fish and rice as a kick start to the day - both options probably having about twice as much nutritional value and at least not likely to cause any gender bending.

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