Hungry for a little breakfast?
Coming right up!
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)
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. 🙂
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).
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.
What are some of your favorite childhood breakfasts? What do you eat for breakfast these days? Is it always the same every day?
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!
Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.