Monday, May 11, 2009

Not so much the norm


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 2

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.

Stir in:
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/4 cup toasted almonds

breakfast millet 1


Rachael said...

You make me smile...really smile.

I'm looking forward to some of our favorites when we are altogether again very soon!

Caryn said...

I'm also glad that your parents trained you palate to enjoy and know such "exotic" foods! I love learning from you! However, Lucky Charms is such an pleasant craving, and I like to indulge my naive palate to that sugary treat as frequently as possible!

Lael said...

Rachael: Mum, I can't wait to share in these things soon too!

Caryn: There is certainly no shame in enjoying a bowl of Lucky Charms. One other thing my parents taught was genuine gratitude for the food before there is a time and a place to love a breakfast sugar high :)

I hope I don't ever come across as a food snob!

Jessica said...

This has become my favorite thing to eat for breakfast! Thanks for introducing me and thanks for posting the recipe!

Jared and Kim said...

Hmmm! I miss that bowl.

Lael said...

Jessica: I'm so glad you love it as much as me!

Jared and Kim: Jared (I assume), you mean the food that's in the bowl, right? Otherwise, that's my mini souffle dish from Central Market you're drooling over ;)

Lauren Sutton said...

Eww Vegemite. That is cruel.

Anonymous said...

I'm doing this! Barley for breakfast, I knew God was good. I have just been loving your recent posts me dear. Keep them coming!

love brennarose

Lael said...

Lauren: Haha, yep. Heartless.

Brennarose: So glad you're enjoying my posts, B. I'm enjoying having enough of a life to write them!

Megs said...

We were a carob household growing up too. My favourite snack was carob chips and raisin granola. :)

This millet looks *so* good. How does it stand up to reheating? i'd like to make a big batch for a week's worth of breakfast . . .

Lael said...

Megs: This millet works just as well reheated, in my opinion. I've noticed that it's a tad bit drier, so sometimes I'll add a splash of milk to remoisten it. This is actually what you see in the second bowl breakfast on the second morning - equally delicious!

Shannon said...

I am making breakfast millet this morning. It gave me a big reminder of you and I have had the pleasure of praying for you this morning. I hope you are doing so so well.
Shannon B.