Cereal: A Love Story

I’ll be the first to admit it-  I have a slight (ok, major) obsession with cereal.

Not only do I eat it for breakfast every morning, I also have it for dinner far more often than is socially acceptable for a 25 year old woman. Frequently I’ll polish off a serving or two as a late night snack (true story: I am enjoying a nice, hearty bowl (or 4) of Kashi GoLean Crunch as I write this post), and the number of times I find myself running a dishwasher filled solely with bowls and spoons is much higher than I’d like to admit. 

There’s just something about it that always hits the spot- that perfect ratio of cereal to milk…  that feeling of complete euphoria when the spoon hits your lips… the taste of nostalgia- more powerful than any artificial sweetener- that cannot be replicated by any other food.

A few days ago, I somehow found myself having a discussion with a coworker about cereal (Ok, so it was because I was admitting I had no idea how to cook.. so what).  The conversation had already gone on for about 20 minutes, and I had no shortage of material left (we had only just begun touching on our favourite varieties. Next would come preferred level of  crunchiness), when I realized that, perhaps my love for cereal ran deeper than even I knew.

And so I began tracing it back to its roots…. (Cue the Flashback scene…. feel free to picture the rest of this post with a slight, sepia tone)

Our love story began not unlike so many others- Cereal and I were childhood sweethearts.  Hit by the arrow of the Breakfast Cupid, it was love at first bowl of Lucky Charms. We were inseparable- never spending a morning apart. Some of my fondest memories as a child even involved cereal. I remember waking up to the sound of spoons clanging against bowls, as my brothers made sure every last corn pop was sufficiently saturated with milk before consumption. (Because I was the baby, not only did I get to sleep in a bit later, my mom would also pour my cereal a few minutes before waking me up, because she knew I preferred it light on the crunch. Now THAT’s the love story right there… or a sad story. I’ll let you decide).   

Now, if you’ve ever seen an After School Special, you know that Childhood and adolescence are no walk in the park. Just getting through a day without being pressured into doing cocaine to perform better as a child gymnast, or  being kidnapped by your own mom was a cause for celebration.  But no matter what kind of day I had, knowing that I always had an after school snack of cereal waiting at home for me, served up by one of many potential loveable cartoon mascots (with the exception of Count Chocula…  cause let’s be honest, homeboy was downright creepy) made life seem a little more bearable.

As I grew older, my relationship with cereal changed. Suddenly my tastes had grown; expanded. I no longer craved the sugary goodness that seduced me as a child- now I longed for something more… sophisticated.

Luckily, cereal was changing too; it’s varieties becoming more plentiful; it’s milk choices now far more advanced than just 2% or skim. Soy? Almond? Coconut? POTATOE MILK? The world was becoming a crazy place, but cereal was my constant. We went through it all together; from Fruity Pebbles and Reese Peanut Butter Puffs, to Millet Rice and Spelt Flakes. And take it from someone who’s been there:  Potatoes? Should stick to being mashed (Or being used as stamps. I think Martha Stewart does that).

It wasn’t all marshmallows and sugar coating, though… like all good love stories, Cereal and I have had our fair share of ups and downs.  For a brief period, we even broke things off. It wasn’t cereal- it was me. I was too needy with my love; too clingy to its milky deliciousness; and it’s sweet, sweet, loving was having unwanted effects on me. Although I wanted desperately not to believe it, Fat Bastard’s astute observation that “carbs are the enemy” turned out to be true. I had to accept it when I could no longer button up my jeans- I had gained what they call the “honeymoon 15”.

Unable to control myself, I swore off cereal, and vowed to never touch the stuff again.

Well, anyone who’s been through a breakup knows how tough this can be. Thoughts of cereal consumed me.. I thought I saw cereal everywhere- at school… at the gym.. in my cupboards. It even infiltrated my dreams. Once, I dreamt that I was naked in public, save for a few strategically placed mini wheats.

 I searched in vain for a love like the one I had lost. I tried toast, oatmeal, eggs, even something called a “breakfast bake”-  all rendered inedible by the salty taste of my tears.

It was all together about a year we were apart, when I was staying at a friend’s house, and she offered me a bowl of cereal for breakfast. What seemed like a simple offer set off a complex web of feelings and anxiety deep within me. Oh how I wanted to say yes…to envelop myself in its carby goodness. But we’d been down this road before…….

What harm can one bowl do? I thought.

And there it was- our epic reunion- bathed in light, and set to the soundtrack of angels singing; even the household pets were crying tears of joy.  It was like the reunions of Ross & Rachel, Luke & Laura, and NKOTB all wrapped into one.

We were back, baby.

Since then, things have been better than ever before. We see each other most days; and slowly, we’re making up for lost time. Looking back, its funny that we would ever think we could deprive ourselves of being together when we are such a perfect match…. we’re so silly sometimes.

And so what if I still  indulge a little too much? Whoever says that a love this intense can’t last clearly hasn’t met us… or Sid & Nancy 

….. Wait… that didn’t end well??

Question of the Day: Do YOU love cereal?? And if so, what’s your favourite kind?  (basically, I’m just imploring you to make me feel a little less like a freak, here)

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26 thoughts on “Cereal: A Love Story

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  1. We are kindred spirits. I LOVE cereal and eat it any time of the day. Though now that I’m an adult, it is sometimes paired with a glass of wine after work because I’m classy like that.

    I’m partial to Apple Jacks, Special K Red Berries, Frosted Flakes and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

    What is your stance on mixing cereal? I am firmly against it, but do not judge.

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    1. I’m glad that you are mixing-sympathetic, because I am a hardcore mixer. This morning I had Kashi Go Lean, Mini Wheats and Quaker Oatmeal Squares all at the same time. You might call it crazy. I just call it delicious.

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  2. Bree – you are hilarious and an amazing writer! This post made me chuckle many times. I’m not sure what my favourite cereal is, I’m thinking Honey Nut Cheerios, but I thought I’d mention that when I was a kid and there was a toy in the cereal box = kid heaven. That’s all lol.
    Keep the posts coming!

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    1. Cass! You’re sweet- thanks for reading and leaving a comment 🙂 Also- HUGE oversight on my part on the cereal box toys!!! Do you remember those things you used to get, in the shape of like Fred Flinstone or something, that you put in water under your bed, and they’d get huge and all slimy like? Those were gross…. but also awesome

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  3. Haha! Loved it! True story: Cereal saved my life! When I was ten years old, I had a fish bone stuck in my throat for three days! What kind of fish? No idea, when you’re ten, it’s just fish 🙂 Anyway, we tried everything from bread to lemon juice to sodas flowing non-stop. No luck. On the third day, I decided to get aggressive and ate a bowl of Crispy Wheats & Raisins. Halfway through the bowl the fish bone had been shoved to my lower GI. LOL. Big cereal fan ever since!

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  4. I’m a cereal snob too. Its my coffee! I can’t do anything before I ear 2 bowls in the morning. Usually two different flavors. Like you I have eating it as far back as I can remember. Great post!

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  5. Love this!!!! My mom didn’t buy the sugary goodness cereals when I was kid, so I had to do it as an adult. I did have to break off the relationship with lucky charms, though…I was far too co-dependent–everything else ceased to exist when I was with that leprechaun.

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