Growing up, my mom wouldn’t allow any sugary cereal into the house except for the exceedingly rare box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, which we ate right out of the box like candy. Because it is candy.
I was otherwise opposed to cereal. I never liked my mom’s choice of cereal—the healthy, fortified, fiber-rich stuff. On a more fundamental level, I couldn’t understand the appeal of cold milk and soggy stuff in a bowl. It’s like cold soup! Can anyone back me up on that?! Plus, I hated the sound of metal spoons scraping against bowls so early in the morning. I swore off the whole category and switched to toast with peanut butter.
I crinkled my nose at the cereal bar in the dorms and carried on in my toast-eating ways until junior year, when I moved to France for a semester abroad. There were no toasters in the dorms. Also no refrigerators or microwaves, just a stove. I stored my food in a cabinet in my little room and quickly learned how to get by.
At the French grocery stores, I found milk that didn’t require refrigeration until opening. I also discovered on my own that I could just not refrigerate the milk for a day or two after opening. (I’m fine, Mom!) Then my friend Mandy introduced me to the magic that is the French cereal aisle. The French know how to make some tasty, chocolatey cereal. After all my years of vocal cereal-hating, I survived on cereal in France.
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