Friday, November 16


"What have we always said is the most important thing. What comes first?"
"Family. Right. I thought you meant out of the things you eat."
--Arrested Development

I tend to agree with George Michael. Because you see, I love breakfast.

Breakfast is the reason why I happily bound of of bed in the mornings. I lay and dream about it in all of its syrupy and hearty goodness until I land contently on the meal I would like to eat that day. By then, sleepiness can't sway me one bit, and I try earnestly to wake up Jk by whispering about all the breakfast options he has. Unfortunately he isn't as motivated to move from a warm bed no matter what sorts of dining delights await him. (Unless it's donuts, then he'll rouse slowly. :) )

I have always loved breakfast and my mom saw to it that each of us were fed before leaving for school. When I first discovered the shocking fact that not everyone was a "breakfast person" or even felt hungry in the mornings, I was down right flabbergasted! Actually, I probably would've dead-fainted if it wasn't for the fact that I had a hearty meal that morning for that specific reason.

(My mom knew I'd be at the nurse's office within 5 minutes if I wasn't fed regularly. In fact, I spent most of my 2nd and 3rd grade 10 'o clock times in the nurse's office complaining of dizziness, chills and an extreme hunger despite my mom's sputterings of "I fed her a huge bowl of oatmeal before she left!" over the nurse's phone. Then, I was always promptly informed that lunch would be soon and my mother said to put on a sweater and get back to class. My teachers must've eventually caught on because halfway through 2nd grade Mrs. Palm began giving us goldfish snacks and halfway through 3rd grade my teacher began sending me to the office with the girl who had juvenile diabetes so we could both get crackers in the late morning. Thankfully the teachers I worked with when I taught 3rd grade also knew of my newborn-baby syndrome of needing to be fed every 3 hours, and they kept Nutrigrain bars handy and had the Spanish teacher informed I might pop in in the middle of class for one.)

I have always had an extreme physiological need for breakfast, and consequently many endearing feelings towards it. I also went through breakfast phases. They went like this:

Coco Wheats: My mother must have really known how to make these taste good--maybe she poured in a ton of sugar. Either that or I was so starving in the mornings I didn't know the difference, but when I requested a box a couple years ago from fond Coco Wheat morning memories, I found they were a lot lackluster than my 8 year-old self remembered... Still, it's a bit like plain popcorn: It isn't great, but you eat it because it's there.

Cream of Wheat: Then we moved onto a very short-lived Cream of Wheat phase, and I guarantee my mom added a decent amount of sugar to help us finish off the box before going back to their chocolatey counterpart.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch: You can see why I loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch can't you? It's the swirls of real cinnamon sugar! (And no the whole grain option was most certainly not available in my youth.) Well this was a fabulous breakfast phase, and one Paige and I brought back several times even into our teens. We also happily ate it up for snacks and the times we didn't want to eat what was offered for dinner.  And then of course during our cereal phase we also branched off into healthier varieties as well like Life and Raisin Brand and...

Honey Bunches of Oats: Believe it or not, this breakfast delight is the origin of the nickname I fondly held for my brother, Grant: "Bunches." "Honey" evolved into "Honey Bunches of Oats" (obviously) and then shortened into "Bunches." The honey clustered oats is what totally made this cereal rock, which is no doubt the reasoning behind me naming a loved one after them.

Then we went through a warm breakfast phase...

Toaster Strudels: Man, these things are absolutely amazing! I'll admit it, I always was a little bummed out when my parents picked up the cinnamon apple version, but these were to die for. Plus, I got to squeeze the icing all of the top, suck the remaining frosting from it's little pouch, and scarf this down on the bus. When I lived with my grandparents last year, they packed their freezer full of these to feed me in the mornings, and I'm also pretty positive it's the reason they bought us a toaster for my bridal shower (and my cousin one... Matt & Kelsey, you're welcome!).

Biscuits & Gravy: Ah! I'll tell you that my heart skipped a couple beats when Google images pulled up this pretty picture. To this day, biscuits and gravy are my all-time savory breakfast food (sweet is a whole other category). Maybe because they just seem so difficult to make. Luckily, my mom found the frozen version for my 12 year-old self to make on mornings she would rather not cook. All I had to do was stab the plastic top sheet with a knife a couple times and microwave for a couple minutes! Mmmmm.

Sausage Biscuits: Just as delicious in the sandwich form rather than slathered in gravy, these sausage biscuits came in packages of two! Another classic bus breakfast and a fabulous after-school snack. Did I mention how much I love meat?

Egg Sandwich: I reached the pinnacle of my cooking career as a child when I was taught how to make an egg sandwich from... scratch! Just give me an English muffin, egg, Kraft single, and a sausage link and I would've made you the best breakfast of your life! I even scrambled the egg in a bowl and added just a touch of water before I microwaved it for 45 seconds. And I carefully sliced the single sausage link in half twice (lengthwise and then across) so it would lay flatly on the sandwich. After I made this for my grandparents during our trip to South Carolina and they raved about my cooking, I became a pretty big deal in the culinary world. 

Carnation Instant Breakfast: In high school my mom put my brother and I on a strict Instant Breakfast diet insisting we drink it with whole milk. She told me a huge glass of chocolately whole milk was sure to last me until lunch, though I also suspected she was trying to get both of us to put a little poundage on our pale, stick-figure frames. A ginormous glass of milk did last me quite a while, though I always bought a pack of those Hostess mini-muffins to eat on the way to class mid-way through the morning. I also made the unfortunate discovery part-way through college that I'm mildly lactose-intolerant. No wonder my stomach always hurt....

Cinnamon PopTarts: Forget the age-long commercial feuds between Pop Tarts and Toaster Strudels. Both are delicious in their own right. The brown sugar cinnamon were my favorite Pop Tarts by far (though the s'more version was a very close second), and I'd eat them from a little paper towel in the car in the mornings. They were also my preferred after school snack. Who wouldn't want frosted sugar after a long day of classes??

S'mores PopTarts: Some weird graham cracker-like crust and artificial marshmallow goo made this super sugary pop tart over-the-top delicious. The icing on the cake? The chocolate icing of course!

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal: And here is where I happily landed today. (Though my love for the warm brown sugar oatmeal started years ago.) There's nothing quite like eating a steamy bowl of warm oatmeal while driving to work on a cold winter day (did I say driving? uh...I mean eating it only at stoplights... Luckily I work from home now ;) ). The Maple & Brown Sugar version is the best, and a much sweeter version than the Cream-of-Wheat-like plain oatmeal. 

So next time you awake groggy and grouchy on an all-too-early morning, spend a few moments considering breakfast in all its wonderful goodness. And perhaps you, too, will discover the most important thing (at least in things you eat). Happy breakfasting!

PS. I cannot tell you how incredibly hungry this post made me...

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