In the shower this morning I was thinking about breakfast. I don't eat it much anymore - basically, I'm trying to eek out just a couple more minutes of sleep and therefore forfeiting any right to a good, warm breakfast. Dang.
Well, like I was saying, I was thinking about warm breakfast and my mind was taken back to s different place and time when I was but a youth growing up in the wilds of Wyoming. Breakfast was a staple - never, ever, ever went without breakfast. Yet, this wasn't always a good thing. Why? Well, with six kids being raised on a school teacher's (the apostrophe here notes singular ownership, not plural) salary, it wasn't IHOP. And as kids, we complained sometimes at my good mother's hard work of daily meal preparation. She'd wisely and smartly quip 'This isn't a restaurant.'
Hot cereal was a staple because it was cheap and it filled you up right - "It sticks to your ribs"; they were the K-cars of breakfast foods: super cheap, these meals lasted along time and weren't in the least bit fancy. All were the old fashioned slow-cooked kind, too; none of this instant garbage. But as kids, we always found a way to candy-up these seemingly mundane meals.
Oatmeal: This delish-dish was best eaten with brown sugar and homemade apple sauce; if we were lucky, sometimes we'd be able to convince mom to break out the cream. Easily the most diverse of the four staples, these three ingredients were the trifector of toppings that made oatmeal just a shade away from delicious.
Cracked whole wheat: This wasn't this 7-grain sissy stuff - it was straight up in-your-face whole wheat, the kind that comes in 75-pound bags. It was the John Wayne of hot cereals: hard, tough and nearly impossible to break. As with the oatmeal, brown sugar was the staple that helped this medicine go down; sometimes some cream was administered.
Rice: Our grain-friend from the south Pacific made the breakfast circuit the least of the four. Rule of thumb: less is more. Butter and cinnamon sugar was the icing on this oriental grain; try to top it with anything else, you were asking for a quick trip to Gagville.
Cream of Wheat: This was the only name brand of these four and my favorite for a couple reasons. First, it was diverse. It could be enjoyed simply, with a healthy dose of brown sugar that would melt and run off the top to create a brown, fructose moat around at the edges of your bowl. Second, towards the end of my tenure at the Roberts Homestead, Mom came up with the crazy-good banana sauce to put on top. It was delicious. And finally, it was the only one with a catchy theme song:
(How I remember it)
Cream of Wheat's so good to eat, we have it everyday.
Cream of Wheat's so good to eat; it makes us shout 'Hooray!"
It's good for growing children (and parents too!) to eat;
We all have fun at breakfast because we all eat Cream of Wheat.
Cream of Wheat is so good to eat, and we have it everyday.
We sing this song; it will make us strong, and it makes us shout, "Hooray!"
It's good for growing babies, and grownups too to eat.
For all the family's breakfast, you can't beat Cream of Wheat.