Seven years ago I did not cook. I’d dabble in baking but my biggest claims to cooking fame were that I could slice garlic very thin and make a killer grilled cheese sandwich. I added salami and used rye bread for those sandwiches but for the most part, it was takeout, cereal or canned soup. I liked good food but I didn’t know how to prepare it.
This is where we find Mr.; he learned how to cook beside his grandmother, aunt and father. At the stove, stirring this and sprinkling that, he learned about the fundamentals of home cooked meals. We had an interesting “courtship”: We had moved in together, roommates in a small house just down the road from the University.
We bonded in the kitchen where I sat on the counter, chopped onions and garlic and watched him whirl about that tiny room, barely enough space to open the refrigerator and stand at the stove at the same time. Through that time I started to learn to cook, how flavours match and the meaning of smoke point with oil. When our daughter was born, I resolved to prepare all of her baby food. I was more confident in the kitchen, a few basics hitched in my back pocket. I feel a surge of pride every time Bubs says, “Mommy, how ‘bout we just make it” if I tell him we are out of something. To the kids, the kitchen is an adventure and you can always make it, if you just know how (ingredients tend to help). I love his confidence in the kitchen; the exuberance each of my children has for picking out foods to add to our meal. A bag of peas they’ll sneak onto the deck to shell and eat one at a time are from Ted. The ground beef in the tourtiere is from Maureen.
I feel a connection to people through the food I feed my family. How I prepare it links me to so many others. Apple pies are my mom standing at the sink peeling and chopping apples for Thanksgiving pies, the light from the fluorescent light over the sink bouncing off a bowl of salted water.
This morning I was awake before anyone else, save for the cats. The kids usually pick their breakfast, if we are running late it’s cereal with yogurt and a glass of soymilk or peanut butter toast with apple slices. Today I had time and set about to make oatmeal. I use the quick oats that take only 3 to 5 minutes, I had extra time but realistically I only had 10 extra minutes. Imagine my delight when the kids came down and neither was interested in oatmeal, both were intent on peanut butter toast.
Thus, peanut butter and honey oatmeal.
The egg adds a beautiful creaminess, akin to a thick rice pudding. Be sure to keep the oatmeal over low heat for the egg to cook. A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top really completes the oatmeal, brings it to it full sense of oatmelness.
The Peanut Butter Honey Oatmeal
Note: I cook my quick oats just like rice. I start breakfast too early in the morning to worry about stirring anything into boiling water.
1 cup quick oats
2 cups water
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2-3 tsp honey
optional: honey roasted peanuts, soymilk, and cinnamon sugar
1. In a small/medium pot, pour in the quick oats and shake the pot to settle. Add water. Cover and heat on medium high. Once bubbles form, lower to a simmer for 3 minutes.
2. Keeping the heat on low, stir in the egg. Incorporate well. Add the peanut butter and mix until thoroughly mixed with the oatmeal. Add honey.
Serve with a drizzle of honey, cinnamon sugar and soymilk. Or, a few honey-roasted peanuts. Enjoy.