- Family and Parenting
I Hated Oatmeal but My Mother Made me Eat It
The Battle of Wills
I dare say many of us will never forget our first day of school. For most of us now termed "baby boomers" we missed the kindergarten class and were ushered into the world of formal education into first grade in the local public school system. Whether we missed out on anything important from an educational perspective seems moot at this point but one memory of my first day of school began early in the morning at the breakfast table.
Those who have studied the subject of nutrition and how it effects education now know what my mom always knew before the intellectuals obtained grants and studied the subject in depth, kids as well adults seem to fare better if they have eaten a good healthy breakfast. In our county school system breakfast is now provided for students who may leave home without breakfast.
I don't know if eating oatmeal came from our Scottish roots but oatmeal was a regular item at our breakfast table and I hated oatmeal. Even with a little sugar added, the thoughts of oatmeal made my stomach turn. I wished many times we might have had a house dog that might sit under the table to eat some of those spoonfuls of that awful foul tasting stuff that made me gag. On that first day of school all decked out in my new britches and shirt and all spic and span from head to foot having been properly scrubbed with that Ivory soap which purportely was 99 and 44/100% pure. I looked forward to my first day of school, a battle of wills would soon take place.
Mom had gotten up early scurrying about to make biscuits. Good old Kansas Maid selfrising flour and lard were the main ingredients of her dough which she then rolled flat with an old wine bottle, an artifact of bygone days when my dad drank adult beverages. She cut out individual biscuits with an old Pet milk can and baked them to a golden brown in her old Roman-Eagle wood cookstove.
She had already fixed daddy's breakfast of eggs over easy, country ham and poured him hot coffee. The smell of that country ham was our wake up call. In the kitchen mom's old Roman Eagle wood cook stove was stoked and ready with a metal pot filled with water now boiling with steam drifting upwards towards the tongue and grooved ceiling of our old mill village house. Nearby on the Hoosier cabinet, a big box of Quaker Oats sat not yet opened. I thought to myself as I looked at that old man on the box,"He don't look none to happy either thinking maybe he also was he made to eat some of that nasty oatmeal too?"
Mom measured the correct amount of oats from the box and stirred them into the boiling water, it would only be a short time before the battle would commence.I watched as she fixed my bowl and sat it down in front of me at my place at the table. "Eat your oatmeal!' she said. I added some sugar and a little cows butter and stirred it around. The butter and sugar made the texture like a gruel but the thoughts of taking that first bite made me cringe. Each time I attempted to take a bite I would gag.
Mama was adamant,"You will eat your oatmeal!" I started to cry thinking maybe she would relent but to no avail. To make this story short, I did eat the oatmeal and it was a miracle it all stayed down but in the process there was a lot of fussing. I did get spanked and threatened not to be allowed to go to school if I did not eat my oatmeal. Not getting go to school sorta scared me because with my birthday being after October 15 and the requirement of having attained the age of six, prior to this date, I was already almost seven. She never again forced me to eat oatmeal and it wasn't until years later I developed a taste for oatmeal.
I think maybe my taste for oatmeal now is fueled by the health benefits obtained from eating natural grains. After my wife had an episode with angina that led to having a stint placed in her heart and an angiogram for another blockage due to a triglyceride problem (hereditary in her case) we learned oatmeal eaten on a regular basis can reduce blood cholesterol. I didn't have any problems in this area but oatmeal has become a part of our regular diet and has reaped huge benefits for her and probably myself as well.
Today, I enjoy my oatmeal with fresh fruit,nuts and a little brown sugar but hardly a breakfast where oatmeal is served goes by without me remembering my first day of school and the battle of the wills. I think it not strange but I have always like oatmeal cookies but then I am a "Cookie Monster."
Do you eat oatmeal? Today there are so many great instant oatmeal products on the market to suit about anyone's taste.
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