It’s 2018 and apparently cereal is dying. For years we’ve been hearing that print is dead. Based on the anecdotal example of the room I am sitting in–empty cereal bowl on the coffee table, books stuffed into every nook and cranny–I would have to argue that neither is dead yet. And in fact, as a self-proclaimed cerealmelier (expert on cereal and book pairings), I submit that both be removed from the endangered list and redistributed to the category of things we couldn’t kill, like vinyl records and candy corn.
Books and cereal are a natural pairing; both best suit the palate early in the morning, but both are frequently, pleasingly, consumed late at night, when the sun has set and adherence to social niceties along with it. Both require little forethought or preparation. The mere taste of both will leave you wanting more.
If you’re still with me, if you too understand the value of a good book propped up in front of a full box of cold cereal, for you I have compiled a list of strategic cereal and book pairings below. The combinations will strike a complementary balance for a wide range of tastes–from sophisticated to entry level. For maximum enjoyment, the milk should be very cold and the cereal tamped down upon continuously throughout consumption. Without further ado, the list is below. Or as the French say, “Voilà!”
Cheerios & My Year of Rest and Relaxation
The comforting crunch of an original Cheerio will certainly pair well with this book, most of which takes place on a couch or in a bed. As your palate embraces a classic, familiar friend: the Cheerio, your mind will be challenged by Ottessa Moshfegh’s narrative which, from the title, you thought might be comforting. The bite from the book will cut nicely through the timidity of the cereal, making for an unexpectedly delicious pairing.
Rice Krispies & Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
The famous “snap, crackle, pop” of the Rice Krispies will excite your tongue, just as the surprising first person narrator in Sorry to Disrupt the Peace will excite your conception of traditional narration. From their titles, both sound like they might be meek, but they’re actually quite disruptive. A lively pairing, challenging at times, but ultimately quite satisfying.
Captain Crunch & Moby-Dick
A bright and obvious pairing; sometimes we should not fight what is right in front of us: a willing captain and a seaworthy ship. The audible crunch of the cereal demands attention, making this one best paired with an exciting tale of adventure (or theoretically an exciting tale of adventure)! However, do note that this cereal and book pairing is best enjoyed in small doses, both to conserve the roof of one’s mouth and energy for long descriptions of the sea.
Fruit Loops & The Parking Lot Attendant
The book takes place partially on an island commune, and thus this pairing seems obvious: tropical island alongside Toucan Sam’s cereal. But the pairing is more complex than it appears. You might think you know what’s going on in The Parking Lot Attendant, but the plot will keep you guessing the whole way through. Just like once you finally think you’ve understood the flavor profile of Fruit Loops, that all the colors taste alike, you suddenly think, “Oh! Green.”
Shredded Wheat & The Hunger Games
The bland and nearly indigestible notes from the Shredded Wheat will be nicely offset by the dystopia of The Hunger Games. You will eagerly gum through your Shredded Wheat as the starvation and killing off of young children presented in the book makes you realize how lucky you are to have a full bowl, any full bowl, of cereal in front of you. (But not too lucky, I mean it’s still Shredded Wheat.)
Lucky Charms & Tenth of December
Your palate will be utterly surprised by Lucky Charms–sometimes it tastes like oat cereal, other times it taste like cardboard-y sugar. As your taste buds struggle to take in the dichotomous notes from the Lucky Charms, your mind will also struggle to keep up with George Saunders’ surprising collection of short stories: they are sometimes a little magic, always delicious.
Grape Nuts & The Dictionary
You know how the saying goes: heavy cereals should be paired with heavy books. You really don’t want to consume either, but you recognize that doing so would, technically, be beneficial. Fine anytime of day but recommended in small doses to preserve jaw strength and interest in reading.