On a recent antique shopping trip with my sister, I came across a framed, old advertisement for Cream of Wheat and was reminded that my nephew used to call it “cinnamon pie.” Cream of Wheat was a staple growing up, especially on cold mornings. Not many of my friends enjoyed it for breakfast in their homes. The rare times they had it, their families prepared it so differently that it wasn’t hard to see why they disliked it.
Over the last several years, I’ve been sorting, scanning, identifying, and sharing old photos. During one of these identifying sessions with a great aunt, we talked about many things and Cream of Wheat came up. I was surprised to find out that my great grandmother, Isabel, prepared it in the same manner and it became a meal that passed through the generations and down to my nephew, Isabel’s great great grandson. This was always a comfort food, but now I know it was a family tradition that was hiding in plain sight as a simple breakfast cereal.
We prepare it sweet and creamy and follow the box instructions, but we change the ingredients. We use milk instead of water, add a pinch of sugar to the milk instead of salt, use a plate (for faster cooling) instead of a bowl, and top with cinnamon sugar instead of a pat of butter.
PS. Make sure to rinse/soak the pot immediately because this stuff will turn into cement!
What kinds of comfort foods did you eat as a kid and still eat?