“Great Breakfasts of My Childhood” by Ryan Warren

“Every Boy and Girl Needs a Hot Breakfast”/Cream of Wheat ad by Frederic Kimball Mizen (1926)

 

Good Morning!

Hungry for a little breakfast?

Coming right up!

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Top ‘o the Morning Lucky Charms Pancakes

 

GREAT BREAKFASTS OF MY CHILDHOOD
by Ryan Warren

My grandfather liked to fry potatoes on Sundays,
peppery and thick with soft onions,
though he knew I did not care for onions,
people didn’t seem to ask much then
children’s opinion on food preparation.
My grandfather, who lived to pull crisp waffles
from the electric iron, though always soggy
by the time you ate them. Who loved a big stack
of Krusteze pancakes, cooked a little too black,
adorned by cold chunks of margarine and Log Cabin Syrup.
On weekdays, though, it was oatmeal,
thick from the pot, clumps of hardening raisins
softening as they were stirred in
with milk, with little rocks of brown sugar.
occasionally, Cream of Wheat instead.
My mother rose later, with my brothers,
and breakfast from her was always a surprise —
though she loved toast the best. Cheese toast,
melted cheddar sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon toast,
toast with peanut butter, with honey, with butter and jam,
with a soft boiled egg quivering atop, sprinkled
with salt and pepper. Eggs, eggs so many ways.
Scrambled with hot dogs, with cheese. Poached. Fried,
yolk unbroken, toast to sop up that sunny puddle of delight.
We were a breakfast family, no “Just a cup of coffee for me.”
Breakfast — to fortify your day, arm you for school, work,
occasionally, and for feverish stretches at a time, for church.
Different churches, different times. We moved in strange
cycles of devotion. But from breakfast we never wavered.
I’ve never understood those for whom food is merely fuel.
And I’m sure they’ve never understood me. How even a bowl
of sugar cereal, dug deep into a cartooned Saturday morning,
Lucky Charms or Captain Crunch or Frosted Flakes
or whatever had been on sale that week, could be a kind of devotion,
a ritual, richer than any of the churches we wove in and out of.
Or sometimes we just had it for dessert.
Don’t even get me started on dessert.

~ first published in The Scarlet Leaf Review (April 2017)

 

Pooh Toast by Marie Saba

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After drooling at all the foods mentioned in the poem, I immediately thought about my dad, who was definitely devoted to breakfast, an unwavering morning ritual that set the world right for yet another day.

For many years, it was half a papaya, two soft boiled eggs, two Jimmy Dean sausages, and a cup of black coffee. Somewhere along the line he abandoned eggs in favor of Eggo waffles (no butter, lots of Log Cabin Syrup). Of course he never gave up on the sausages, papaya or coffee.

He was a creature of habit who lived to be 104. When you think about it, that’s a LOT of papayas and sausages. 🙂

 

Original Oil Painting by Mary Ellen Johnson

 

As for childhood breakfasts, my brother and I mostly helped ourselves to cold cereal since we had a busy working mom. I have vague memories of her making oatmeal or Cream of Wheat sometimes, Bisquick pancakes or waffles strictly on weekends. The ultimate treat was going out for breakfast, the only time we might have pancakes and scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, hash browns, and perfectly browned toast with pats of foiled wrapped butter and jelly in those wonderful little packets (still love those).

And oh, the thrill of pouring Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup on pancakes for the first time! I mean, the shaped jar alone made us giddy (today’s plastic doesn’t compare with the original glass jars).

 

Original oil painting by Mary Ellen Johnson

 

I was definitely a cereal fiend, and am old enough to remember how exciting it was when Lucky Charms, Froot Loops, and Captain Crunch first came out. I was also big on Cocoa Krispies, Alpha-Bits, Apple Jacks, and Frosted Flakes. Remember when Honey Smacks was called Sugar Smacks, and Corn Pops was called Sugar Pops? If not, you’re clearly an infant. 😀

As I —*ahem*— matured, so did my favorites: Raisin Bran, Shredded Wheat, Rice Chex. These days, I’m all about oatmeal with berries.

 

Original acrylic painting by Tom Martin

 

What are some of your favorite childhood breakfasts? What do you eat for breakfast these days? Is it always the same every day?

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The multi-talented Matt Forrest Esenwine is hosting the Roundup at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Tap dance on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodies being shared around the blogosphere this week. Enjoy your weekend!

 

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“Breakfast with a Friend” by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

 


Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

26 thoughts on ““Great Breakfasts of My Childhood” by Ryan Warren

  1. Yum! My breakfasts now are certainly not as fun as all those pancakes that came off the griddle of my childhood stove…and in summer, corn fritters were tops!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 😋 Yum what a delicious post Jama! Might be late for teaching from reading it but so fulfilling as breakfast is! I eat a lot of oatmeal and berries too, and love pecans on top. From childhood we did have oatmeal in the winter, the real kind, and the spoon for stirring was always stuck into my hand by my mom 😊. Thanks for this-lovely post all around—now for some breakfast!

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  3. Jama, I love everything about this post, especially this line, “But from breakfast, we never wavered.” Breakfast is a favorite in my family and has been since my children were little. While we do not get to congregate over eggs and delicious items often, it is a time we remember and savor when we do. Thank you for sharing this poem and the wonderful photos. I’m off to eat my breakfast now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree — breakfasts together are special times. Seems like more and more of a luxury in this day of fast and instant everything.

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  4. This is wonderful, Jama. It’s snowing here today so I’m headed for Red Mill 7 grain “hot” cereal with a pat of butter & a little milk. I grew up having many kinds of breakfasts, from my mother’s waffles to fried potatoes, bacon and eggs at one grandparents’ to the most sumptuous poached eggs set gently into an iron skillet of boiling water. That grandmother raised chickens, so those eggs held tight of course. What a wonder of a poem to start the morning! Thank you!

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  5. as children we always had a hot breakfast — we had eggs bacon or ham or sausage and toast or oatmeal plain or cream of wheat or cream of rice plain or pancakes or french toast or cinnamon toast with a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of milk. those were the days of stay at home moms.
    as an adult of 77 i now have pretty much the same breakfasts except i have berries and maple syrup on the cereals and a cup of coffee or a cup of tea .
    this is the best blog jama, so lovely for the spirit — there are still a few places of magic to be found in the world. thank you.

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    1. Sounds like you were well fed during childhood! My mouth is watering at your list of foods. Thank you for dropping by, Judy, and for your kind words. 🙂

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  6. Enjoyed Ryan’s poem! “people didn’t seem to ask much then
    children’s opinion on food preparation” made me laugh. I wonder why his grandfather’s waffles were soggy by the time they ate them?
    Corn fritters sound yummy, Linda! My grandfather made grits, bacon, eggs. He grew cantaloupe, which was a perfect accompaniment. Those breakfast paintings are AMAZING.

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    1. I don’t think I’ve ever had grits. The main character in the book I’m reading, Where the Crawdads Sing, eats them all the time. Must try some.

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  7. Thanks for this great poem… it took me many places. When we were very little, or ill, my mother would tear up a slice of bread, pour milk on it, sprinkle with a little grown sugar, and that was breakfast. Now? I eat apple slices dipped or slathered with peanut butter most days… on special days it’s eggs, potatoes fried with onions, bacon or ham. Mmmmm. Don’t forget the coffee.

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    1. Your childhood breakfast reminds me of what Peter Rabbit’s mother fed Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail: bread and milk and blackberries. 🙂 I used to love apple slices with peanut butter as a snack; now I have to avoid peanuts because of adult allergies . . . 😦

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  8. Those paintings are amazing! And that poem. So much fun. The ending made me snort!

    Ah, breakfast memories. Scrambled eggs, toast, orange juice, and milk EVERY school day morning. Oatmeal only at my cousins’ out on the farm. Bacon and fried eggs for Sunday breakfast, sometimes with a honey bun. On Saturday, when I got to choose whatever I wanted for breakfast (as long as I fixed it myself), I ate a can of alphabet soup and dill pickles!!

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  9. Your poem and post evoke soooo many memories. We mostly ate cereal or cinnamon toast with sugar on weekdays, but weekends– oh boy! Saturdays my dad usually got us doughnuts and Sundays he cooked- french toast or scrambled eggs and bacon. These days, I hate the smell of eggs cooking, but I really love to go out to breakfast!

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  10. What a wonderful breakfast post! I grew up in a breakfast family, and I’m happy to live with a breakfast husband now! As always, I love the poetry and the illustrations. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

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