Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cereal Remains of the Day

A cereal sage named Wally recently posited an interesting question to me: How does the enlightened cereal consumer handle the fractional remains at the end a cereal box after the last full bowl has been poured? Is this a matter of choice? Or is there a right and a wrong way to do it? I lean strongly toward the former, believing that cereal consumption is a matter near and dear to the soul and that the only potential sin pertaining to cereal is to not eat it at all. But still, it's a question worth addressing: How do we handle such remains, and why?

But first, allow me to clarify: I'm not talking about crumbs or sugar dust from Frosted Mini Wheats or stale Cheerios or anything else unsightly. My advice is to dispatch of such things forthwith. But what about the raisin-less flakes at the end of a box of Raisin Bran? What about the final fifteen Frosted Mini Wheats? What about the last quarter-cup of Rice Krispies?

The way I see it, there are two principal options. The first is to pile them on top of your last whole bowl, risking an overflow. Wally prefers this method, going so far as to use his open palm to restrain the heaping mass of cereal as milk is poured. But there's a point beyond which this is simply unreasonable. I could see adding 1/4 of a bowl atop a whole bowl. Makes you feel like a big boy. But 1/3 is getting risky, and 1/2 is damn near impossible unless you're eating from a gigantoid Ikea bowl.

The second option is to stick to your preferred bowl size and deal with the remains separately, no matter how big or small. This is my preference. On occasion, however, I'll get caught. I'm sure you've been there before: You're pouring from a nearly empty box when suddenly you realize you don't have enough bowl space to accommodate the unforeseen onslaught of cereal. But it's already too late: You've overburdened your bowl with an abundance of Alpha-Bits. In all other cases, I keep the remainder for a smaller, second bowl, and top with the appropriate amount of milk. I suppose you could say I'd rather go too small than too big. But I won't judge those who'd go too big before too small (Wally et al) -- variety makes the world go round, and is also what makes Basic Four so good.

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