One Morning in Ireland
A Postcard from The Edge

A Breakfast to Remember

Welcome to Think Write Thursday -- a blogging joint-venture by Kat and Carole.  Each week, they will release a topic for bloggers to think . . . and then write about.  

This week, Kat and Carole invited us to think and write about the best breakfast we ever had . . . 

Hmmmm.  I've enjoyed many really great breakfasts in my life.  I could tell you about . . . fresh-baked croissant and café au lait in Paris.  Or the traditional Christmas morning breakfast we eat here at my house.  Or maybe . . . Tom's super-delicious fried egg sandwiches.  Or there's any breakfast I've ever eaten at Food Dance here in Kalamazoo.

How to choose?

And then it hit me.  I'm not going to tell you about the BEST breakfast I ever had.  I'm going to tell you about the MOST MEMORABLE breakfast I ever.  (And, as you'll soon see, they are NOT the same thing.)

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When I was a little girl, I hated oatmeal.

Actually, that is probably not a strong enough word.  Because I DETESTED oatmeal.

I would eat Cream of Wheat, and didn't fuss about Malt-o-Meal.  But oatmeal?  I gagged.  No matter how my mom tried to disguise the stuff with brown sugar, raisins, or cinnamon, I just couldn't manage it.  Lucky for me, my mom took pity.  She let me eat Rice Krispies instead.

Then, in 1970 - when I was 10 - Quaker introduced the first instant FLAVORED oatmeal.  Maple and Brown Sugar.  In individual packets.  Just add boiling water.  The kids on the Saturday morning TV commercials ADORED the stuff!  They were so happy -- just sitting there, perky and chirpy, mixing their own Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor!

Heck.  I wanted it, too!  I was absolutely convinced by the ad men on Madison Avenue that DESPITE the fact that I HATED oatmeal . . . I would adore THAT oatmeal!

The supermarket begging commenced.

Me:  Moooom.  Can we try THIS?  (Holding up box of Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor.)

My Mom:  No.  You hate oatmeal.

Me:  Not THIS oatmeal.  It's new.  It's INSTANT Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor.

My Mom:  No.

This went on for several weeks.  I was determined.  Each week, I pointed out the Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor.  Each week, my Mom SHUT. ME. DOWN. with those words . . . You hate oatmeal.

Finally, after weeks of begging and cajoling, I wore my Mom down.  (She was probably having a rough day and was tired to begin with.)

Me:  Can we please, Please, PLEASE get this Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor?  PLEASE.

My Mom:  No.


My Mom:  (completely exasperated and totally worn down) If I buy this, YOU WILL EAT IT.

Me:  Of course, Mother Dearest.  Of course I will eat it!  I will eat every bite and lick the bowl and ask for More, PLEASE.

I had broken her down!  The Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor hit the cart.  I couldn't have been more excited!

And.  Well.  You know what happened the next morning?

One bite . . . and I GAGGED.

Hated it.

Those artificial flavors did nothing to camouflage the taste and texture of the oatmeal that I despised, and the texture?  Lumpy glue.

My Mom, though?  She didn't miss a beat.

Eat your oatmeal.

I didn't.

Eat your oatmeal.

I didn't.

You will SIT THERE until you EAT THAT OATMEAL.

I sat there.

All morning.

Finally, she let me go . . . with that Ultimate Mother Standby BUT YOU WILL EAT IT FOR LUNCH.

Lunchtime rolled around . . . and there sat my bowl of Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor.  She didn't even bother to heat it up.  And it was WAY worse than it was at breakfast.

I sat there.

She watched me from the living room.

My sister gloated.  (She wisely kept a low profile over the whole Instant Quaker Oatmeal thing.)

I sat there.

Saturday afternoon.  I was sitting there with that damn bowl of oatmeal.

The clock ticked.

The oatmeal sat.

I was starving.  But I couldn't gag down one spoonful.

It was a total standoff.

Finally, I noticed that my mom had disappeared.  She was nowhere to be seen.  It was my Big Chance!  I made a break for it and dumped that horrid bowl of Instant Quaker Oatmeal with Artificial Maple and Brown Sugar Flavor down the sink.  And then . . . I went in search of my Mom to show her my now-magically-empty bowl. 

It worked!  She bought it!  I was FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST!

And . . . I have not eaten oatmeal since!


This was one of my Mom's favorite stories.  Later, when I was a little older and she told me her version of the story, I learned that she was completely at a loss for how to get out of this "parenting mess."  She had drawn that line in the sand -- you will not leave the table until you eat that oatmeal -- and she didn't know how to get out of it once she had issued that edict.  She KNEW I wouldn't eat it.  (Heck, she wouldn't eat it!  She tried the oatmeal herself and thought it was awful.)  So . . . after all those hours of The Standoff, she left me alone for awhile -- hoping I would dump it so she could pretend I had eaten it!  Sneaky-sneaky!  As a 10-year-old, I thought I had pulled a Fast One.  But, no.  Not really.


Read about other "best breakfasts" here.  And . . . sign up for Think Write Thursday here.


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Brilliant, funny, and completely memorable! I feel so sorry for 10-year-old Kym (because who wouldn't gag at a bowl of cold instant oatmeal), and have a ton of parental admiration for your mother's wise and graceful handling of The Standoff.


This post! From laughter to tears, yes tears streaming down my face. I love both versions, but especially your dear mothers. As a parent, I have done exactly as your mom - boxed myself in with no way out. As I am sure did my mom, and her mom, and so on... Thank you for sharing such beautiful moments XO


That is a great story! My Dad made oats every morning and I wouldn't touch them. That cream of wheat was so delicious though. And God love your Mom...too funny.


EPIC!! Haha, that's a pretty great story! ;)


This is a fabulous story! I can just picture you in the grocery store begging for the artificial maple and brown sugar oatmeal. Heh! My dad had a very similar story about fish chowder, or, as his 4 year old self called it, fish in a dish. In his story he did actually break down and eat it for breakfast on the 2nd day. Yuck!


Priceless! Hate oatmeal myself but the oatmeal cake my daughter makes is awesome.

Cheryl S.

What a great story! Thanks for sharing.


Your mom was one smart cookie! You're a great writer and I was right there with you!


For me it was a Grape Nuts. I don't remember why I thought they were going to be so fabulous but I begged and begged for a box of Grape Nuts. Mom finally bought a box with the caveat that even if I didn't like them I would have to finish the box myself. I'm sure you can guess that the Grape Nuts are awful, especially to a kid. They smelled revolting and were roughly the texture of gravel. It was a long month while I ate that stupid box of Grape Nuts. I still hate them. My husband loves them but since I do the grocery shopping he hasn't had them in years!


What a delightful story - and I love that it was one of your mom's favorites and shows what a good mother she was (smart, kind and creative!) ... but I'm surprised you don't like oatmeal! (still!)


Cute story! Chloe

gale zucker/she shoots sheep shots

Excellent story-- and love the epilogue of hearing it from your mother's point of view.

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