Last week I was wondering around a dumpy Maryland Walmart while I waited for my mom’s car to get checked out by the guys at the shop. If you’ve ever been to a Maryland Walmart you should know that they ain’t like the ones out West. Those Walmarts – which are like stadiums (only cleaner) in and of themselves — have grocery stores the size of a Wegmans, and probably enough pants and shirts on sale to adequately clothe a third world country. They’ve staffed by mostly nice young people, always have free sample booths, and play host to the great American experiment of shoppers mingling from all income levels.
Walmarts in Maryland aren’t like that. Yes, it’s politically incorrect to say, but if you’ve ever been to one you know they’re by-and-large poorly stocked dumps. Dumps I can deal with. Poorly stocked? That’s a different story.
It’s not often you see two tall blond-haired white guys in suits at these kinds of dumps. It’s even less often that you see them with a grocery cart of 30-oz. cereal bags from the ultra-cheap Malt-o-Meal company. But I saw just that on Monday, and having seen the spectacle more than a few times out in Utah, I immediately yelled, “Hey Elders!” and made a beeline past the Marshmallow Froot Loops.
Long story short, LDS missionaries, and cheap Utes alike, love their Malt-o-Meal. When I went to college, I too, ate and bought plenty of Malt-o-Meal cereal. And thanks to a distribution center located near the campus of Utah State, there was always an ample supply in both of our dining galls. You know what? I liked it, and to this day even favor certain Malt-o-Meal flavors to the “original” big cereal company flavors.
Fate would seem to stalk me in this quest to recapture some of my college enthusiasm when I saw a bag of Chocolate Frosted Flakes at Big Lots later that week. I’ve been kind of down in the dumps lately, and knowing chocolate solves most of life’s qualms, I gladly forked over a dollar. My first taste experience with these was an attempt to preempt any Valentine’s Day singles misery by mixing the flakes in yogurt and strawberries. I can’t say the cocoa flavor dominated, although it did leave an odd brownish color in the yogurt. The sweetness is singular and reminds me a lot of Cocoa Pebbles, which is to say it’s entirely one-note. I can deal with one-note cereal, although I didn’t enjoy these as much as the Kelloggs Chocolate Frosted Flakes, which I thought had a more oily sheen that facilitated the transfer of cocoa powder flavor from flake to taste bud.
Like Kelloggs’ version though, these are actually pretty good to snack on their own or to add to a mix. With something salty and corn-based (I like Corn Nut Chips) they work well to provide a hint of cocoa and burst of sweetness, and on their own they give off more of that REAL COCOA flavor.
For a buck I’d buy these again. I’m much more of a trail mixer anyways, and together with some chocolate chips, craisens, and something moderately healthy, they make a nice morning pick-me-up. They also bring a smile of nostalgia to my face, which is all I could ever ask for from refined sugar and corn, anyways.
- Price: $1.00 ($1.99 retail)
- Ranking: 6/10
- Chances I’d Buy Again: 55%