The Cap’n and Me


I’ve always been a huge fan of breakfast cereal. It’s been a favorite food category for as long as I can recall. I was doing some reading this weekend and discovered something I found quite interesting about one of my favorite breakfast cereals – Cap’n Crunch.

Over the years Quaker Oats has rolled out several different versions of Cap’n Crunch. The original has always been my favorite. I am unable to stop eating it, even after it has cut up the roof of my mouth.  Quaker Oats, the manufacturer of the product, was sued over an issue revolving around the Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries cereal.

It seems a woman in California purchased Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries because she believed “crunch berries” indicated she was eating real fruit. After four years (yea, four years) of purchasing and eating the cereal, she discovered, to her utter dismay, that the “berries” were, in fact, just brightly colored cereal balls and did not contain any actual fruit.

In throwing out the case, the judge said hearing this case “…would require this Court to ignore all concepts of personal responsibility and common sense. The Court has no intention of allowing that to happen.”

So, Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries is not a good source of fruits and vegetables? Go figure.

But I digress. My connections to the original crunchy, sugary delight are several.

First off, it’s my all time favorite cold cereal. I’ve been eating it most of my life. I could not count high enough to guess how many of the square shaped corn/oat pieces I have consumed. Cap’n Crunch was introduced to the market in 1963, when I was just four years old. I’ve been crunching on it ever since.

Interestingly, it was developed, in part, by a local woman; Pamela Low, a microbiologist from New Hampshire. And this brings us to the my second connection.

She was a flavorist at Arthur D. Little in Cambridge for over thirty years. She was there when I was there. I don’t mean to imply that we worked together in the food labs or lunched in the reservations only dining room, but I’m sure we knew some of the same people. So, in a game of six degrees of Kevin Bacon, we’re only one degree apart. That’s practically family. My next connection is even closer.

My father was Captain Crunch. I know, right now you’re flashing back to “The Empire Strikes Back,” but he was not Cap’n Crunch, but Captain Crunch. It was a nickname from his days in the Marines. I don’t know a lot about what my Dad was like as a drill instructor, but i figure, if the Marines were calling him Captain Crunch, that made him the hard asses’ hard ass.

Finally, and I really don’t believe I even have to write this connection? It’s so obvious. The Cap’n and the Shipguy?

They go together like… well… like cereal and milk.

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