While I'm trying hard to expand my foodie horizons, I am one of those eaters who just likes what I like and see no reason to stray beyond the favorites (when Dave berates me for not trying new things I just tell him that there is something in my character that makes me love the old familiar things--foods, boyfriend--with such a passion that I feel no need to seek something new. It's a stretch but it usually shuts him up). Combine that for the usual nostalgia surrounding what the kids these days call "the comfort food," and it's a wonder I eat anything at all other than mac n cheese and peanut butter (I know, I know. My poor parents). With that I bring you Give Me Some Comfort! (Food), a look at the food that shaped our childhoods and, for some of us, adulthoods. On today's menu: the slightly racist but ultimately delicious century-old porridge, Cream of Wheat.
Today, dear readers, as I headed out to work wearing my snowboots to trudge through the two inches of freshly-fallen snow, I had one thought that filled me with childhood nostalgia and job resentment: if I was 10, today would be a snow day.
It's one of the worst parts of being an "adult" (trappings include job, rent/mortgage, student loans) that they expect you to go to work when it is cold outside! Come on guys! I thought there was some study that said happy workers make the best workers and I would be a much happier worker if instead of going to the office on cold, snowy days I instead curled up under the quilts with a cup of tea and some hardcore Harry Potter.
Dreams of Tuesday snow forts and my mom's resentment when her school wasn't called off are wonderful enough, but the porridge on the cake of a snow day was getting to enjoy a large, steaming bowl of Cream of Wheat.
Ok, admittedly cream of wheat in of itself looks a little, ew. For years I had no idea what it even was, my baby scientist brain unsure of where to catalogue it in the body of food knowledge I was slowly acquiring (Wikipedia tells me it is made from farina. Oh. Right. Farina.). My Titi (my tiny Puerto Rican great-aunt) used to make this for me, and I still, to this day, can't accurately replicate how good hers came out. Every once in a while I would make it for myself before school (yes, I cooked for myself every morning! How was I to know that that would probably be the pinnacle of my food preparation years?), and it took years before I could determine the correct accoutrement to the porridge. I share that knowledge with you now so that you, too, can enjoy a steaming hot bowl of imaginary Cream of Wheat as you slip and slide down a dark, icy sidewalk on your way to work.
CREAM OF WHEAT
Cream of Wheat
1/2 tablespoon butter
Follow directions on the Cream of Wheat box (no salt)
Prepare on the stove (not microwave!! let me give you a one-word review of microwaved Cream of Wheat: crap)
It should be smooth, not lumpy; if it gets lumpy add a little milk.
Mix in a couple shakes of cinnamon; you should have enough that you can see flakes of cinnamon without turning the whole thing tan
Pour into a smaller bowl.
Add brown sugar; if it's in small chunks, don't break it up--the smaller lumps of sugar won't melt and are like happy little surprises as you eat.
Top with a pat of butter.