Toast – The Tastiest Bite

I’m a sucker for personality tests. I find it comforting that seemingly personal quirks and internal motivations can be sorted and classified. When my husband sent me the 16 Personality test, I took the free test almost immediately. The results showed my personality type as more extroverted and organized than I often feel. Wanting to learn more, I signed up for the weekly e-newsletter which discusses challenges and opportunities for growth. Today’s topic was organization. I thought about this as I opened the fridge and pulled out the soft, white sandwich bread.

Consuls (my type from the test) are highly organized. I put the thick slice of bread into the toaster and grabbed the cold jar of natural, no stir creamy peanut butter. The toast was dark brown and smelled as toast should; nutty and reminiscent of the lazy mornings of childhood. I spread the peanut butter on thick. This can be helpful but also leads to a hard time just “being”. It’s challenging for me to slow down long enough to enjoy the very act of living. Next, I slipped the speckled skin off the ripe banana and sliced it into coins. After nestling the slices into neat rows, I grabbed the jar of honey and roughly squeezed the little bear so that honey lay in thick puddles on top of the bananas. Lastly, I sprinkled coarse salt lovingly over top and grabbed a fork.

It’s a good reminder that checking off a to-do list is not what makes for a happy life. I cut a small square of toast and speared it with my fork. The toast shattered happily in my mouth and I tasted the perfect balance of my simple breakfast. The checklist can wait until later.

Did you take the personality test? Do you have a trait that can be both challenging and helpful?

Apple Oatmeal – Day 2 Tastiest Bite

Oatmeal has a special place in my heart. I find it tastes best when made slowly on the stove top, preferably stirred gently with a wooden spoon. I conjure the spirit of Laura Ingalls Wilder as I divide the thickened oats into bowls. I’ve tried desperately to bring my love of oatmeal to my children. One will tolerate oatmeal if offered twice a year. Any more often and it is flatly refused.

I thought we were having a break through a couple of years ago when the littlest was in preschool. His class made the cutest of cookbooks for Mother’s Day. One morning, Kai brought me the cookbook and asked to make the recipe from his friend for oatmeal with apples in it. Elated, I grabbed the pot and we poured in the old-fashioned oats, water and salt. Kai stood on a stool and stirred the oatmeal. I added the chopped apple, spoonful of sugar and dash of cinnamon. We covered the pot and waited expectantly for the apples to soften and become infused with the spices. I spooned the apple oatmeal into each bowl and added a stream of cold milk. The oatmeal was eaten with pride and enjoyment.

I have tried a couple of times to replicate this experience, yet somehow it doesn’t live up to the memory of the first time. Kai will halfheartedly eat a few bites and leave the rest for me to eat the next morning. Yesterday, I bypassed the stove and went straight for the instant Nature Path Apple Spice Oatmeal and was pleasantly surprised by the creamy texture and hint of spice. It was slightly sweet and the apples were minced and dried, which created the illusion of apple flavor without having to bite into chewy chunks that are often a part of packaged mixes. Maybe, tomorrow I’ll make two bowls instead of one.

How do you eat your oatmeal?

Stove top Apple Oatmeal

Serves 2

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook “Good and Cheap” which I highly recommend. I threw in a peeled and diced apple and used water for the liquid instead of apple juice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a small pot on the stove. Stir occasionally. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls and top with milk if desired.

The Tastiest Bite

I don’t think of myself as a writer. Growing up, my twin sister was the writer. I wrote in a journal nightly and spent just as much time devouring books as she did; but I always saw it as her thing. She seemed better at it and more determined. Rebekah knew it was what she wanted. Maybe I didn’t want to be a copy cat or was tired of the twin cliche but I never thought writing would be my line of work. Finding myself at a food writing workshop was as surprising to me as discovering I like to cook, especially after all those years telling myself I didn’t.

For me, food writing is a form of self reflection (something I clearly need more of). It’s about slowing down and focusing on what was just in my mouth. Remembering the textures, colors and feelings that the food elicits. In an attempt to improve this skill, Naomi Tomky suggests this exercise: write 200 words on the best food eaten that day.

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Day 1

The Tastiest Bite(s) on Valentine’s Day

I had many memorable bites yesterday, much more than a normal Wednesday. An ethereal, creamy vegetable soup topped with crisp speck and cold goat cheese was generously handed to me for lunch by a thoughtful friend at The Shop. Before leaving, I was given a decadent piece of chocolate cake layered with blood orange Italian buttercream. Both warmed my heart and made my taste buds dance in delight.

I was also surprised with chocolate covered strawberries by another friend yesterday afternoon. In all honesty, chocolate and fruit aren’t my favorite combination but these strawberries changed my opinion. They looked so inviting on the tray with the thick coat of dark chocolate enveloping the juicy strawberry.  I picked a strawberry up by its green top and took a bite. The thick chocolate shell shattered to reveal the ruby strawberry inside. My mouth was filled with both flavors simultaneously. Soft, sweet and juicy strawberry with bitter, crunchy chocolate.

My Valentine and I drank a special brut rosé that I had saved since receiving it at Christmas from my brother and sister-in-law and it did not disappoint. After dinner was done and the kids were almost tucked into bed, I heard the familiar whirl of our popcorn maker. This was definitely not our normal Wednesday. Warm and kissed with butter and salt, we cuddled on the couch munching popcorn as we watched our Olympians fly down the mountain. Love came in many forms on Valentine’s Day but most memorably was the sharing of food and drink together.

What was your tastiest bite yesterday?