>The persistence of oatmeal

>When I was a child, breakfast was pretty predictable: On weekdays, Cheerios or cornflakes with fruit ands skim milk (summer) and oatmeal, cream of wheat, or grits with butter (winter). Saturdays it was eggs, bacon, and toast. Sundays it was blueberry pancakes with maple syrup (at my father’s request).

When I went off to college, of course, this all changed. Dining hall scrambled eggs were so tasteless that often leftover Chinese food was the better choice. When I lived in New York and then in Italy, breakfast was usually a croissant or brioche. There was a long phase of bagels with cream cheese when I worked at newspapers. When I moved to Seattle, cinnamon rolls were the big thing. Along the way I encountered people who ate donuts and sugary cereals (ugh) for breakfast. And spent one year in a household where we often had firm tofu, topped with shaved bonito and soy sauce.

Now I notice that I have defaulted to the breakfast routine of my childhood, with cold cereal/hot cereal most days, and eggs or maybe even pancakes if I go out to breakfast with friends on the weekends.

I wonder if, when they teach us what to eat for breakfast, our parents realize that decades years later, we’ll find ourselves reverting to that menu. No matter what weird stuff we’ve eaten for 20 or 30 years in between.

Of course, by that time many of our parents will be long gone and never know that their teachings eventually took hold. My mother, however, is still around and able to see (and comment on) what I eat for breakfast when I go to visit her.

She’s 90; I wonder if oatmeal is the reason why?

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