The air in Battle Creek, MI smelled like cornflakes, potato chips, and Pop-Tarts. In the rearview mirror, my driver glanced at the backseat through rose-tinted aviators and told me we were getting close.
"I think I'm picking up Frosted Flakes," he said, while sniffing out of the half-cracked window of his Chrysler, mullet flapping in the wind. Barren fields and thickets of trees surrounded the sprawling concrete and glass complex of Kellogg's headquarters -- it looked like any other corporate campus in Middle America.
Back in the '30s, Battle Creek was home to Dr. John Harvey's then-world-famous sanitarium, where health nuts flocked for experimental yogurt enemas. These days, it's defined by rows of sanitized monochrome, only broken by splashes of familiar cartoon logos. Prominent among them: Julius Pringles, the same mustachioed, bow tie-wearing caricature smiling back at me from a can of Pizza-flavored chips crammed in my backpack. I removed the cap. Its contents were uncrushed and unharmed despite the considerable pressure of my laptop and a hardcover edition of Moby Dick.