Cream of what?

When I was a kid, my sister and I would spend every other weekend at my dad’s house.  Dad wasn’t a big cooker… ok, I never saw the man actually cook anything.  He gardened – does that count?  He pickled things – cucumbers, peppers… does that count?  But cooking, no.  His wife cooked big hearty southern meals, complete with homemade mashed potatoes doused with butter and cream at every dinner, accompanied by a huge vat of sweet tea.  Her cooking helped us dislike her a little less.

The only time my dad was in charge of mealtime was breakfast, Cream of Wheat-style.  I have very specific Cream of Wheat memories:  it was always instant, it was always made with two packets (I’m pretty sure a serving is only one), it was served in these short, squatty oversized brown mugs with handles, it was topped with a healthy spoonful of sugar, and my sister liked hers one way (lumpy) and I liked mine another way (soupy).  My dad had to ask us every weekend who liked it lumpy vs. soupy, as he could never remember.  She and I would be curled up in respective recliners, still in our PJ’s, under a shawl/throw/blanket of some kind, when my dad would emerge victoriously from the kitchen holding two mugs of Cream of Wheat.

About three months ago, on a shopping spree in the local Kroger, I picked up a coupon-induced box of Cream of Wheat.  I was probably 11 years old the last time I had eaten any, but I had a coupon(!) and it may have even been on sale.  The box stayed in our cupboard, locked-up-tight until yesterday morning, when I cracked the sucker open in search of bland breakfast options.  Three months of alternative preferred breakfasts had gone by – eggs & toast, waffles, pancakes, cereal, more cereal, oatmeal, Pop Tarts, yet the Cream of Wheat’s only use was to make the oatmeal box seem a little less lonely.  Tuesday, after Monday’s oatmeal option, brought a less puke-like-looking alternative to the bland and stomach settling.  With iron and calcium to boot!  I poured the single packet (what restraint!) into a bowl, and added water until it was in between lumpy/soupy (who knew a girl could change?), stirred it around, and topped it with a modest sprinkle of sugar.

One bite later brought breakfast relief I could only have imagined.  It was kind of salty, kind of sweet, not too firm, not too mushy, and one packet yielded one very reasonably sized bowl of food.  I had some again this morning, though with less pomp and circumstance.  I got all but the last bit swallowed, but it was still 150% better than any other breakfast alternative I’ve tried lately.  Go team Cream of Wheat.

Posted on November 11, 2009, in da family. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you found something you can eat! I’m in the same, but opposite, predicament. Almost everything is revolting unless it is very strongly flavored. Our bodies can be so strange.

  2. Fascinating! Oddly enough, it’s only breakfast-time which needs to be bland. After I get something down there, it’s open season for sour patch kids. So completely weird.

  3. I discovered cheerios and banana for breakfast right around this time and have had it for breakfast every day since. The banana’s awesome too cause it chases away the possible leg cramps in the nighttime. Now that I can stomach more than cheerios, I also enjoy pancakes. A lot.

    • Cheerios and bananas are a godsend, though I tend to eat mine in stages. Banana first, to put a protective layer of bland, gooeyness in my stomach, and then Cheerios… which just seem like a really tasty chaser. Pancakes are totally good, though I would have said that pre-pregnancy. 😉

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