When it comes to food, anything goes.
Well, almost anything.
But there is a disturbing epidemic in America. A group of people who are spitting on and leaping over an invisible line that shouldn't be crossed. I'm talking about the people who put orange juice in their cereal instead of milk.
For years, it always seemed like these people were so few and far between that they posed no threat to our civilization. Like the ignoramuses who for some reason think it's acceptable to eat pizza crust-first, they've always seemed like a minute minority who simply got confused at some point during their life journey and were never able to right their habits.
But Kellogg recently released the results of a nationwide survey about the cereal-eating habits of the populace, and the results are harrowing when it comes to the OJ epidemic.
Two thousand US consumers and college students from all over the country participated in the study, with about 30 percent male subjects and 70 percent female. The participants were of all ages, with half being college students and the rest varied (14 percent between the ages of 25 and 34 years old, 16 percent between 35 and 44 years old, about a quarter between 45 and 54 years old, and the rest scattered in older or younger age groups).
The survey revealed some fun tidbits, most of which pertained to how cereal has become an acceptable thing to eat virtually anywhere: out of the box like popcorn, out of red plastic Solo cups, and apparently while in bed. (At least 70 percent of respondents reported sometimes finding cereal in their bed.) Almost a third of Americans had cereal bits ground into their keyboards, or, for four out of ten, their pockets.
In a feat of ingenuity reminiscent of Ally Sheedy's creation in The Breakfast Club, about 40 percent of college students said that they had used cereal as an ingredient in their sandwiches at some point.
But all of that's good and fine. Here's the disturbing bit: a full one-fifth of Americans are using orange juice in their cereal instead of milk. This is simply wrong.
There's nothing wrong with not liking milk. You can eat your cereal dry, use almond milk or coconut milk, or opt for half-and-half if you're willing to sacrifice half of your recommended daily allotment of calories for a deliciously rich bowl of Raisin Bran.
And 10 percent of people in this country are putting coffee in their cereal instead of milk. This is unadvisable but almost makes sense, since the flavors of coffee, sugar, and grains work together into a kind of understandable synchronicity.
Putting orange juice in your cereal, however, is ill-advised for a number of reasons. First of all, if your orange juice comes from concentrate—which it most likely does—it's mostly water and loads of sugar. According to the results of a study by Chilean researchers at Santiago's Pontificia University Católica, putting water in your cereal will cause it to turn to mush at a much faster rate than using a fattier liquid, such as milk. This is likely true of coffee as well.
The other issue is that orange juice simply has too much flavor, and too much acidity, to jibe well with some of the greatest cereals of our time. Cocoa Puffs? Would taste like one of those break-apart chocolate oranges gone wrong. Cinnabon multigrain cereal? Would you dump a cup of orange juice all over your delicious cinnamon roll?
Of course, this is all a matter of personal taste. Cereal is one of the greatest inventions of the human race, and it's a free country. Usually. If you want to douse your cereal in IPA or aloe vera juice, that's your right.