“Is cereal a soup?” has become a common question on the internet. It bugs me a bit. I know it’s a gotcha type of question, but that’s not my problem with it. I kind of like pondering gotcha questions. It bugs me because I can’t seem to answer it.
Every instinct I have says that cereal is not soup. But I can’t think of a single reason why. Most people instantly say that it’s not a soup because it’s cold. But there are other cold soups that are definitely soups, like gazpacho. Others say it’s not a soup because it has milk instead of stock or broth. But, again, there are milk-based soups, like chowders, that definitely count as soup. Another possibility is that cereal tends to be sweet rather than savory. But that doesn’t work either. Some cereals are definitely not sweet, and some soups are sweet.
The dictionary definition of soup is, “A liquid food, often containing pieces of solid food.” That describes a bowl of cereal to a T. Maybe my instincts are wrong. Maybe cereal really is a soup even though I don’t want it to be. Would it really be that bad?
The answer to that question is yes, it would be that bad. The cascade effects would be horrible. It turns out that a lot of my food related beliefs are based on distinct categories. If we erase the line between soup and cereal, what’s next? People will go crazy and say that bread is a pastry or hot dogs are sandwiches (Hot dogs are sausages, for the record. They can be put in sandwiches, but they, themselves, are definitely not sandwiches.). It’s a slippery slope that puts the whole English language in jeopardy.
So, even though I can’t prove it, I’m sticking to my guns. Cereal is most definitely not a soup.