October 9, 2021

Oatmeal with a Bite

 I have always thought of myself as a morning person, but I have either been deluding myself or my body’s preferences have changed with age. These days, I arise reluctantly and perform morning rituals in a light fog. These include feeding the cats, taking my medications and, of course, preparing breakfast.

Quaker Oats

More often than not, breakfast involves cereal of some sort, either hot or cold. Occasionally, I will fix eggs or, if available, I may have a bagel or pastry. (Breakfast consisted of an apple fritter and coffee the other day. I recommend this menu.) 

Today, I decided to have oatmeal. This choice has both advantages and disadvantages. Quick-cooking oatmeal is ready in no time, but adding ingredients to it to make it palatable is time-consuming, and it takes more time to eat my bowl of oatmeal than it does other breakfast selections.

On a good day, the first item into my oatmeal bowl is sliced banana. I had no bananas today (insert song here), so I skipped that step. The other standard items to include in my oatmeal are salt—this is added as the oatmeal cooks—light brown sugar, nuts (pecans today), raisins, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

After preparing my oatmeal, I brought it to the table along with my morning coffee and began the slow process of eating. (One can eat hot cereal only so fast.) I also brought my phone and phone stand to the table and began perusing The New York Times while I ate. Somehow, oatmeal seemed less satisfying today, although it was not clear why. Surely, the lack of banana could not account for its seeming more bitter than usual.

As I neared the bottom of the bowl, I had a sudden realization. My nutmeg is dispensed from a nutmeg mill that grinds whole nutmegs. The nutmeg mill resides in a cabinet next to my pepper mill. Apparently, I used the pepper mill this morning instead of the nutmeg mill.

Thinking about breakfast, I would not recommend using large amounts of pepper in oatmeal. Adding just a little, however, along with nutmeg and other ingredients, might add just a little bite to offset the sweetness of sugar, vanilla, and raisins. I may try that next time. Perhaps I should have a few slugs of coffee before I prepare breakfast.

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