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~ It's a Mom Thing: My Mother's Perfect Oatmeal ~

6a0120a8551282970b014e8853ad68970dLet me start by wishing all of you moms, step-moms and soon-to-be moms a very Happy Mother's Day!  It took me a bit of pondering to decide what to write about in honor of the Mother's Day holiday.  There is a list a mile long of wonderful things I can tell you about my mom, but when I tried to narrow it down to one, this is a memory that kept coming to the forefront:  Mom made breakfast for our family every day before she went to work -- a good breakfast.  Because of our schedules, we didn't always sit down together as an entire family, and some of my fondest memories are of the breakfasts my brother and I ate together during the school year.

Mom would get up early, letting us kids sleep until the very last second.  When she had breakfast on the breakfast counter she would wake us two up.  We would stagger out to the kitchen and sit down.  While we ate, it was her turn in the bathroom to dress and get ready for work (which was smart because she didn't have to listen to our complaints or witness our breakfast bartering).  A small glass of orange juice or a pre-sliced half of grapefruit always awaited us.  I liked grapefruit days while David preferred orange juice days.  We almost never had cold cereal, although every once in a while we could talk her into buying a box of Cocoa Krispies.  A few times a week there were eggs, sometimes scrambled, sometimes sunny-side up, usually served with bacon, which my brother would hog. When it came to toast, between my grandmother and her sister, our table almost always served homemade bread with homemade jams, jellies and preserves.  English muffins picked up the slack when the bread wasn't homemade.  There were also pancake days and pastry days, but my favorite day was:  oatmeal day! (David... not so much, which was great for me because out of the goodness of my heart I would let him plop a couple of scoops of his oatmeal into my bowl the moment mom was out of sight... our system worked well because he in turn helped me out on scrambled egg day!)  

PICT2372Oatmeal did not come out of a pre-mixed, pre-portioned packet in mom's kitchen, and it is not allowed in mine nowadays either.  

My mother pretty much followed the instructions on the Quaker Oats carton, but enriched it with a pat of butter and a  bit of sugar.  She sliced some banana on top of each of our bowls, and once again, as far as I'm concerned, other fruit has no place on top on my oatmeal. Without exception, this is exactly how I still make oatmeal today:


1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons old-fashioned Quaker oats (Note:  if you like your oatmeal thicker, add 2 more tablespoons of oats, if you like your oatmeal thinner, just add 3/4 cup of oats.)

2  tablespoons butter

2  teaspoons sugar

1  banana

PICT2377 In a 1 1/2-2-quart saucepan, bring the milk, butter and sugar to a boil over high heat.  Sprinkle in the oatmeal.  Adjust heat to a steady simmer and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.  

Remove the saucepan from heat, cover, and let steep for 5 minutes. Serve immediately topped with sliced banana and a pinch of cinnamon-sugar.

This will serve two school-age children nicely, one hungry college-age boy or my husband Joe!

As my brother and I got older, our before-school breakfast routine changed and I can't finish this post without telling you about one more very special breakfast that he and I regularly shared together.  I'm not 100% sure of this, but I think this next part of  story will come as a complete surprise to my mother.  

When I turned 16, dad bought a third car.  This was not because I was privileged or spoiled (well, actually I was), but because it was practical.  Between my majorette and band practices and my brother's basketball practices, it just made sense that I should chauffeur he and I to back and forth to school.  During this period of time, my mother would get up and leave a few things out on the countertop for breakfast, or, a note full of motherly suggestions. She would wake us up and when she was certain we actually got up, she would leave for work, figuring we were old enough to figure breakfast out, and so we did... and one day, my brother really did:

At age 16, I was now taking well over an hour to do my hair and makeup, which drove my brother nuts because he just wanted to get to school early so he could hangout with his buddies. So, one day, David decided that he would cook breakfast while I was dressing (the opposite of how we were doing it).  On this particular morning, mom had left a box of frozen waffles on the counter.  When I came out of the bathroom, my brother had invented:  The Peanut Butter, Bacon and Toasted-Waffle Breakfast Sandwich.  While he quickly dressed that morning, I washed a few dishes and off we went... eating his ingenious, delicious ready-to-go breakfast on the drive to school, which I am proud to tell you we ate a couple of times a week thereafter.  Ah, the things children are cooking when mom isn't looking!  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM!!!

PICT2410 It's a Mom Thing:  My Mother's Perfect Oatmeal:  Recipe yields 2 small servings or 1 large serving.

Special Equipment List:  1 1/2-2-quart saucepan w/lid; large spoon

Cook's Note:  In all seriousness folks, The Peanut Butter, Bacon and Toasted-Waffle Sandwich is really delicious.  I like mine the best when made using chunky-style peanut butter and thick-sliced bacon!  For an added treat, spread a layer of apricot preserves or orange marmalade over the peanut butter during the assembly process!!  That being said, Elvis would have put his mom's sliced bananas on the sandwich after the peanut butter!!!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011) 


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