Sunday, August 2, 2009

Creme de Bleh

Perhaps I should elaborate on the seemingly random porridge comment; I assure you, this is not a site (entirely) devoted to old-fashioned breakfast cereal. As it is, however, a commentary on my love affair with the meals and their meanings in my life, oatmeal fits right in.

You see, I am a third generation porridge devotee. Both my grandma and aunt eat instant Quaker Oats, the apple and cinnamon packets to be precise, every morning. Every morning. So involved, are they, in their routines, that each brings along their breakfast of choice on overnights, just in case; the latter admits that even if she is spoiled with pancakes and eggs on the weekend, or a luxurious breakfast out, she craves the packages and her accompanying mint tea. They even make it similarly, letting the opened contents steep in hot water on the counter while getting ready for the day, sometimes eating it cold and mushy, but satisfied none the less.

So it is no wonder where I got my breakfast habit from. It started early too, when my mom used to make a huge pot of oatmeal in the morning for each of us to dish up, pour on milk, and, of course, top with brown sugar. While my mom and sister were stirrers, I used to love the way the sugar melted, dark and caramelly on top of the glop. Id carefully spoon around the outside and underneath as the sundaed portion lowered in the bowl, until the last three bites were nearly all sugar: breakfast candy (I had a bit of a sweet tooth).

My choice toppings now, as I mentioned, have changed, but there is something wonderfully nostalgic about the classic milk and sugar--especially when applied to something my mom called Creme de Bleh. She was referring to Cream of Wheat, but her descriptive moniker played on the blandness of the cereal, and my sisters facial expression when forced to eat it. It is one of the things I make when I long for the comforts of home. Creme de Bleh for breakfast is like a hug from my ma, and one of the few fitting substitutes for porridge.

There is a slight problem with my routine though (besides that I have started obsessively packing it for overnights--hey, it works for my grandma). I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day, at any time of the day. And I love it all (except bacon, I cannot stand bacon and I know that I am Canadian and it is my patriotic duty to live for the stuff, but...) even the bland: rye toast, shreddies, cornflakes, branflakes, porridge. Ill have biscotti for breakfast, leftover rice pudding (though not cold pizza--breakfast for dinner sure, but not visa versa), homemade granola; Ill fold my omelettes over sauteed zuchinni, artichokes or asparagus, and stuff with goat cheese or parmesan, softly poach eggs and break them with my fork, oozing over toast with chopped fresh herbs and lots of coarse pepper. Ill make sourcream pancakes or waffles topped with fruit and maple syrup, french toast laced with cinnamon and lemon, crepes wrapped around roasted rhubarb and a dollop of greek yogurt. Oat scones with jam and warm milk in my coffee (never underestimate the relieving power of a good cup of coffee). Oh, warm and gooey cinnamon buns. Ok thats enough, I could go on and on, but I am afraid, readers, that I have either lost your interest or your attention and youve headed for the griddle.

But what is a girl to do, I ask you, when she loves all of the morning foods, but cant imagine a day without that gummy bowl of porridge, teeming with warm milk, and, currently, glistening with honey over halved apricots and walnuts. Save them for dinner I suppose.

If you have a better answer, Id love to hear it, or a favorite breakfast, cause Id love to add to my list. And speak up fellow oat junkies, youre not the only ones with just in case quakers in your suitcase.

happy mornings

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