Dawn Kessinger: Share a meal — Cereal killers attack at dawn — and dusk

I’ve spent more than a half century attacking cereal and making it disappear without a trace. Some people close to me find humor in my cereal-killing and celebrate it, which is how I came to have a “weapon of choice” in my silverware drawer. This weapon is a splendid silver spoon with “CEREAL KILLER” (with “WEAPON OF CHOICE” in smaller print underneath) engraved on it.

I use my weapon of choice frequently to vanquish my daily bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats, Cocoa Pebbles or Honey Ohs! cereals. Occasionally I also go after Cracklin’ Oat Brand or Froot Loops. When my job drives me cuckoo, I defeat Cocoa Puffs in a feeding frenzy; when I feel down on my luck, I slay a bowl of Lucky Charms.

A worthy cereal to obliterate is oatmeal. Especially if the cereal killer is like me, and doesn’t just strike at dawn. It’s not unheard of for me to consider dinner options, find none of them appetizing (or too much work) and decide that killing another bowl of cereal sounds good instead. A warm bowl of oatmeal with a scattering of fruit and nuts disappears and fills empty stomachs with an admirable flair at any time of the day.

There also have been times I’d get home late from work and unable to ignore the hunger pangs, I’d reach for a bowl, my trusty spoon, and the nearest box of cereal.

Being a cereal killer has hidden perks. I discovered a good one when I worked at the Lima Kohl’s store several years ago. I was taking a break from cereal and consuming other food on a dinner break when I noticed a young co-worker come flying into the break room looking defeated.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” I asked her as she slammed her things around and prepared to go to work.

“Nothing. Just tired. And starving,” she said in a rush. “I’m coming directly from class and don’t have time to eat.”

She hadn’t had the time or the money to run through a fast-food drive-through. As she turned away to clock in, my thoughts drifted to what might make quick, easy, inexpensive meals. And unsurprisingly, my cereal-soaked brain brought up images of all the different cereals I’d conquered lately. I had an idea.

The supervisors at Kohl’s worked hard at not only keeping customers happy, but also being attentive to their staff. Frequently, special activities or events happened because an employee had an idea and approached a supervisor with it. One day I walked into the break room to find the manager, Valerie, making everyone waffles.

Supervisors proved exceptionally adept at listening and if possible, doing what the staff member wanted to do. I am typically nervous about approaching bosses. Not at Kohl’s. Instead of feeling anxious, I remember feeling excited when I asked if we could have a cereal bar in the break room. I explained about the hungry college kids, the time crunch and also how beneficial it would be for all the staff to have access to a quick, easy bowl of cereal.

Within the week, several of us brought in a box or two of cereal and stacked them in the space set aside for them. There were several boxes and a good variety: There was plenty of cereal for everyone — even the cereal killers. Kohl’s provided the milk, bowls and spoons. I was thrilled to see more than one hungry co-worker sit down and attack his or her bowl of cereal with a smile of contentment.

Anytime Oatmeal


• ½ cup Quaker Oats (Old Fashioned)

• Just enough water to cover oats

• Fruit: cut strawberries, cherries or blueberries

• Nuts: Walnuts, pecans or almonds

• Just a splash of coffee creamer

In a cereal bowl, add oats and water. Microwave for 1 minute. Add fruit, nuts and stir. Add a splash of coffee creamer and serve immediately.

Want to share a meal with The Lima News readers? Send your recipe with your name, city of residence, phone number (won’t be published) and a photo of your meal to [email protected].