[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Welcome back to Part II of "Often Forgotten Cereals." Last week, we delved into the not-so-mysterious Product 19. And today, as promised, we take a closer look at Basic 4.

Before doing any further research, I casually asked around SEHQ, "What exactly comprises the four of Basic 4?" Ben hypothesized that perhaps it's the words highlighted in green on the cover: Fruits, Almonds, Grains, and Delicious. Turns out he was, for the most part, correct. This is one darn delicious cereal.

So what exactly are the four in Basic 4? It's actually not that easy to find out. Apparently the internet has forgotten about Basic 4 as well. The side of the box was no help either, only noting a "mouth-watering mix of cranberries, raisins, almonds, and clusters." Okay, that's four items, but what about the flakes?

Well, deep research (another five minutes of poking around the internet) finally delivered the answer: an old commercial cites the "colorful mix of lightly toasted flakes, sweet and tangy fruits, and crunchy nuts. Splash on cold milk and you get something tasty from each of the four food groups." Aha! So it's about the food groups. With that mystery solved, it was time to dig in.

The fruits in Basic 4 are cranberries and raisins. The nuts are the abundant almond slices. And the grains, it appears, are the flakes, some puffy white things and clusters that look like yogurt covered raisins. Every element of this cereal is plentiful and delicious. I can't believe this is the first time I've had it. The weakest links are the flakes, which falls prey to condition also found in Total: they have a strange, unwelcome honey-ed sweetness. But this lessens in milk, so I forgive these flakes.

Basic 4 is a perfect "dinner" cereal—hearty and only slightly sweet, with decent nutritional value. I would hope that the presence of almonds would actually leave me feeling full after one bowl—an almost unheard-of phenomenon in the cereal world.

Any Basic 4 lovers out there? What other "forgotten" cereals should I explore? What's the deal with Honey Nut Clusters?

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About the author: Aside from doing an awesome job with her role as Advertising Sales Manager, Leandra Palermo secretly harbors a lifelong passion with all things crunchy and served with icy cold skim milk. This column represents the culmination of that love affair.


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