When I was a kid, usually after reading Little Women and/or watching A Christmas Carol, I liked to dress up in a long skirt and shawl and create a little hovel (fort) for myself in the dining room. I would get a little cup from the kitchen and, if I could get my hands on them, a few candlesticks (though I was not allowed to light them). As members of my family passed from kitchen to dining room to living room, I would beg them for alms. I don't think I ever got any.
After breakfast this morning, I'm thinking Mom missed an opportunity with me. I always hated oatmeal and Cream of Wheat and other such porridgey breakfast foods, but had she introduced me to Oliver Twist, she could have gotten me to eat Cream of Wheat any time. Gruel! It would have played wonderfully into my make-believe game. Though, who knows how much I would have eaten. It might have just been a prop.
I was advised, after my oatmeal post, that if I ate Cream of Wheat I should cook it in milk instead of water. The box told me it might be good with some maple syrup, and I had some left over from my bacon-wrapped dates, so I put about a teaspoon of that in, too. And while it tasted exactly like I remembered it, I found that on this snowy morning, it was oddly comforting. Warm. Slightly sweet. Easy to eat. The milkiness helps. I think there's something in us mammals that cries out for milk and milk products when we are in need of comfort. Sorry if you find that gross. But really, what did we eat as babies? And what's more like baby food than Cream of Wheat? (There is actually a set of instructions on the box for use with infants and toddlers.) Now, I know I've railed against adults eating food that's best for babies, but that was cold applesauce; this is warm cereal. So maybe there's something to a little culinary regression now and then.