Last week, Mr. Breakfast published a list of the greatest all-time breakfast cereals as voted on by visitors to the breakfast recipe site. The clear winner was Quaker’s Quisp with 5,551 votes. And since those results came out, it's become apparent that some people have never had the good fortune of eating a bowl of Quisp. Some were likely even unfamiliar with Quisp himself, the pink propeller-topped alien who graces every bright blue box of crunchy corn cereal, because Quisp disappeared from grocery stores in the late 1970s due to shrinking sales. It’s all a real shame, because Quisp is certainly, without question the best cereal of all time.
A great cereal should be flavorful, even in milk, and you shouldn’t need to dress it up with sugar or fruit. When eaten with milk, the cereal should not get soggy in the time it takes to eat a bowl. Lastly, it should be pleasing to the eye. Truly great cereals should resemble neither pet food nor plastic.
Quisp is supposed to look kind of like a flying saucer (hence the alien mascot). In reality, the cereal bits look more like flattened, golden yellow soccer balls. The main ingredients in Quisp are simple: corn flour, sugar, oat flour, brown sugar, coconut oil, salt. Quisp is similar to Kix (a cereal that didn’t make Mr. Breakfast’s Top 100) in texture, but isn’t as bland. Quisp’s flavor is instead much closer to that of Cap’n Crunch, but Quisp has the clear edge by being crunchy without ever poking holes in your mouth. (Darn you Cap’n and your sharp corners!)
Quisp is absolutely delicious with milk. Whole milk, especially, because all cereal is better with whole milk, and because the milk provides a nice, creamy counterpoint to the Quisp’s substantial heft and corny sweetness. Unlike Rice Krispies (#16 on the list), Quisp doesn’t get soggy. And contrary to Lucky Charms (#14), Quisp is also perfectly fine on its own, eaten in handfuls. I have enjoyed it for breakfast with milk, plain as a snack, and for dessert in the form of a marshmallow Quispy treat, and have never tired of its sweet corn flavor or consistent crunch.
Quisp goes above and beyond the primary requirements for a great cereal, though. The Quisp box is a great shade of blue with a retro design that looks really good as you carry it back and forth between your office kitchen and your desk, as I did for weeks after realizing I had found the perfect cereal. And then there is, of course, its scarcity. Like a sold out Mansur Gavriel bag or Hamilton tickets, the fact that you can’t find it on every grocery store shelf just makes it cooler. No other cereal has the same cachet.