Regular Food Review: Bowl of Cereal

Like eating faintly sweetened cardboard, in a good way

Bowl of Cheerios, Rice Krispies, and milk.
Jenny G. Zhang
Snap Crackle Pop
Regular Food Reviews

Every couple of years, I am suddenly hit by a craving for cereal. The feeling is so acute — to the point where it alters my regular consumption patterns for a good two, maybe three, weeks — that I can only attribute it to stress-induced nostalgia, a longing sparked by some subliminal desire to retreat into childhood comforts. I ate so much cereal growing up: Honeycomb and Frosted Flakes and Corn Pops and Fruity Pebbles and Apple Jacks and Lucky Charms and Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and, for a particularly dark period in my teen years, Special K Fruit & Yogurt cereal as a near-daily meal substitute (this was more or less how Special K marketed itself back in the day). But my favorite cereal has always been Rice Krispies, and not even in the form of the treats held together by marshmallow and butter; it turns out that I like the sensation of eating what is essentially faintly sweetened, lightly crackly air.

The craving struck again a few weeks ago. I’ve been enjoying bowls of cereal for lunch, as a mid-afternoon snack, and sometimes at 10 p.m. It helps that I have lost the motivation to cook anything more ambitious than a fried egg or plain rice; it’s so much easier, I find, to just pour myself some almond milk and my off-brand crisped rice, sometimes mixed with multi-grain Cheerios for textural variety. I’m under no illusions that this is nutritious or even especially tasty; eating cereal, after all, is often compared to gnawing on cardboard, an assertion that I’m not going to bother to dispute. I love it all the same — at least for this brief window before my appetite fades once more. Sometimes we can have a little cereal, as a treat. 3.5/5 stars.