Eat with Pleasure

Stories and Recipes by Jenny Holm

I recently read about a helicopter alarm clock that takes off from your nightstand and gyrates about your room, siren blaring, until you catch the renegade chopper and return it to its landing dock. This is one product I will never need (thank god).  If I cannot conjure up one other reason to get out of bed in the morning, the thought of breakfast lures me, one appendage at a time. towards the kitchen.

On these frigid winter mornings, I crave the hearty creaminess of a well-made bowl of oatmeal. Eating it feels almost like the best kind of hug: warm, sweet, and fulfilling, its energy still palpable hours later. When I have time I use steel-cut oats (whose sturdy heft make them far preferable), but on weekdays I’m usually rushing and make do with the quick-cooking variety. While the oats are cooking with a dash of salt, I slice half a banana into the bowl and sprinkle in a small handful of walnuts or pecans. Then I add the oatmeal and a splash of whole milk, swirl in enough real maple syrup to lend a touch of sweetness,  and dust the top with cinnamon. The aroma tantalizes like freshly brewed coffee.

Weekday or not, I make time to savor every bite at my “kitchen” table, which doesn’t fit in the kitchen and therefore stands in my bedroom, where it regularly pulls double duty as my computer desk, bookshelf, drying rack, and pastry board. I daydream about traveling to Scotland for the annual World Porridge Making Championship, and about coming home with a spurtle: a tapering wooden utensil fashioned by the Scots just for stirring porridge oats. Before I know it, my bowl is empty, and I get to start looking forward to tomorrow’s breakfast.


4 Responses to “Waking Up for Oatmeal”

  1. Ben

    I remember your oatmeal ritual from our Krasnodar days! However, I don’t seem to remember so much of this ‘sitting at the table’ malarky… Have you finally learnt not to eat standing up all the time?!!

  2. Jenny Holm

    I have, indeed. It’s something I’ve been working on. It’s also more appealing to sit down for a meal in my apartment than it was in that roach motel!

  3. amyreinink

    I am newly obsessed with steel-cut oats, especially since I learned about this shortcut: You basically boil the oats for a minute the night before, then let them sit on your stove, soaking, overnight. It drastically cuts down your morning cooking time!


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