On cereal and addiction

The udder morning, as I was covering my breakfast cereal with the stuff that comes out of cows’ udders, I said to myself in my finest Northumberland accent: “Sonny Jim, why don’t you write a two-part series on breakfast?”

And – because I am very obedient to those who speak in a Northumberland accent – that’s what I am doing here.

Today, then, I discuss cereal. Tomorrow, I move onto the second course. I’m doing this in chronological order, see? Clever!

Anyway, that’s enough of an introduction on with the blog post.

There are many people who are connoisseurs of consumables. There are wine connoisseurs, and cheese connoisseurs, and bacon connoisseurs, and chocolate connoisseurs, and – if the television advertisements are to be believed – dishwasher tablet connoisseurs. But breakfast cereal connoisseurs? That’s a little bit far-fetched, innit?

I’ve got a lot to say cereal. You might call me a connoisseur, then, if there is such a thing when it comes to such an unpromising-sounding topic. I’m more of a cereal connoisseur than most people are, that’s for sure.

(Although, even in the small planet that is my Google Reader, I can think of two articles on the very subject. My ability to pontificate about cereal does not make me unique, damn it.)

If you think about it, the whole idea of munching cereal is a bit ridiculous. If not a bit, then a lot. If not a lot, then an awful lot. I won’t carry on the sequence, partly because it would be gratuitously excessive rambling which the boring likes of Copyblogger spit feathers about, and partly because I don’t know of a quantity greater than “an awful lot”. Mostly it’s the latter, since I’ve been making a special effort to make my paragraphs short.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh, yes, why cereal is ridiculous.

They make cereal by tossing oats and wheat and corn and stuff into a machine, and allowing the machine to transform the oats and wheat and corn and stuff into sugary, salty, artificial flakes of insubstantiality. We might as well eat dishwasher tablets. Although eating dishwasher tablets would be silly, and probably a bit nightmarish – you know, I once had a beastly dream in which I ate a cake of soap, and I felt sick for ages; it was probably triggered by one of the Tintin books, in which someone does that.

But I eat cereal. Every day. I quite like it. I certainly like it much more than I like dreaming about eating soap.

I have either Bran Flakes or Corn Flakes – always of the Kellogg’s variety – or, sometimes, I will of course be breakfasting elsewhere and neck some other exotic dish, such as Mini Weetabix or Cheerios. I drizzle the cereal with the watery and slightly miserable stuff that is skimmed milk (or, elsewhere, I experience the brave new world of semi-skimmed milk, which I suspect is made much braver and newer by the misery of my usual udder-sourced fare; I’m turning a blind eye to the dark cloud and turning a fully-operational one to its silver lining).

Sometimes, I drizzle not just skimmed milk but caster sugar. That’s right. I put sugar on my Corn Flakes. I don’t put them on Bran Flakes – that would be really gilding the lilly, for – but, every so often, I find the salty, flaky corniness of Corn Flakes gets a little bit too much.

I feel painfully decadent when I sprinkle on sugar. I never do it when anyone else is in the same room – I am aware of what a ridiculous custom it is. In fact, I am trying to kick the habit, so that. My dentist doesn’t seem to notice – he thinks the sun shines out of my bottom (though not literally of course, or he’d take measures to ensure that the sunshine didn’t melt the plastic chair) – but maybe that’s because we’re paying him such an extortionate fee these days that he wouldn’t like to appear even a little bit angry with my oral health. Whatever, it’s certainly not necessary, even if it’s unlikely to give me diabetes when not, as it is, accompanied by a diet of many other sugary things. The mere sight of most of those horrid, multicoloured plastic “sweets” makes my dinner threaten to reappear under my nose.

Thus, I’m going “cold turkey”. It’s working, and I certainly haven’t sprinkled a single grain of gratuitous caster sugar all month. However, there is a danger that I may become addicted to some other substance.

I don’t mean I might become addicted to offal – after all, going “cold turkey” doesn’t actually involve any cold turkey; it’s a rather misleading name – but I seem to be developing a worrying dependence on Yaoh Mango Lipbalm.

It’s a little bit lame, really. A bit like being killed by poorly-cooked chickpeas. Why can’t I get hooked on something properly heavy-duty, like drugs? If so, I would be able to release some best-selling memoirs telling about my life-changing experience, and how I eventually kicked the habit, and so on.

That said, I dare say the general public is getting a little tired of diaries of people who were addicted to the likes of cocaine, Joshua Goodwin: How I Beat My Addiction to Mango Lipbalm & Sugar on My Cornflakes would be a refreshing change from the dullness of normality, and I reckon herds of punters would flock to bookshops to own it. Move aside, Gazza.

Blast. I’ve gone from cereal to addiction memoirs. Who know whether the world of toast will be as fruitful. No one yet, but by the end of tomorrow it will be you and me and every other adorable person who reads this blog.