Thursday, March 1, 2018

Good breakfast to you!

Some mornings are just plain old tough, aren't they?

I've had them, you've had them, even Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet magazine for ten years, has had them. 

She was in Seattle promoting a new cookbook when called to immediately return to NY, no reason given. There she found out, along with her staff, that Gourmet was finished--

                               on her watch.

That upset me to no end when I heard it, I who had read the magazine for decades, but it devastated Ruth.

"And so I did what I always do when I'm confused,
lonely, or frightened:
I disappeared into the kitchen."

I won't go into the long story here but last Friday evening at about 5:15 p.m. our beautiful darling Mason got out a gate left open and disappeared.

About 19 terrible hours later we found him, soaked to the skin, a muddy mess, scared to death, but alive and well.

I don't remember what RH and I had for breakfast on Saturday morning while Mason was lost, something grabbed before heading back out to comb the neighborhood again and then home to make waterproof posters for the street.

But Sunday morning dawned full of sunshine and rejoicings
because our Mason was home with us again.

After feeding Mason and Bree their special breakfast of chicken livers and broth--they had both had dental surgery the Monday before and were on soft foods--we thought about our own breakfast. 

And we craved comforting oatmeal. Ruth Reichl's Butter Toasted Apricot Oatmeal. We didn't have any apricots but golden raisins were fine instead.

"Butter-toasted oatmeal,
rivers of thick cream,
brown sugar.
Fresh orange juice;
Such fragrant hope."

On this first day of March, I'm thinking of a dear New Englander friend who has recently moved to North Carolina and been shocked to find pork chops, of all things, on the breakfast menus of restaurants in her new hometown.

Here's a little breakfast menu I found that early New Englanders would have eaten, girlfriend, by another New Englander:

"On these icy mornings we like a good breakfast.
I think with nostalgia of the early Americans 
who lived in this house.

I know what they had; they had pie!
Good, robust, flaky, rich, spicy apple pie.
Aside from this they ate only
ham, eggs, pickles, cheese, sausage,
pancakes and sirup and,
for Sunday, codfish balls."

Gladys Taber
The Book of Stillmeadow
the March chapter

Mason and Bree and I wish you all a March of 
good breakfasts,
whether it's oatmeal or pork chops or codfish balls!


  1. oh oh my! those little faces. you could post a picture of them every day and I would never tire of them.
    and your own glowing happy face is there too and one of my favorites. not difficult to tell that you are one happy puppy mama!
    my own New England gram always gave us porridge for breakfast. she's the only one I ever heard call it that. at school and since childhood everyone here says oatmeal! or oats. and I still call it porridge. childhood memories run deep!
    comfort food is just that. nursery food that we turn to when our hearts are afraid or broken. I'm so very glad that this story had a happy ending!
    little rascal! but then he might have run if a crack of thunder startled him when he was out there attended like a gentleman to his business! hug them for me darling sister mine. XOXO (and 4 little hearts that I can no longer do thanks to Microsoft updating.) but you know who they're for. 2 in spirit.

    1. Porridge is a much better name for this than oatmeal. Makes me think of all the old D.E. Stevenson novels set in Scotland. Were your gram's people from there?

      And do you know that even now, after a taste of freedom, that little rascal still goes to the gate first thing on going outside? He has a very short memory of all the scary parts of that night on the town.

  2. and I meant to mention... why do companies have to be so brutal?
    to do it that way to a woman like Ruth Reichl who's heart was in her work.

    like the line in You've Got Mail... when Kathleen Kelly is told "it's business. it's not personal." and she was a person. and it hurt deeply.
    and I loved her answer... even though I can't remember it verbatim ...
    "but it's personal to me. and it SHOULD be personal! if anything it should always be personal!"

    1. Exactly! It is personal. They just don't get that, do they?

  3. What a hearty and healthy breakfast oatmeal is! Funnily enough, this is the third post on oatmeal I've come across the last hour! Wonder if porridge, as Tam's grandma used to call it, as well as all my English/Irish/Welsh friends do, is trending right now! Julie, from Julie's Creative Lifestyle, one of the posts I just finished reading on oatmeal, has bought herself something called an instapot, which cooks steal cut oats in 3 minutes flat. Have you heard of this? Although I like oatmeal, I don't crave it, but when I do, I enjoy it covered in apples and cinnamon.

    I remember reading an article on Ruth Reichl on my way to the law firm, one morning and I was struck by her sincere enthusiasm for food and cooking - and it's contagious, so much so that you went out and got her book! I'm certain that it has provided you with lots of inspiration and motivation to prepare delicious fare, just as I'm certain that your breakfast that Sunday morning was the tastiest one you've had in a long time, one where prayers of gratitude were voiced for your baby's safe return home.

    Happy weekend, Dewena!
    P.S. How cute are they! I can actually see how lucky Mason feels to be comfy and cozy in his cottage, with his mommy and daddy and Bree!

    1. That is funny that you came across so many oatmeal posts that day! Great minds....or just hungry ones?

      I'm glad you are familiar with Ruth Reichl, Poppy. I love reading about strong women who don't let a setback keep them down, even if it smacks them down pretty hard at the time. I love reading food memoirs and expect that Reichl will continue having lots to say in the future.

      And you know that you've been such a blessing to me with all your prayers for my family since I "met" you. We've kept you busy the last few years, haven't we?

  4. I learned to eat porridge "the Scottish way" which is with salt sprinkled on it. Odd, because I don't eat anything else with salt added. I guess my mum learned from her father who was a Shetlander. I'm in Oaxaca right now and I ate a tamale for breakfast. Bree has exactly the same expression as our Tilde who is at home with Monsieur and who has just started dog-training classes. We live in an apartment and she will bark at tall men strangers.

  5. Your tamale for breakfast sounds delicious! And porridge without salt would be mighty hard to get down. Madame, how I would love to have seen the Shetland Islands! To visit Scotland at all, really. I do the next best and read about it, especially the Isabel Dalhousie books by McCall Smith.

    And last week I think I got down the pronunciation of "parritch" -- by listening to Youtube. Did your grandfather pronounce his morning oatmeal that way, by any chance?

    That doesn't surprise me that Tilde barks at men strangers, but only tall ones? Not sort ones? Funny. Bree barks at all men, even my husband. Actually at all people except me, who she guards. Dog training classes have been advised here too.

    Have a wonderful visit in Oaxaca,

    1. And the porridge of the South where I am from is grits. And you absolutely cannot eat unsalted grits!