by Johnny Guano
Misadventures in Healthy eating
|My mother was a nutritionist. Green was the dominant color of her meals. Everything was healthy and green...green peppers stuffed with roasted vegetables, escarole sprayed with olive oil, steamed broccoli and dandelion weed leaves, things like that. Healthy yes, but I was damned skinny. When I was 12 I had little interest in food. I was sick of green, but my tastes would change...I would discover something...Purple!
This was the summer a couple of new cereals hit the market. It was the era of the 'twin' cereal concept...Quisp and Quake, Count Chocula and Frankenberry. Now something came along that was right up my alley. Sir Grapefellow, the grape flavored cereal. Sir Grapefellow was a World War One ace, dressed in purple and flying a purple plane. His stylized picture showed him flying happily along, making the 'okay' sign with his hand to let us know everything was okay. His twin and nemesis was the evil but happy German, Baron Von Reddenberry.
Sir Grapefellow was similar to Lucky Charms, except the flavor was distinctly artificial sugary concord grape. There were little bits of stale purple marsmallows that felt sinfully delicious when you ground them between your back teeth. When you poured your milk over this sweet concoction, it turned a beautiful lilac color. You couldn't stop eating it once you started, either. As i said, I never ate much, but this was the only time in my life I went through a box of cereal at once sitting. The maddening sugary grape essence drove me into a frenzy.
As the summer went on, my eating habits changed. Three times a day my main meal consisted of Sir Grapefellow. I could not stop. Side dishes, you say? Yes. Oreos. I had at least eight oreos at every sitting.The chemical chocolate and sugared lard taste of these cookies perfectly complimented the power of the artificial grape. But that's not all...what about the beverage? Hmmm.
I also discovered Grape Tang that summer. They don't make it anymore, and God knows I've looked. This wasn't the era of those clumsy squat plastic containers, either. Back then, Tang came in glass jars with metal lids. The spoon made a pretty sound as you scooped out the purple sugar crystals. Clink, it would go. Clink. Everytime I made a glass, it left purple stains on the linoleum. My mother would get sick to her stomach every time she heard 'clink'.
Sir Grapefellow didn't last long. By the end of the summer he had been shot down. I may have been his only true devotee. It is just as well that he is gone, though. I'm still alive. I switched back to green after all.