First, imagine you are floating — laying on your back as the sun reaches down and kisses gently upon your cheeks. You hear two silky voices from the heavens and a soft ambient ocean, calming you as you float past mountains of Cheerios and Cocoa Puffs. The sound of waves gently lapping is ever-present, keeping you at peace. The worries of everyday life are far away on the shore — they might as well be in a different world. All that exists is you, the sun and the waves.
I live with a wonderfully grouchy, loud and active Siberian husky named Theia — she is very loved. I try and take her on at least an hour walk each day so she can get out some of her zoomies. As a result, I spend quite a few hours each week listening to podcasts. I search for shows that allow me to relax and escape from the bustle of life. As time has gone on, Theia and I have both come to realize that these walks are as much for me as they are for her. Recently, I came across a show that has perfectly encapsulated the aforementioned scene and also allowed me to find that brief, yet needed, escape.
“The Empty Bowl,” hosted by Justin McElroy and Dan Goubert, is a meditative cereal podcast. It invites listeners to put aside all non-cereal-related thoughts and focus solely on the beloved breakfast food. Justin and Dan explore cereal and pop-tart news and lovingly give reviews. I know, it’s so simple and almost feels random, but I simply cannot stop listening.
To Binge or Not to Binge?
I would quickly recommend “The Empty Bowl” to anyone who is looking for a podcast to binge. I would especially recommend it to anyone who is familiar with Justin McElroy’s other podcasts “The Adventure Zone” and “My Brother, My Brother and Me.” Justin brings his token charm and goofy nature to create a beautifully fun and light atmosphere. Dan Goubert is also brilliant as a co-host; he is truly a cereal expert, and his knowledge of breakfast food is almost incomprehensible. What wraps the entire show together, however, is the overall relaxing tone. Justin and Dan speak barely above a whisper, drawing you in and making your eyes heavy.
Before this podcast, cereal was just an occasional treat or a boring breakfast. Now, I cannot walk through a store without perusing the cereal aisle. I get so much excitement when I pick up a box that I heard Justin and Dan talk about. Cereal is no longer an unhealthy bowl of sugar and milk, but a delicious reward that I have earned by being alive.
It’s difficult to name a favorite, as all episodes bring a new and exciting box to the table. Each episode is simply titled by its chronological number, but I personally really enjoyed “Forty-Four.” In this episode, Justin and Dan highlight their favorite cereals of 2020 — cereals I have kept a keen eye out for since. However, each episode I’ve listened to is a delight and one could start anywhere in the catalog and find enjoyment.
“My Brother, My Brother and Me,” “The Adventure Zone” and “Til Death Do Us Blart.”
None. Although, you may find yourself buying a lot more cereal.
“The Empty Bowl”
Available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and other streaming platforms.
There are currently 48 episodes ranging from 30–40 minutes. New episodes are released bi-weekly.