Pointless Nostalgia: Puffa Puffa Rice

Generally speaking, I’m not one for nostalgia.   Get a bunch of people of a certain vintage together in a living room or a bar and a strange mist descends over their eyes – before you know where you are, they’re dredging up half-memories of Spangles, Captain Pugwash, school medicals (including “the cold spoon”), Creamola Foam and Thalidomide.

Still, sometimes, a fleeting recollection of a certain product will conjure up tastes, smells and emotions of a bygone, never-to-return era; not a demand for an immediate return (because most comebacks don’t work), just remembrance of youth and a gentler time of your life.

And so to Kellogg’s Puffa Puffa Rice.  This was a 1960s/70s staple which seemed to disappear all of a sudden, much to my sound and fury, in 1975.  There were several box designs before my time but the last one I remember featured useless, mute glove puppet Sooty brandishing a magic wand.  Coincidentally, his side-kick, the squeaking “dog” Sweep, featured on the box of “chocolate-flavoured” version, KoKo Crispies which, shortly after, became CoCo Pops.

Puffa Puffa Rice were light, sugar-coated pellets that went typically soggy and slimy in milk but provided morning after morning of pleasure for the fledgling me – even if they weren’t doing me any nutritional good whatsoever.  All the same, one look at that old box can still bring a tear to my eye.

Also from this era were Golden Nuggets, an even more sugary cereal which became the subject of a long ‘bring-it-back’ campaign by old people with foggy hindsight faculties, even ending up in the lyrics of The All Seeing I‘s 1st Man In Space in 1999.  It appears that Nestlé were listening, as Golden Nuggets were relaunched shortly afterwards.  And, of course, they turned out to be utterly revolting after all these years.

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38 Responses to “Pointless Nostalgia: Puffa Puffa Rice”

  1. Sooty was NOT useless.. he was the cutest one. Although that picture of him looks like one of his cereal-advertising-pioneering forefathers. God, you’re old, aren’t you?

  2. hey johnnie,
    welcome to blogland!! hope all’s well and stuff

    leigh

  3. Johnnie Says:

    Lauren – Yes, I am old. But as for Sooty, the “cute” mute – exactly what use was he without Harry Corbett’s dexterous fist?

    Leigh – Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here. I still feel like Willie O’Dea on a fact-finding mission but I’m sure that will wear off in time.

  4. “Harry Corbett’s dexterous fist” …no need for that at all.(I know,I know, that’s what Sooty said etc..)

  5. I was the Hawaiian Dancer on the Kellogg’s Puffa Puffa Rice Breakfast Cereal Commercial, shot in Hawaii, in the 1960’s. (On YouTube)
    I was just on the “Finale” of “America’s Got Talent” – Season 3 – shot on October 1, 2008, as one of the “Audition All Stars” (On YouTube) I’m wearing the Red Dress Juggling with my Poi Balls from Hawaii and Dancing – High-Kick, Show-Girl Floor-Work, with Upside-Down Splits and Exercise Gymnastics. I would love to perform on another commercial for Kellogg’s. You can see me Singing “God Bless America” at a 4th of July, 2008, Ballroom Dance. (On YouTube) Love, Anita Aloha

  6. I still make faux puffa puffa by sprinkling generous heaps of sugar & cinnamon onto ordinary rice krispies. I own a plastic grass skirt , fake flower lei, and actual cocoanut bra, and yes I have worn them whilst eating said “cereal.” So?

  7. Missy – I really wish I WAS a casting director for a new Puffa Puffa Rice ad. Alas, I don’t have to choose between the original Hawaiian dancer and an ambitious upstart – or even judge a Miss Coconut Bra contest. I might follow up your interesting serving suggestion, though.

  8. The reason Puffa Puffa Rice tasted so good is because it was covered with a brown sugar syrup. The closest taste to this nowadays would be General Mill’s Frosted Cheerios. They use a brown sugar syrup on these… Cannot figure out why Kelloggs does NOT see all the internet postings from those who loved Puffa Puffa Rice and try to bring it back – at least to test it or for a trial run??

  9. Bill – I completely agree about Cheerios, they really do take me back. Kelloggs probably do read all these things and they may even be quite happy about it. But they’re also very likely to be cagey about bringing back a sweet, kiddie-friendly product just to appease misty-eyed people in their 40s… you’re right, though, a trial run would be good. Oh, and they MUST bring back the Sooty box too…

  10. [...] be in with a shout.  Firstly, here’s the ad featuring our friend Anita Aloha, followed by last year’s post as it appeared, [...]

  11. I ate this cereal regularly for about 10 years, having my last portion around January 1984.

    In the mid-70s it was “Sooty’s favourite breakfast” which should have ranked it about “Sweep’s favourite breakfast” at least in priority as Sooty was the more major character than Sweep. Yet during the 10 years I never once saw a commercial on TV for it, they never put it in large packets and some top supermarkets refused to sell it and we had to often get it in cornershops instead. Then they stopped it entirely.
    In the later years they had some kind of dragon on the front cover.

    I have some boxes, by the way.

  12. I remember puffa puffa rice, but not the cereal, the jingle! I sing it and no one seems to recognize it! Kind of a jingle freak, I guess.

  13. i apparently just talked to the creator of puffa puffa rice while i was grocery shopping. i was weary about it, but then as i was heading to the car i saw a van whose license plate read ‘PUFFA’. he actually showed me his check book where it read Puffa at the end of his name, which i forgot. i think his name is rick something. i could be wrong though. i just thought some one else would think this was interesting.

  14. I so missed puffa puffa rice, for me , it was a great treat in the morning which i really looked foreward to, then one day for no reason, no explination given, it was no longer on the shelves of shops or supermarkets alike.
    As a child , i felt cheated that my favourite breakfast was no longer available.
    Bring back Puffa puffa rice, for today kids and for big kids like me that never stopped loving that amazing taste of PUFFA PUFFA RICE
    I have sent a message to kellogs to bring back puffa, how about a facebook page ?
    Rachel

    • I think anything that helps bring it back at least temporarily has got to be good. I do still worry it’ll return exactly as it was and our grown-up taste buds will actually think it’s crap!

  15. puffa puffa rice was wonderful – I often tell my daughter about it – it was my favourite cereal – it’s marvellous to find that I’m not alone

    • Ann, you are not alone. A chance conversation regarding cereals from my youth got me Googling and onto this page. There must be thousands of us ol’ farts who grew up on a daily portion of brown sugar coated puffed rice.

  16. It’s good to know I wasn’t imagining it. Puffa Puffa rice and the Sooty box are generally a hazy memory. I don’t remember getting them on a regular basis but somehow the box and taste trigger one particularly vivid fleeting memory of a holiday. I can’t have been more 4.

  17. Oh, how I wish they would bring back Puffa Puffa Rice – more refined than wheat, corn, or oat-based cereals. I missed them as soon as they went, & time has not healed the raw, bleeding wound in my cereal soul.
    I’m one of those who *likes* soggy cereal – I choose cereal based on how nice it will be soggy(which will happen inevitably).
    A religion based upon the worship of the holy trinity of nice cereals, good strong cups of tea & pleasant biscuits could do very well, at least in the UK.

  18. wiseoldbird Says:

    I loved Puff Puffa Rice – remember it into the 80s (I think) so not til 1975 as lead suggests?
    Interesting about Cheerios having same sort of coating cause Cheerios are one of (if not the) current favourite for me BUT i would so love it if they started Puff Puffa Rice again…
    Also like Lucky Charms – which were withdrawn in the UK – now I have to buy expensive imports from specialist shops – but so worth it. I was hoping that maybe Puff Puffa Rice was also available as an import but seems not. Bah!

    • Perhaps you had a specialist supplier even back then! My childhood was spent in Scotland, so it’s always possible they existed elsewhere in the UK for longer – I’m sure I would have remembered, and carried on scoffing them, otherwise. Perhaps, and I’m only speculating, they remained part of the Variety Packs for longer? Thanks for getting in touch – keep enjoying the Lucky Charms! :)

  19. SixtiesChic Says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one out there nostalgic about discontinued cereals from my childhood. Here are 2 reasonable facimile for a trip down memory lane…..

    1) Puffa Puffa rice.. In a cereal bowl mix 1/2 cup plain puffed rice(available at any Wal*Mart in a bag for $1.00 in cereal isle) and
    1/2 cup sweetened puffed wheat(Kelloggs smacks or Post golden Crisp or Malt o meal version). Add milk and enjoy.

    2)Pink Panther flakes.. One cup corn flakes in a bowl. Sprinkle one teaspoon strawberry Qwik powder. Add milk and enjoy.

    Wish I could figure out how to get the taste of Buc*Wheats(GM)…
    Pure maple syrup over Wheaties perhaps???

  20. Yeah leave Sooty alone…never did any harm to anyone. I’m nearly fifty now and own a brown rabbit called Bun-Bun so what ?!

    As for the campaign to lobby Kellogg’s to bring back our Puffa Puffa rice to the shelves…if nobody else on here has the guts well I have and I’m going to email Kelloggs tomorrow and do just that..can I expect support from people on here or just lame “…Oh it doesn’t really matters”
    …we need to get something done about this and soon.

  21. I loved Puffa Puffa Rice. It was my favourite Cereal in the late 70’s and early 80’s (yes it was still around in the early 80’s as I remember buying a box from Asda when I was first going out with my girlfriend in 1982 / 83.

    The taste was very distinct, and I’m sure if they re-released it they would not get the recipe right or the same as it was. The ingredients and processes would have to be the same.

    One of my other favourite cereals from that period was Golden Nuggets and that has recently been re-launched, but it’s not the same. The size, texture / consistency is not he same. They are softer and sugar / sweetness is different.

    It’s not just about rose tinted glasses or that our tastes change now as an adult from a kid. Companies just use the same name with no intention of retaining the same ingredients or processes used to make the original.

    So if they did relaunch Puffa Puffa Rice it would probably be a poor shadow of its former self. Best just be contented with the fond, nostalgic memories of your childhood.

    Terry

    • I agree with you on Golden Nuggets, Terry – so disappointing. Another correspondent suggested Cheerios are a decent alternative to PPR – they’ll have to suffice. You’re right, if they came back, they’d be different. Much like The Stone Roses, it’s a comeback that just wouldn’t work.

  22. Puncturedbicycle Says:

    Johnnie, I also grew up in Scotland and fondly remember Puffa Puffa Rice but I was born in ’77 so it must have been around in the early ’80’s here too. I remember that the packet had some kind of green creature on it, probably a dragon as someone else has suggested. Bring it back Kelloggs!

    • Hi there, welcome! These 80s rumours are stirring latent memories in me – this is the problem with nostalgia, isn’t it? You somehow assume that as you get older, everything great stops. Glad your memories are as fond as mine, PB.

  23. I was a contractor on Kelloggs in Manchester in the late 80’s and early 90’s and there was an area of the 4th floor of the factory that still had signs up for puffa puffa rice…..

    As for buying some, the last boxes I remember buying were from a petrol station near Halton Hospital in about 1986… I bought their entire stock of 5 boxes!

    • That’s amazing, Baz – talk about an expert witness. Well done on buying up the last of the stock, I really hope you enjoyed them. Not jealous at all. ;)

      • Is anybody up for this…there is a petition website called 38 degrees
        which collects signatures over the net on every subject under the sun from saving Forestland, NHS ,UFO Disclosure and allsorts of other things. They did win a victory last year stopping Cameron from selling off Forestland with10,000 signatures.

        If I set one up for bringing back Puffa Puffa Rice, post the link up here, how many people here at willing to sign it ? The way it works is you sign it yourself and forward it to all your family and friends to sign.

        It won’t stop there – I then intend to lobby Jacobs on bringing back the Club Golf (plain chocolate) biscuit.

      • Do it, Martin! I will write a separate blog post to highlight the link too – at last, a proper cause to get behind. Good luck with the Club Golf too, another wonderful old memory! I admire your spirit, my friend.

      • DONE !!! This should work if you Johnnie and everyone else on here goes to:

        http://38degrees.uservice.com/forums/78585-campaign

        You should find it. If not as it is a brand new post under moderation got to http://38degrees.com

        Find the search box…type in Puffa Puffa Rice it should find it. If not get back to me. I’ve already started another one too under Jacobs Golf (plain chocolate) Club biscuits.

        Tell your friends and family let’s try and get 1000 signatures !!!

  24. Hmmmm…those links don’t appear to work from my end…anything you can do from yours ?

    • Nothing doing so far, Martin. I’ll check back, maybe it takes time for the wheels to get into motion following moderation. Fingers crossed!

      • OK…good luck maybe best to leave it till mid week by which time post will have been officially accepted and displayed…

  25. Still no sign of this, Martin…

    • Martin Blackburn Says:

      Yeah noticed that…still no sign of it. I have emailed them asking why…I don’t think they’re taking it seriously compared to other campaigns they do…but I have assured them that it is ! Will let you know if they email back

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