The Most Trivial of Pursuits: Is Cereal Soup?

Each week The Forest Scout will take on one of the dumbest debates in pop culture. You’ll likely be dumber for reading. You’re welcome.


Casey Murray and Isabel Wiesner

It’s a Soup: Casey

Human language is so inconvenient sometimes. We make up different words to describe very closely related things exclusively because of some tiny and altogether insignificant difference. In doing so, we pretend that two things that are really quite similar are worlds apart.

This is madness. This is stupidity. This is dangerous. Creating arbitrary categories has never ended well for anybody. It pointlessly dices the majesty of existence into oblivion instead of blending it together into a coherent vision of the serendipitous nature of the universe.

The glory of life is its grand unity, the bonds that tie all things together. Why then do we bicker and argue about pointless minutiae? Let’s bring that spirit to this discussion and examine all the facts with simple and open minds.

The fact is that cereal tastes good and that soup tastes good. Both contain calories in a form that can be metabolized by humans. Both will be vaporized if exposed to significant temperatures (say, on the order of the surface of the sun), and both contain a smattering of elements in the form of organic compounds. Hence, there is essentially no objective difference between the two, only the subjective opinions of we humans.

Cereal is soup, and soup is cereal. Our use of distinct words to describe the two does nothing but obscure their similarities for the sake of pointing out their relatively minute differences.


It Isn’t a Soup: Isabel

Soup (noun) – A liquid dish, typically savoury and made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables etc. in stock or water. Oxford Dictionary

Cereal (noun) – A grain used for food, for example wheat, maize, or rye. Oxford Dictionary

I think that right away, given these definitions, it’s pretty obvious that cereal and soup are not the same thing. But, for entertainment purposes, I’ll humor you with a bit of evidence.

Soup is the perfect fall meal. It’s hot and filling and comforting. Cereal, on the other hand, is almost always eaten for breakfast, and is typically eaten cold and in a hurry. So, the situations and ways that we eat soup and cereal differ to the extent that they cannot be considered the same food.

On top of this, when you walk into a grocery store looking for cereal, you don’t walk to the same aisle that the soup is kept in. In fact, the two foods aren’t even kept in similar locations to one another. Generally, grocery stores organize their products to make it easy for customers to find foods that are similar to one another, so because cereal and soup aren’t found near each other, they can’t be considered the same food.

I suppose that since cereal is technically a liquid with other pieces of food in it, it could be fairly similar to soup. However, once we look at all of the differences between soup and cereal, it is pretty obvious that cereal cannot be considered soup.