Grandmas have a smell. A delightful comforting smell and sometimes you can't quite put your finger on it. When I visit my mom's parents, they always smell like boats. It helps that they live right near the ocean, but they also have a boat. Slightly salty from the sea water, kind of woody from the boat hardware, and just a hint of duct tape.
We wouldn't visit my dad's mom quite as much - mostly because she just lived further away. But no matter the season, she would always make oatmeal for us. Every time I make it (and not from a packet), I travel back to her house. The creaky floors, the avocado green recliner in front of the TV, the shag carpet.
She passed on a few years ago, and it had been quite some time even since I'd stayed with her before that. But the link of oatmeal simmering on the stove always takes me back to her kitchen table. Waiting anxiously for the familiar timer to pass to 5 minutes. We'd get a big scoop of oatmeal and we'd top it with sugar, a little butter, and milk.
The bowls *always* had chickens on the bottom (a farm scene painted on) and we could not be excused until we saw the chickens on the bottom. I do find myself looking for bowls like those whenever I go to a vintage store or go on an Etsy.com rampage. Hard to find. And I think it's funny how little things like breakfast at grandma's can mean so much to us.
Without getting too poetic here, it's just nice how something as simple as breakfast can bring families together. While I do have a lot of wonderful memories of my grandma - swimming, her garden, learning to crochet, walking to the park near her house - those darned chickens are still my favorite. In another 10 or 20 years, I wonder what my favorite thing will be about the early years of our marriage. What silly little thing will stay with me? With him? And where can I find those chicken bowls??
Nothing special here... Pulled from the back of the Quaker tub
1 1/2 cups Quaker oats (not the quick 2-minute kind)
3 cups water
milk, brown sugar, and butter for serving (raisins if you want to get crazy, but that's not the way Grammy did it, so there)
1. Boil water.
2. Add oats, stir. Set timer for 5 minutes. Stir once.
3. When timer goes off, pour oatmeal into a chicken bowl (okay, any bowl will work).
4. Top with toppings of your choice.
5. Eat until you see the chickens. Then go play on the shag carpet.