In case you missed it, musician/rock star Gene Simmons, on the very first day of the new year, sent Twitter into an absolute frenzy with photos of a downright startling breakfast concoction: a bowl of cereal with ice cubes added to the milk.
The thousands of responses to this cursed prompt were divided: some people said ice cubes were their preferred way of keeping the milk at an optimum temperature, where others passionately insisted that refrigerators keep the milk at a desired temperature until showtime, and manage to do so without watering down the whole meal. Strong arguments were made in the form of reaction gifs on either side.
Inspired by Gene Simmons’s ice cubes—not to mention delighted by the revelation that the 70-year-old Kiss frontman eats a sensible portion of Oreo O’s balanced out by some fibrous Frosted Mini-Wheats—we at The Takeout would like to share our own breakfast cereal hacks. It might seem as straightforward as pouring cereal into a bowl and adding milk, but there are ways to optimize the experience that are each worth a try. And none of them involve waterlogging your Cheerios.
Room-temperature milk, in the proper bowl
This flies directly in the face of Gene Simmons and the other cold-milk enthusiasts of Twitter, but just like a quality beer, drinking quality milk at icy temps robs it of its flavor profile. Grass-fed milk, at 2% milk fat or above, is a rich and creamy treat, and giving it a few minutes to sit out on the counter will not only make the milk taste better on its own, but complement the flavors of a grain-based cereal better, too.
Another consideration is the size and shape of the bowl you’re using. I like eating cereal out of a relatively small bowl—bigger than a ramekin, but not by much. At first this was a tactic for better portion control (all of the nutrition facts are based off a pretty tiny serving, after all), but when all the cereal is crowded into the bowl nearly up to the top, and then just enough room-temperature milk is poured in around the jam-packed cereal, you get a ratio and a flavor in every spoonful that you simply don’t get when you’re chasing a scant few Corn Chex around a deep ocean of icy milk. —Marnie Shure
Add milk as needed
Years ago, I developed the perfect—and I mean perfect—method for eating cereal. It guarantees that every bite is consumed at its apotheosis, and that the act of eating cereal is 100% stress-free. For those of you wondering how eating cereal can possibly be stressful, I call your attention to the subliminal levels of panic you experience as you make your way through your bowl, scarfing down your initial bites in order to prevent yourself from choking down unappetizing sludge in the final act. You have enough things to worry about in the morning; cereal, with its precarious half-life, does not need to be one of them.
Begin by filling your cereal bowl two-thirds full with milk. (My personal preference is whole milk, which I occasionally liven up with a splash of half and half if I’m feeling saucy.) Then add enough cereal to cover the milk completely. And that’s it. Bring the bowl to the table, along with the box of cereal, and fully submerge those tasty little grain nuggets in the milk with the back of your spoon. Proceed to eat the cereal; when you reach your final bite, it will still be as perfectly crunchy as the first. Then, with the remaining milk, repeat the process as many times as you please. I like adding cereal until I’ve used up every drop of milk, though you can certainly tap out before then if you enjoy slurping cereal milk from the bowl. —Allison Robicelli
Eat it fast
I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. In high school, when the bus came by at 7 a.m., I never dragged myself out of bed before 6:45. Now that I’m an adult and a responsible wage-earner and all of that, I allow myself a little more time in the morning. Sometimes, if I time things right, I even have five minutes for a bowl of cereal. When you have just five minutes, trust me, the milk will stay cold and the cereal will stay crisp. (Warning: this method works best with smaller cereals, such as Rice Krispies, so you don’t have to waste time chewing or risk choking.) —Aimee Levitt