Expectations. Like those once reserved for the budding young sports writer whose stories were to be gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated by now, the promise of something great often leads us and those around us to disappointment or disillusionment when those promises don’t exactly come to fruition. God knows Kriss Proctor and the Navy offense were supposed to cap off the 2011 season with more than “just” a win over Army, and goodness attests to the fact that Boise State’s “dream team” had a perfect run to a BCS game — or, dare I suggest, Title Game — had they just been able to meet expectations and make a damn field goal.
Frosted Toast Crunch is a cereal of great expectations. Nevermind that its brother in sweetness Cinnamon Toast has a cult following greater than many small religions, but its appeal to the memory of the bygone French Toast Crunch makes its recent appearance on shelves a must-try for any child of the 1990s. French Toast Crunch, for the more football inclined readers of the audience, is something like the ’72 Dolphins. It was perfect. Or at least as perfect as sweetened corn in crunchy form with vitamins and minerals could be. Yet, like those “perfect” Dolphins, the recreation of its overwhelming awesomeness has never quite been repeated. There have been close attempts, no doubt, but has anything truly matched it? The answer, my friends, is “no.” And so, in all its discontinued and timeless perfection, French Toast Crunch lives on in growing legend – the cereal, we say, that broke our hearts when it was discontinued on these American shores.
To be perfectly honest I can’t remember much about French Toast Crunch. Like watching highlights of the ’72 Dolphins that came well before my time, my ability to come to grasp with its perfection as a breakfast cereal is based on conjecture. That being said, I feel confident in proclaiming that the new Frosted Toast Crunch cereal is not French Toast Crunch. To use a football analogy (new readers…get used to it) it’s not even the 2007 Patriots or 2011 Packers. What it is is like so many NFL teams that go 12-4 or 11-5 during any given year. A good, but not quite great, cereal that leaves you sitting in front of your television after the Division Championship Game asking yourself what could have been.
Looking at Frosted Toast Crunch is like looking at Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The “Frosted” part isn’t so much what you’d see on Frosted Cheerios or Frosted Flakes (those being more of a glaze) but rather a liberally applied coating of sugar. As you can see from the pictures, the coating sticks to your fingers with even the slightest touch, making snack-baggage a dubious difficulty, especially should you attempt to snack on these on the job or near a computer.
The taste seems similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch minus the cinnamon, which, despite the promise of cinnamon on the box, really should have been featured more prominently. Despite only nine grams of sugar per 30 oz. (as opposed to 10 grams in CTC) the sweetness seems greater, although I still find it a bit one-note. As for the vanilla flavor, I suppose it’s there, but I need prompting from the back-of-the-box description before noticing it. Not that one-note sugar and slight vanilla taste makes for a bad cereal. To be honest, the toasted wheat flour and rice base does offer more variety in texture and chew than, say, Frosted Flakes. But like an offense that gets away from a balanced running and passing attack, it can only take me so far. I miss the assertive cinnamon flavor and want something to richen the coating, but find both desires unmet, and settle for trying it with milk.
Interestingly enough, Frosted Toast Crunch is one of the few cereals I seem to enjoy more with milk than dry. Like Cinnamon Toast Crunch it takes on a pleasant level of sogginess while still retaining its sugary sheen, transferring an ideal sweetness to the milk that a long-standing lacto-phobe like myself can appreciate. What you’re left with is an end-milk that would be banned in most public school systems due to added sugar, as well as a dissolving crunch in the wheat and rice base.
Would I buy Frosted Toast crunch again? Eh, maybe. Overall, I still like Cinnamon Toast Crunch better, and find the taste of the cinnamon sugar to hold a hint of the butter flavor that once made French Toast Crunch so popular. And perhaps that undermines the very idea of Frosted Toast Crunch. Expecting a step forward to the return to French Toast Crust — the return, if you will, to the perfect season — I instead find something which is just good. I have had many good cereals though, and I’ve watched many good football teams. But excellent? No, not even in the same ballpark. Ultimately, Frosted Toast Crunch isn’t a failure because it’s not good. But it’s a failure because it can’t live up to something it promises — through indirect marketing or my own unrealistic expectations — and subjected to a sea of sugary milk and woulda, coulda, shouldas.
- Price: $2.50 (on sale at Topps)
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 10%