In the interest of full disclosure (something I am not REALLY interested in) I thought I'd tell you about a little odd habit I have developed. Just a funny thing I do sometimes, which brings me a certain joy.
It is in the morning, when I make my oatmeal on the stove, or, alternately, re-heat some saved oatmeal in the microwave. I'm making my oatmeal, in any case. This is my standard breakfast.
I like to put some cut apple bits and some nuts in the oatmeal. I have been using Fuji apples, but just yesterday, since Whole Foods was out of Fujis, I picked up 6 or 7 Jonagolds instead. (This is not the odd thing I do. We'll get to that.)
Jonagolds are good.
And the nuts? Oh, pecans, definitely. Just a handful of pecans, mixed up with the nuts in the thickening oatmeal.
Then, even though I might have been cooking it on the stove, the last step is to heat it up good in the microwave. I've found that 1:30 or 1:45 will do it.
So, we're getting closer and closer to my charmingly odd habit. Something I do.
But we're not there yet.
As the thick breakfast concoction is re-heating in the 'wave, I'll put away the bag of pecans (into the cabinet) and the extra oatmeal in the plastic Tupperwaresque container, and the partially-wedge-sliced apple (in the refrigerator.) I'll make sure my morning reading is on the table, ready for me. I do what takes about a minute and a half or so.
Then! The oatmeal comes steaming out of the microwave! Steaming! Giving off steam!!
(Steaming is the key here to this wonderful experience of the morning.)
A bowl of hot oatmeal SHOULD be steaming (or misting or vaporing, or whatever it is really, scientifically doing. I know it isn't 'steam,' really. Doesn't matter.) don't you think?
I love a steaming bowl of oatmeal, and I love the steamingness of it.
So, I have searched for ways to make that bowl really steam. And I knew that it steaming had something to do with it being extra hot. But not just extra hot. It had to be extra hot and in cold air, too.
So what did I do? I put it in the presence of cold air, naturally!
I experimented with holding it just below the window sill on these still-cold still-winter mornings. Because I know a certain amount of that cold air is making it in around the window frame, and we know, of course, that cold air falls, so, yes, sometimes I would hold the bowl just under the window sill.
That worked ok.
But I was not satisfied with the aesthetic effect. I mean, like, the oatmeal bowls on the COMMERCIALS are putting off a shitload of steam! And this bowl held under the window sill on a cold morning?
Well, not so much. No. Not a shitload. Some, but not like a commercial or anything.
OK, so then I tried opening the freezer door (up above the refrigerator) and holding the just-heated bowl under the lip of the freezer. Cold air (it FALLS) should be cascading out of the ice-encrusted freezer compartment.
And it was! And the oatmeal steamed in quite a wonderful manner. Especially if I spooned it a bit. Then great gouts of steam were given forth!
But I still was not satisfied, my readers. No. There was something too industrial and unnatural and artificial about holding the oatmeal under the open freezer door.
It just wouldn't do.
Then a vision bloomed in my morning brain. A vision straight out of an oatmeal commercial, or maybe from an illustration in a children's book! And what did I see?
A bowl of oatmeal I saw. And where was this bowl?
On a window sill. With the window open. And the bowl was steaming its head off!!
So I resolved to try it. And try it I did.
One of these past mornings, maybe last Monday morning, or maybe last week sometime, after taking the now-hot oatmeal out of the microwave, I went over to my back window, which looks out on the back parking lot of the renovated apartment building-cum-condo behind my place. I carefully pulled the strings which lifted the mini-blinds, watching out for that one broken slat in the middle. Then I lifted the sash window. Lifted it a foot or so, and let it stay in place of its own accord.
Cold air came in with a whoosh!
I placed the bowl of oatmeal on the window sill.
And how it steamed! Lovely! Steam (or vapor or whatever) came pouring off the bowl, flowing in with the cold air. I spooned the oatmeal, uncovering especially hot spots, and steam just burst forth! I lifted glops of oatmeal (oatmeal comes in glops) and watched the steam flow and pour and cascade and stream and gush and deluge from the spooned-up glops!
Then, inevitably, eventually, the joy of the moment fades. My brain speaks up, and it says that my oatmeal is getting cold, and so I had better close the window.
So I close the window. And I lower the blinds.
The moment is gone, but the joy remains, like a bird perched in a tree. I smile slightly as I sit down to eat and read.
Grief Canning [by Barbara Hamby]
1 day ago