My friend Gregory asked me to state my mantra…

and without hesitation I replied, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”  Honesty, bravery, warm-heartedness and grace under pressure are all virtues that one will not attain readily if one has not breakfasted.  At least I won’t attain them.

I usually drink my morning bucketload of tea out of a mason jar because my roots on my father’s side hail from country folk, and we think cups are for city slickers.  Despite a cabinet crammed full of dainty tea cups, I feel most secure clutching a jar.  But today I was thinking about my maternal grandmother, so I enjoyed my English Breakfast from her Edme china cup.

Phyllis was a hearty and inviting cook – dumplings, roasts, boiled potatoes. Every letter she ever wrote me included at least one menu. Though her dinners were certainly worth going over the river and through the woods for, she was a horrendous baker. She would run out of things like baking soda, flour, or salt and just declare them optional.  I remember a carrot cake that was 3/4 of an inch high; it seemed to have morphed into a wet, orange clafouti/crepe.

One particular quirk of hers that is part of family legend was her need for compliments. Sadly, she passed that unattractive quality on to me, along with abnormally broad shoulders.  At her table, as you lifted the first bite toward your open mouth, some of your roast would get knocked off when she blurted, “Well don’t you like it?!” I take care to wait until my husband is chewing before I commence my paranoid solicitation.

But all her meals, even if they were followed by a fallen cake or briquette cookies, smelled like home – or the way you hope home will smell, when you get there.




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