A new read on cereal

A page from The Tiny SeedWhen I was a little kid, I remember eating bowl after bowl of cereal. I loved eating Cheerios with milk and sugar, and then, when the cereal was done, scraping the bottom of the bowl for milk-saturated sugar crystals. It was almost like breakfast and dessert, all in one bowl.

During high school, my boyfriend and I took a trip with his parents to visit his grandparents. At their house in Bermuda. (This isn’t bad duty, if you can get it.) We returned to the United States with a pair of matching hot pink-and-black rugby shirts, which should have been the clue for me that this was not a relationship that’s going to last. It took one schoolday’s worth of taunting for me to question my judgment, both in agreeing to pick out a matching shirt, as well as in choosing to date a guy who would select a hot pink-and-black shirt.

While the relationship is long over, that trip has had a lasting, lingering effect on me. I will no longer get all matchy-matchy with my boyfriend, and I will also not eat milk on my cereal. See, while in Bermuda, I woke up one day before the rest of the house, and went in search of breakfast. I located a box of Corn Flakes and a quart of whole milk, fixed a bowl, and sat down at the kitchen table to eat. A little ways into the bowl, I realized something was horribly, horribly wrong.

The milk was chunky.

For a bite or two, I forced myself to keep eating, certain that this was just something that happened with whole milk. I grew up in a 2% milk household, so I figured this was what happened with unadulterated milk.

But after those next two bites, I took a deep whiff of the milk in my bowl, leaving me absolutely certain that this was not normal. Not normal at all.

CheeriosAs a result, I no longer count myself among the numbers of cereal eaters. I realize it’s not the fault of the makers of boxed breakfast goodness, but that doesn’t change the fact that I now have this bad association.

Steve, however, works his way through boxes of Cheerios on a regular basis, so we generally have some around the house. Not that long ago, he arrived home from a grocery run with a box that featured not the usual toy inside, but instead, a book attached to the outside of the box. The book was Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed.

“Do you realize what came with your cereal?” I asked Steve later. “Millions of children will get a lesson in how a seed becomes a plant, thanks to General Mills!”

“Of course I noticed it,” said Steve. “That’s why I picked that one out. I knew you’d like it.”

I will admit…the arrival of that little book on the front of a cereal box made me think a little more highly of General Mills, even just for a little while.

But if I’m going to support the cereal industry, I’m still going to have to eat the stuff without milk. Even a little support for the gardening world won’t change that for me.

6 Responses to “A new read on cereal”

  1. 1 Jenny January 11, 2007 at 2:50 pm

    You know what’s weird, I lived with you for four years and never knew you didn’t eat cereal with milk. I guess I didn’t pay much attention in the dining hall and the fact that you seemed to prefer bagels or corned beef hash never struck me as strange. You think you know someone… In any event, give milk and cereal another try–nothing better than Frosted Flakes with really cold skim milk. They’re GRRRREAT!!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  2. 2 Carol January 11, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I’ve got to get some of that cereal, because I want the seed book!

  3. 3 Alanna January 11, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    My uncle eats his cornflakes — Kellogg’s of course — with orange juice. And our neighbor friend used to put orange pop on her fruit loops. Either of these options might make milk seem palatable!

    Fun story, BTW.

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener January 11, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Jenny, that’s funny…I didn’t realize you didn’t know that little fact about me! I’ll eat granola, but usually either put it in yogurt, or will just eat it dry. But that’s about it. Sometimes I’ll eat something like puffed wheat or puffed rice as a snack, but for the most part, I’m a non-cereal girl. Unless you count grits. I’ll eat grits like there’s no tomorrow (but again…without milk…).

    Carol, this post has been lying in wait for awhile, so I don’t know if General Mills still has those boxes on the shelves. It’s worth a look, though! The book is really cute.

    Alanna, wow — I’ve heard of chocolate milk on cereal, but not orange juice. Very interesting, and actually, not a bad idea! Thanks for the visit. :-)

  5. 5 Melissa R. Garrett January 12, 2007 at 10:56 am

    We’re big backyard gardeners in my house, so when I saw the Cheerios box with The Tiny Seed in it, I just had to snatch it up. Okay, so maybe the fact that I have three children and a husband, ALL of whom LOVE Cheerios, did influence my decision just a bit, but I thought the book would illustrate a great lesson!

    I found your site via 9Rules, and I’ve added it to my list of favorites. Can’t wait to read it a little more thoroughly. Your header is fantastic!

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener January 12, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Melissa, thanks so much for the compliments, and for finding me! And I’m glad you found the box, too — the book’s great, isn’t it?

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