Ask the Bartender: The Honey Nut Corn Flakes Edition
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Ask the Bartender: The Honey Nut Corn Flakes Edition

Ask the Bartender is Torontoist’s advice column. Do you have a question or problem for Eva to solve? Email [email protected]

Though I drink, I’m a lightweight and always regret doing shots. What’s the best effective way to dodge/avoid/decline a shot? As they are often gifts and/or part of a group celebration finding a diplomatic method is often difficult for me.

Dear P-w,

The best approach here is to be completely honest: just say, “Thanks, but I don’t do shots.” Your friends (and bartenders) will understand, and over time, they’ll also start to remember your preference. Many people who regularly frequent bars also steer clear of shots, so, although it may not feel like it, you’ll have plenty of company.

I’ve started very few new friendships since I’ve reached my mid-thirties. Most new friendships become awkward once the initial context or reason (work, volunteering, kids, etc.) for knowing the person has been lost.

More than often I will ping one friend a note to do something that requires a little planning and I am met with silence (text, email, etc…). If I end up getting them on board with a plan, even if months in advance, they end up bailing half the time. This person is important to me and I try to let this roll off my back. There are no expectations—which feels like how modern friendships just are—but I’ve found the inconsistency or lack of response from this person jumpstarts some my anxiety and mental health issues. Am I missing something? Is this how things are now or is this how things are after a certain age? Is it possible to garner a friendship based on something other than context?

—Perplexed at friend-Loss

Dear PAL,

Sometimes the surest way to save a friendship is to let it languish for a while. It’s true that as we get older, we’re less likely to see old friends regularly—when a context such as school, the pub, singledom, or a shared living situation is no longer present, complicated scheduling and organizing take the place of the casual hanging out ensured by forced proximity. Both you and your friend may have gotten away with being lazy about your friendship in the past, and now, lacking a shared context, putting extra work into maintaining it might be overwhelming both of you. So, maybe it’s time to give this particular relationship a rest for a bit, particularly if you find that it’s triggering other issues for you. Perhaps you can use this time to focus on your own mental health—and come back to the friendship better able to articulate to your friend what sorts of expectations you have for the future of your relationship.

Why are Honey Nut Cornflakes no longer sold in Canada (they are delicious)?

Dear Chris,

Marketed in the 80s as “the most irresistible breakfast cereal imaginable” (“The trouble is,” went the slogan, “they taste too good”), Kellogg’s Honey Nut Corn Flakes were discontinued in 2012 due to foundering sales. (If planning to vacation abroad, avid fans might note that Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut cereal, widely available in the U.S. and U.K., is the same product.)

While the Kellogg’s representative I spoke with was not aware of any specific reason behind the cereal’s low sales, it did come to my attention that Crunchy Nut is listed in several U.K. publications as one of the top ten most sugary breakfast cereals, containing 35 grams of sugar per 100 grams of cereal. Given that the company Nature’s Path, possibly the only large-scale breakfast cereal-making operation in North America that does not use GMO corn, is based in Vancouver, Canada, perhaps it’s reasonable to suppose that Canadians may be more health-conscious when it comes to breakfast.

Or it’s possible that Canadians are simply cereal purists—when Corn Flakes were invented by the Seventh-day Adventist Kellogg brothers as a cure to suppress onanistic urges, they were not intended to be sweet. Dr. John Kellogg, a committed anti-masturbation activist (and fan of eugenics research), hoped that this bland but “healthy” breakfast option would serve to curb the sexual desires of those who ate it; his market-savvy brother Keith, however, insisted on sweetening the flakes. This feud over the addition of refined sugar eventually led the brothers to permanently part ways, after which Keith went on to found the wildly successful Kellogg Company.

Since Kellogg’s has no current plans to bring back Honey Nut Corn Flakes to Canada, it may be best to take this opportunity to switch to a healthier brand of cereal. If that doesn’t appeal, perhaps simply adding a little honey to a bowlful of Corn Flakes might do the trick: thus far, there is no scientific evidence linking GMO corn with an inability to while away the long winter nights.