Monday, December 14, 2009

First Bowl

It was a perfect morning to blog... dark, cold and cloudy, with no promise of sun, at all. Drawing a blank, I resigned myself to the fact that I simply had nothing to say; sigh.

It was also a perfect morning to switch from my traditional egg white or yogurt breakfast. Enough, already! Behold a brand spanking new box of farina in the pantry. Thus was born "First Bowl", with its array of happy memories.

Smiling when I say that before global warming and in our youth, my brother and I suffered many a cold July and August morning in my Gran's summer cottage. To warm us up, she'd light the oven and leave its door open; then call us in to a steaming hot bowl of farina. Gran was a miracle worker.

On to my youngest who loved that bowl enough to request it during Florida vacations. He would crank the air (note the times that are a changin' here) and request it on ninety-degree mornings. Moms can be miracle workers, too; and I just happened to have it in our quickly assembled beach pantry.

Then there was my Godfather, who along with his sister, my Mom, kept the Cream Of Wheat tradition alive; remember Gran here! Padrino was conversing with us as an elderly man, espousing the absolute benefits of the bowl, as long as it had a huge pat of butter on top. If you're a Julia fan, you'll see yet another connection here; no one loved butter more than Julia.

Funniest memory of all, though, was of a Christmas Eve-Eve (two nights before the day). Our constant guest on this particular night was a friend of the boys. It was always festive, fun and food laden. On one past Eve-Eve, he stayed till after midnight, when the filling effects of dinner were long gone. We needed a snack. "Do you know what I feel like having?" asked I - "A bowl of farina." The thought of his incredulous response, "WHAT?", still makes me laugh aloud. "I had something like pizza in mind," said he. "Okay, okay already!"... we began calling a couple of pizza joints in our one-horse town. Nothing. Everything was closed. So, what to do but start making pizza; and we did. No name needed here; if he's reading, he'll recognize himself, for sure... even if his memory has faded!

Them thar were the good ole days...

Here's to a bowl. Bon Appétit!