It’s only when you start living with someone that you find out that something that might appear perfectly normal to you, might look weird to someone else.
With my partner and me, one of those things is cereal.
My partner typically eats cereal in the morning as many people do. But for myself, any time is cereal time.
However, I had no idea that my way of consuming this crunchy goodness later in the day would raise eyebrows in the way that it did.
It was when I confessed to him that I rarely ate cereal before noon that I seemed to truly go… against the grain.
The reality is that while I was growing up, the health food store was a regular stop on our weekly errands, long before health food stores gained the popularity that they attract today.
On grocery day, it didn’t matter how many cereal commercials I could quote from my Saturday morning cartoons “as part of a balanced breakfast”, brown eggs, yogurt and protein shakes were the preferred breakfast options in our household.
The only commercial cereals to get shelf space in our house were plain Cheerios and basic corn flakes, and were to be regarded as a treat, not a breakfast food.
That being the case, breakfast time for me never looked like it did in the commercials as demonstrated by the gleeful actors and actresses, accompanied by cartoon characters galore. It was only later that I discovered that these images were the product of marketing magic.
As time went on, I came to realize that for my constitution, a more protein-based breakfast was what my body responded to best, a habit that continued through my high school, university and working years.
For those reasons, “morning” and “cereal” were never really synonymous for me.
But Cheerios and basic corn flakes remained comfort foods to which I treated myself at any other time of day, also a habit that followed me through my adult years. Because I lived on my own for so many years, I never gave it a second thought.
But after my partner and I moved in together, that first time I made myself a bowl of Cheerios at 9:00 at night, my partner looked at his watch, looked at me and said, “You do realize that this is p.m. right?”
It was then that I had to dig into the recesses of my memory to remember the origin story behind how and why breakfast cereals were practically bedtime cereals in my world.
After seeing me do this a number of times since we moved in together, I think I have normalized the concept of cereal at night.
There are times when I might just serve myself a little bowl of dry Cheerios (i.e., no milk) just to have the crunchy sensation, in the same way that someone might get a bowl of potato chips or popcorn. That idea is taking some time to catch on, but I figure that if it’s good enough for toddlers, why shouldn’t an adult have some that way too?
It was when we started working from home during the pandemic, I flipped the equation on its ear when I served myself a bowl of Cheerios during a work break around 3:00 p.m.
That was a little more difficult to explain to my partner.
Just the same, it seemed like an appropriate snack to offset the effects of a light lunch, and to prevent starvation when dinner was still a couple of hours away. The bowl of cereal seemed the appropriate portion size to keep me satisfied while not passing out from hunger before dinner was ready.
In the end, the afternoon bowl of Cheerios did indeed serve its intended purpose and added further validation to my saying that “any time is cereal time”!
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One response to “Any Time is Cereal Time”
I eat cereal at any time of the day, too. It’s especially nice in the summer when it’s too hot to cook.