Looking back on my childhood kitchen, many items passed over my blissful blonde head and into our pantry that I assumed were the norm in every household. Turns out that throwing around words like carob, rice milk, and millet doesn't get such casual reactions from seven and eight year olds. Generally the reaction is huh? or weird.
This case against my mother's grocery selection often got confused for personal attacks in my sensitive little child brain, but with time I grew into it. I began to like that my family was different and that I could entertain my friends simply with a tour of our refrigerator and the kitchen cupboards. We even developed a mischievous little game in the kitchen when we moved back to the States from New Zealand. It involved unscrewing a jar of a rich, chocolaty-brown spread, dipping in the tip of a table knife, and letting the food's color (falsely) speak for itself as we encouraged our poor, unsuspecting friends to take a lick of exotic "Vegemite" (or Marmite; both rotated through our house).
That really was cruel. I'm surprised we had any friends at all! It must have been my mom's redemptive zucchini muffins and rhubarb coffeecakes that kept them coming back.
The thing is, we ate wonderfully. And wonderfully healthily is the even better part. My parents desired to train my three siblings' and my palette for fresh, healthy, delicious food from the get-go.
Today I can look back with gratitude on all those mornings of oatmeal and not crave one bite of Lucky Charms or Rice Krispies. Especially when memories of hot, creamy millet sweetened by dates and enlivened with coconut and toasted bits of almond come to mind. Even as an adult, this is what I wake up craving most mornings.
Breakfast Millet with Dates, Coconut, and Almonds
Still trying to get background on this recipe - my mom has had it for many years.
In a medium saucepan, combine:
2 cups water
1/2 cup millet
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
When water boils, turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the water has just been absorbed and the grains are soft. Remove from heat.
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup toasted almonds