alexandra alger


Cereal: Does it Really Take Too Long to Eat?

People have been eating less breakfast cereal in recent years, according to the Wall Street Journal, and one reason is that it takes too long to eat. Yes, that’s right. “Cereal takes too long to eat during the morning rush and you can’t eat of bowl of cereal in the car.” That’s the Journal quoting various consumer surveys. I find this baffling. Since when is cereal-eating a slow activity? It just doesn’t take that long to pour cereal into a bowl with milk and scarf it down, especially if you’re trying to eat it all before it gets soggy (which some people don’t mind or even like, but I prefer my cereal crunchy to the last bite). This morning, I needed two minutes, twenty seconds, to enjoy a bowl of Wheat Chex. I wasn’t trying to save time. I read the paper, and I added extra milk at one point. Two minutes! Okay, closely to two and a half. Still, to really savor cereal, and perhaps add banana, we’re still only talking about five minutes. Five. Minutes. Obviously, no one wants to take time to sit or even stand for breakfast, once thought to be the most important meal of the day. (Some experts are now questioning this long held belief. I’d argue that whatever the evidence, breakfast is certainly more nutritionally essential than dinner, which all of us love but none of us need. A good lunch has got to be pretty important, too.) I love breakfast! The thought of hot coffee gets me up in the morning. Not the thought of showering, dressing, and driving to the McDonald’s take-out; no, I like stumbling down to the kitchen and making my own pot—ready in, say, five minutes. Coffee, along with yogurt and jam, or fruit (an apple quickly steamed with sugar and cinnamon!), that’s my favorite breakfast of late. But cereal is cool (Grape-Nuts: incredible crunch), and who doesn’t like toast? Especially with coffee? Eggs and bacon I reserve for the kids, the ones with the low cholesterol. One kid has one-upped me. She’ll prepare her oatmeal the night before and leave it in the fridge to get all creamy with things like almond milk and cinnamon (we like cinnamon in this family). The other has gradually come to realize that sleep takes precedence over food in the morning. He’ll probably end up being one of those people who rush out the door with a protein bar. Baffling.

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