Wednesday, July 09, 2008


For breakfast every day, my father makes four-grain hot cereal. For my visit, he's bought fresh berries to put on top. Unlike him, SJG and I make our cereal double-boiler style, with milk, the way my Missouri grandmother taught me. It makes for an extra-creamy, smooth texture. Here's how:

Four-Grain Hot Cereal Double-Boiler Style
1-1/2 cups dry cereal grains (we mix oatmeal, rye flakes, wheat flakes, and bran flakes in equal measure)
3 cups milk

1) Put water to boil in the bottom of a double boiler.
2) Measure out the cereal grains into the top of the double boiler. Add milk.
3) When the water begins to boil, turn down the heat to a low to medium flame and cook the cereal (covered) for about 45 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
4) Serve with your favorite toppings. SJG and I like brown sugar, fresh fruits, and nuts, plus a little extra milk.

Note: This recipe makes about 4 servings, and you can adapt the amount of cereal by increasing or decreasing the amount of grains and liquid. Whatever you do, just do it in a 2-to-1 ratio (2 parts liquid to 1 part cereal grains).

After breakfast, it's time to head home. I kiss the cats good-bye, and my father helps me pack up the car. On the way out of town, I fill up with gas. It's $3.99 a gallon, which by this time next year will probably seem like a bargain.

All along the interstate in Wisconsin, roadside vendors offer fireworks for sale. Since it's illegal to sell them where I live, I stop at one of the tents to see the selection. I choose a small box of old-fashioned sparklers. SJG and I never get around to lighting them on the Fourth of July; I think the fun was in buying them.

Five long hours later (I'm a rotten solo driver), I pull into my driveway. Buddy flies out the back door of the house and down the porch steps to greet me as if I've been away for months. I'm home.

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