What’s for Breakfast?

On a normal day, all I usually eat for breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal with some water. I fill a small bowl (about 1.5 cups) with milled oatmeal, which we buy in bulk to reduced the cost and number of trips to the store, put in some water until the oatmeal floats, then heat the water-oatmeal combination in the microwave for 30 seconds.  The boys have only rarely had anything but oatmeal for breakfast and they usually eat it with water like me.  When Holly makes oatmeal for them, she heats the water in a teapot then pours it into the oatmeal—I don’t like that method as well because it’s too easy to burn my tongue.

It wasn’t always like that, Back in Barrow…

Mom and dad bought dry cereal in bulk from a company in Seattle that sent a ship, The North Star, up to the North Slope, and I believe most of coastal Alaska, once a year. Just about all our staples, canned food, pop, and boxed food came in one big shipment per year in August, brought in from the beach in pick-up trucks, and placed in our cache, from which we ate through the year. When I was a kid, for breakfast, we put milk in a bowl with our boxed cereal: Wheaties, Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Special K, Frosted Mini-Wheat’s, Captain Crunch, Grape nuts.., etc…  We didn’t buy the cereal at the store in Barrow, as a rule

So that we wouldn’t run out of a favorite brand of cereal before the long winter ended, dad made a list and posted it on the fridge which had the order of rotataion for the cereal. We had only one box of cereal open at a time.  So we had to finish each box before another could be opened.  Captain crunch disappeared fast each time it came up—Special-K would last for a long time.  We also had a hard fast rule, laid down by the parental units—the maximum amount of sugar we could put on a bowl of cereal was 2.5 teaspoons of sugar per bowl.

For milk, we usually used canned RealFressh Milk because it would last through the long sunless winter and could easily be kept in the hallway outside our house which led to the school.

Now that I’m a father, I’ve kind of adopted some of the eating habits of the family I married into.  They don’t eat a lot of pre-packaged food, but prefer to buy staples and make the food from scratch—I guess Margaret (the mother-in-law) used to work in a commercial canning plant and swore she would never buy canned food after her experience there.  I agree that it’s best to not eat foods with gobs of artificial colors and preservatives in them.  We also don’t keep a sugar bowl in the house. I believe we have a canister around the house somewhere to use in recipes, but I haven’t ever seen it. 

Back when I was single, the reason I stopped using milk on my cereal is that I couldn’t bring myself to buy a whole gallon of milk for myself.  If I bought a whole gallon of milk, it’d go bad before I used it all up.  The half gallon containers, I could drink in a week, but it was so much more expensive per unit, that finally frowned and gave up buying milk at all, and just put water in my cereal.  Then, after a few years of buying the expensive boxed cereals, I switched over to buying the large bags of generic cereal in the ‘clearish’ bags.  And after a few years of that, I decided to give plain oatmeal with water.

Of course, my breakfast plan doesn’t always work out perfectly.  This morning, we were out of milled oatmeal, so I ate a cold bagel with cream cheese for breakfast with a cold glass of water.

Life is good.