Cold As Ice.

An ICEE, the blend of slushy ice and syrup or soda more commonly sold as a Slurpee at 7-11s, was a summertime reward. If my friend Dale and I were good while our mothers shopped at Kmart we’d stop at the ICEE stand, with its spinning bubbles of frozen blend and big happy polar bear slurping a cold drink instead of devouring a seal or going extinct because of climate change. ICEEs came in two flavors: cherry and Coke. For some reason blue raspberry wasn’t available around here. Once I tried the Coke flavor and, while refreshing, it was still just frozen Coke. The rest of the time I went with cherry.

Before it was handed to me I always planned to hold it long enough for the ice to melt so I could stir it all together, and I always plunged right in, poking perfectly round holes in the scarlet frosty mound with my straw, searching for the sweet spots which were unevenly distributed but so wonderfully sweet. Finally I’d end up with pinkish water and ice and I’d tip the cup up, not wanting any tangy drop to go to waste.

When I saw ICEE cereal, with that same big friendly polar bear, in a store with no ICEE machines, I had to try it. I’d been working without a break. If I couldn’t have an actual ICEE this, however different, would be my reward. The box even promised, “Cools your mouth as you eat!” Did this mean it also had mint flavor? I was eager to find out.

The cereal was, as advertised, blue, red, and blended spheres, although not as brightly colored as pictured. They were like an anemic version of Captain Crunch’s Oops! All Berries! with a limited palette. The red ones had a distinct cherry tang while the blue ones were just sweet, until that bitter aftertaste set in. Wait, bitter? It was as though there’d been a sugar shortage so they could only mostly cover up the flavor of the pasty wheat base. I hoped adding milk would even out the flavor.

It didn’t. But at least it didn’t heighten the bitter aftertaste which was mild enough that it could be overcome by taking the next bite. Then the cold set in.

It’s difficult to describe the cold. It wasn’t mint, which offers a pleasant tingling sensation as well as coolness and its own distinct flavor. This felt more like they’d somehow managed to slip in a sliver of dry ice and instead of dissipating it spread. It had the added effect of bringing the bitterness forward. By the time I scooped up the last bite—I’d paid three bucks for this cereal, dammit, I wasn’t going to let anything go to waste, gobbling it up as fast as I could to get it over with—that was all there was.

ICEE cereal was supposed to take me back to one of the best parts of the summers of my youth, getting rewarded for being good, but instead it was one of the worst things: a punishment when I hadn’t done anything wrong. Like their polar bear mascot, who looks so sweet and happy, the truth was cold and bitterness, although no one will be sorry when the cereal goes extinct.

But at least they didn’t include a Coke flavor.

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  1. mydangblog

    Yuck! But seriously, how do they get it to make your mouth feel cold? Is it really some kind of weird chemical? Did you eat it with milk and does it also make the milk turn to ice? I’m glad you took the hit for the rest of us so we don’t feel compelled to try it!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It really was some weird chemical that made my mouth feel cold. I ate it with milk but it didn’t seem to affect the milk. And I think it was only the “blue raspberry” ones that had the weird cold chemical. It is a genuinely bizarre cereal. Most cereals say they have “eight essential vitamins and nutrients”. This one just makes me think it’s full of carcinogens.


    Thanks for taking one for the team, Chris.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3853: Asking for what you wantMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I took one for the team this time. I may never do it again if I can help it.


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