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.