Getting up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to cook my family oatmeal instead of feeding them cereal has its benefits. Not only because it is a healthier breakfast, but also because the 30 minutes in front of the stove is sort of a treat in itself.
I either daydream while stirring the pot, which is strangely relaxing and meditative. Or I can catch a few vignettes from the books that I keep in the kitchen. No, they are not cooking books. My favorite books to read from 6:30 to 7:00am are Steinbeck: A Life In Letters, Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, The New York Diaries and Funny Letters from Famous People. I can pick a book and read a few lines or half a page or two pages. I can open almost any page in the book and can find something delightful, surprising or profound. Even when the page happens to be mundane or boring, it is okay — I’m just stirring my oatmeal.
As I was standing there by myself stirring the coconut oatmeal this morning, I found out that 215 years ago today, President George Washington had a non-eventful day, which I suppose is usually good when you are the US president. Here is his diary: “Sat for Mr. Rammage near two hours to-day, who was drawing a miniature Picture of me for Mrs. Washington. Walked in the afternoon, and sat about two o’clock for Madam de Brehan to complete a miniature profile of me, which she had begun from memory, and which she had made exceedingly like the original.” That was all he did. The important happening of his day on Oct. 3, 1789. And the famous miniature portrait that was sold by Christie’s in 2001 for $1,216,000 was painted on that day.
If I didn’t cook this delicious oatmeal this morning, how on earth would I have learned such important information?