photo by Melanie Hobson / EyeEm via getty

If you’ve developed a mild allergy to unicorn since the start of 2017, you’d hardly be alone. Especially throughout the first few months of the year, there was an onslaught of mythical influence in the breakfast realm in the form of pastel-tintedtoasts, beverages, and baked goods. Not rainbow, mind you—that’s trés 2016—but rather the sparkle-studded and luster-dusted edible interpretations of mermaids, dragons, and the aforementioned single-horned beasts. It was almost as if the nation was collectively trying to eat their feelings from a safer, more innocent time. Perhaps as long ago as several months prior, when it wasn't quite so commonplace to have to grab one's phone upon waking to check Twitter and see if the Commander in Chief had incited nuclear war in 140 characters from his perch on an East Wing toilet. (We only had 140 characters back then, and we were grateful for the merciful brevity.)

But as the reality of the situation began to sink into our psyches, the palette dulled and the palate screamed out for a detox. This came in the form of food spiked with activated charcoal, which is wood, peat, or coconut shells that have been slowly burnt and treated with oxygen in a way that allows it to bind with poison so it can be expelled from the body. Plus it fights flatulence and makes food look hella goth on Instagram. 

One hitch: The adsorption isn't limited to harmful substances, so the charcoal will just go ahead and slurp away beneficial nutrients as well, leaving you with a gut full of inert glop. Which, speaking of, 2017 was a big year for porridge. That may sound somehow children's-book-cozy on the face of it, but really, porridge is just any grain boiled in milk or water until it's thickened and broken down. Oatmeal can be porridge if you exhaust it sufficiently, just beating at it over and over until it slumps into damp submission. 

For some kooky reason, folks have been really into the stuff as of late, so let's officially call it: The breakfast recipe that most perfectly exemplifies the year 2017 is Charcoal Porridge. It's a bowl of grim sludge stripped of any value beyond making your stomach technically full and you perhaps a shade less farty, but no real guarantee.

Charcoal Porridge

How to Make It

Step 1

Make one serving of your favorite porridge, the glummer the better. Oatmeal is probably the most spiritually appropriate, but feel free to indulge your whims if you have any left at this point.

Step 2

Carefully open one capsule of activated charcoal. The powder has a tendency to blast everywhere, so consider doing this in a deep bowl, possibly while wearing gloves. Stir this into the porridge until it is a consistent, pleasureless gray. Season if you have the wherewithal. Eat it cold for maximum pathos.

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