Hot Cereal

The house is quiet and still. Gerry has already left for work and the Yorkies have settled into their respective beds for the first nap of the day. Outside, a soft morning rain falls on the garden and yellow finches flit back and forth to the thistle feeder.

I stand at the stove rhythmically, slowly, in figure-eights, stirring a pot of hot cereal. It is my morning meditation.

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; nutritionally, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. It can do more than that though; done right, breakfast can mentally set the tone for the rest of the day too.

Most often for me these days breakfast is a jar of homemade Greek yogurt and frozen berries tossed into my bag as I head out to work in the morning; I enjoy it with a sprinkling of bran cereal in my office while I prepare for the day ahead.

Sometimes, when I’m organized, it’s one of several jars of cooked steel cut oats I’ve prepared over the weekend that sit waiting in the refrigerator to be dressed up with a dash of brown sugar and soy milk.

On weekends, I sometimes start the day with a slice of toast spread with homemade strawberry jam or a couple small whole wheat pancakes served with real maple syrup.

I’m trying to change the habit I kept for many years of not eating anything in the morning.

This morning I stared down into the pot of Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal watching craters form and pop and suddenly, in my mind, it was early morning in 1982 and I was standing at a little white half-sized stove in my kitchen making hot cereal for my children.

Somehow, instinctively, I always knew that a nutritious breakfast was important for them to start the day with and I had a diverse repertoire of menu options to choose from.

A sampling of the egg selections:

  • a three minute egg with toast
  • a fried egg with grated cheese on top
  • french toast
  • birds  nest (a fried egg cooked in a circle cut in the center of a slice of bread)
  • green eggs and ham (scrambled eggs with a dab of blue food coloring to turn them green and a slice of ham)

A sampling of the cereal selections:

  • porridge and dates (Michael’s favorite)
  • cream of wheat and peanut butter (Laurinda’s favorite)
  • corn meal and cottage cheese
  • Sunny Boy Cereal and strawberries (or whatever fruit was in season)

Mornings were slow; I had time to be deliberate and creative about what I fed my family.

Fast forward to 2012 and most mornings are hurried; my mind is usually two steps ahead of my body.
My life is different now–vastly different–and while I wouldn’t trade where I am today for anything, I can’t help but be nostalgic for those slow and lazy mornings making hot cereal for my children.

I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. What a precious memory captured in this post and in the picture of your adorable children, Linda. Oh how I can relate. My children still talk about the hot Grape-Nut cereal I use to make them when they were that age. Nostalgia is right! Thanks for sharing and for sending me down my own memory lane. BTW, breakfast will become a wonderful new experience when you retire!

    1. I can’t wait, Kathy!

  2. Linda, such a poignant way of approaching breakfast! I must rethink what’s going through mind as I stir that hot cereal. 🙂 Enjoyed your reflections on the offerings for your children and their favorites. I agree with Kathy that in retirement breakfast is a more delightful experience!

  3. Linda,
    That was a fun trip down memory lane…..I do miss making breakfast for my kids. I’m looking forward to the day I get to make it for grandkids….

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