Pondering with P.J.: Breakfast rituals

By PAULINE JAQUISH

Columnist

Oatmeal!

Back in the days of my youth on the Plains of Pleasanton, Foothills of Malcolm, there were few choices for the breakfast meal. There were no Fruit-Loops, Pop-Tarts or Granola Bars in the kitchen cupboards. The rule of the house was, “you eat what is set before you.”

During the winter months, oatmeal seemed to be served often and Mom’s oatmeal stuck to your ribs. At the time, I thought it was just a step down from industrial strength wall paper paste, but once I learned it would be oatmeal or nothing….oatmeal looked a little better to me.

The saving grace was the brown sugar. Mom always kept it stored in a “tin” that once held peanut butter. Why in the world she would ever buy peanut butter is still a mystery to me…get a glob of that stuff in your mouth and you just can’t get away from it!! Anyway, she kept the brown sugar in the tin so it wouldn’t turn into a solid mass which usually didn’t work because someone would often times forget to press the lid down tight…..and that would be me because I was the only kid in the house! At the time I could never figure out why Mom thought it would be me, but after having kids of my own, it isn’t that hard to understand.

I cannot continue without describing the breakfast beverage that was required each morning. It was served in a recycled jelly jar/juice glass and it was pure, room temperature, sauerkraut juice. I always felt it was a kill or cure concoction, but it was a mandatory, every morning, ritual….Mom, Dad, and “The Kid” slugged down that little glass of eye opener before consuming anything set on the table. My mother said it would ward off all winter illnesses….colds, coughs, sore throats, arthritis and a multitude of other miseries. In my case, it didn’t seem to do much for measles, mumps or chicken pox, as I had a bumper crop of all three. And I suspect by age 10 my arteries were beginning to clog from the heavy salt intake.

When warmer days approached there was always an abundance of goose eggs being produced by the 30 or so Chinese geese that Dad kept over the winter to be used as “weeders” in his strawberry patch. They would produce eggs twice or three times the size of a large chicken egg.

When Mom would break one of those in the frying pan, one was all you needed. Not only was it filling, it had the consistency of a product possibly designed by B.F. Goodrich. The white of the egg was quite substantial….rubbery….in fact, I think Dad may have used them for tire patches on some of the farm machinery. Needless to say, Mom saved most of the goose eggs for her baking which worked just fine and anyone who came to visit usually took home a bag full of goose eggs for their use.

Now, much to my dismay, I’m eating oatmeal again, and liking it. I can’t say I’m really nuts about it but it has after affects that I am inclined to need….if you know what I mean. I’ve found you can doctor a dish of oatmeal enough to almost make it into a treat….a spoon of cinnamon and a spoon of low sugar strawberry freezer jam and it’s all you can do to keep from licking the bowl!

Folks are becoming much more aware of what they are consuming these days and well they should. It’s time to be thinking about spring planting and you don’t even have to get off your deck. A half barrel planter with Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans will keep you in fresh beans all summer and also serve as a nice ivy-looking green plant. Pots of tomato and pepper plants and a window box of leaf lettuce and green onions will provide fresh salad fixin’s daily……the list is endless….have I planted any “seeds?”

As Usual, PJ

Author of “Uncommon Sense”

Pj646@centurytel.net

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Posted by Pauline Jaquish

Pauline Jaquish is the author of “Uncommon Sense.” You can reach her at Pj646@centurytel.net.

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