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I’m still a kid in my mouth

Okay, okay, okay.  I write this contentedly munching away on a cookie — brushing crumbs off the laptop, knowing I won’t get all of them — and taking an occasional swig from the big glass of milk next to me.  Now why do cookies taste so good with milk?  Or put it the other way around.  Why is milk so good with cookies?  My passion for plain cold milk is a mystery to my English friends, who are convinced the only use for milk is to pour it in tea.  (For coffee you can use cream, but everybody knows that tea requires plain milk.)  But I have been drinking milk with cookies since I was old enough to drink anything out of a glass, and it’s tasted good to me year after year after year.  After year.

I still like peanut butter and jam sandwiches, too.  Or plain peanut butter sandwiches.  Even plain peanut butter eaten off a spoon, although I have to admit that that’s a treat where one spoonful is quite enough.  Another mystery to my husband, who’s also English.  He still retells the story (when I beg him) of his first day as an exchange architectural student here in the US, staying in university housing, and being given a bag lunch for the day.  “And on the sandwich,” he reports with horror, “there was this nasty brown paste.”  It’s one of his stories that still makes me laugh, thinking of this poor bewildered young Brit who had never encountered peanut butter before.

I still like chocolate sauce, too, although that’s a wonder.  When I remember my childhood eating patterns, I remember one night at my aunt’s house when for reasons I can’t entirely remember our family was living there — oh yes, I think it was that we were having a house built and it wasn’t ready when it was supposed to be.  Anyhow, on this one night we had chocolate sauce over vanilla ice cream, and it was delicious.  I think my mother had made it.  Well, the next morning my cousin Peggy and I were served cream of wheat cereal, which neither of us was particularly fond of, and I don’t know which one of us thought of it, but we decided that the cream of wheat would be improved considerably with some of the leftover chocolate sauce.

We should have been suspicious when our mothers let us go get the sauce, but we were young and innocent, and happily spooned the remainder, divided quite fairly, on our cereal.  I am here to tell you that cream of wheat cereal is not improved in any significant way by the addition of chocolate sauce.  We came to this conclusion after the first bite, and sat contemplating our bowls until we decided that we weren’t really hungry for breakfast.  Again, we should have known something was up when our mothers nodded agreeably and removed the bowls.  We found out when we came back for lunch, very hungry indeed after playing all morning, and discovered the bowls of cream of wheat and chocolate sauce waiting for us at our places for lunch.  I don’t remember how much of it we had to eat before being given peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I’m sure it was more than I wanted.  And I can’t say that I’ve eaten cream of wheat voluntarily during my adult life.

But it’s oatmeal I feel badly about.  As a child I loathed oatmeal, and we had it for breakfast three times a week.  Twice during the week we could have eggs instead, and on weekends we had eggs, boiled eggs delivered to the table in a splendid brown pottery chicken, and my father would take it around the table, clucking loudly before it delivered an egg to each child.  That was a beloved Event.  On weekdays all too often it was the wretched oatmeal, and I promised myself over and over that when I grew up I would never, ever eat another bite of oatmeal.

The real horror of it is that I grew up and discovered I like oatmeal.  I think it’s wonderful.  I like it with and without raisins.  I like it with brown sugar or white sugar and milk — there’s that milk again.  And as I am happily making my way through a breakfast bowl, I sometimes think guiltily of that poor little kid who ate oatmeal three times a week and who promised herself that when she grew up nobody could ever make her eat oatmeal and she never would.

Poor child.  Betrayed by the adult within!

What do you remember eating as a child?  Do you still eat it?  Is there anything that you promised yourself you would never eat — and never have?

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7 Responses

  1. Mmmm…I love oatmeal. But only cooked on the stove where it’s firm and not mushy. Lots of milk, butter, sugar and a dash of salt. If I can add blueberries…oh, yea. I love how the fruit plumps up and bursts in your mouth.

    Now I’m hungry for oatmeal.

    I like lots of kid’s foods. Mac and cheese? yes. Peanut butter with bananas? yes. Cheese pizza? yes. The only thing I hate are those nasty Chef B ravioli or Spagetti Oh’s. Jeez, I don’t think my dog would eat those.

  2. Love me some oatmeal and creamofwheat. I was raised on instant and taht’s what I like today. that stove business is too much of a pain for a quick hot breakfast

    Fruit gummy snacks are some of my favorite things ever invented!

    But really…it’s marshmallows or raw spagetti that takes me back. I could eat a BAG of marshamallows, no joke. I don’t dare to buy those flavored puffs in fear I will eat them in one setting.

  3. just remembered something…there was this one thing I had as a girl over one summer. It was the texture of cream of wheat, but had these packets of fruit that had been smushed into a gel type form (like jelly). The ‘wheat’ was plain flavored and you added the ‘jelly’ of your choice.

    LOVED the stuff, but I have no idea what it was and I’ve never forgotten.

  4. I’m another that still loves oatmeal. My mom used to make extra sweet for me and to this day I can can’t eat plain oatmeal with no sugar or honey. I still love the sugary cereals I grew up with like Boo Berry and Frosted Flakes.

  5. Oh Beppie, this post reminds me of when my grandma would cook me breakfast as a child! She made the best eggs I ever tasted when I spent the night with her and my grandpa. I don’t know how she made the eggs themselves, but she always added melted cheese with them. And her cheese toast was great! She always made me a big breakfast in the mornings. I miss eating breakfast at her place!

  6. Isn’t it fun that all of us have really clear mental images of food we ate as children? I nobly refrained from mentioning liver and onions (my mother and father maintained that the onions made the liver delicious — I took that with a giant grain of salt and still do). Our family had a history of anemia, and as a result liver and onions showed up a lot more often than I thought they should. My mother was a wonderful cook, and I always thought it was a waste of her abilities when she cooked liver. The only thing I remember her cooking that was an out and out failure was guava jam. (We lived in Hawaii.) She worked all day on it, and what she turned out was really awful. I think she eventually threw all the jars out, and it became a funny story.

  7. Man am I hungry now! LOL I was always a picky eater as a child. Not so much anymore, but squash and some greens are still a big no no. 🙂

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