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Cream of wheat of the gods

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Categories: Cereals, Ceideburg 2

Ingredients:

Directions:

What's so easy as Cream of Wheat you ask? Well, consider this. It's much like rice in that it's a very bland, filling and wholesome food. Now everyone knows how hard it is to cook good rice, right? Well, the same is true of Cream of Wheat, but if you follow these explicit directions, you will create a cereal masterpiece. Don't be cowed by the fact that the procedure must be as rigidly followed as that of the Japanese tea ceremony. After a couple of years you're bound to get it right. Just follow the recipe on the box for however many servings you want, but do it in the following fashion. (I consider a double serving to be enough for one person.) Do NOT use the recipe variation for using milk! This is an abominable perversion of the philosophy of Cream of Wheat and will give you much too rich a bowl of cereal. I use "quick" Cream of Wheat. Although all three varieties seem to taste pretty much the same when cooked I feel guilty using the "instant" and am too impatient to use the "regular", so "quick" is just fine. The auxiliary ingredients are important too. Fer'instance, if you can't get the proper brand of bread, you'd best move on to the next recipe. 1 box Cream of Wheat (make two servings for each person), Salt, Water 4 slices of Northridge oatmeal bread for each person, Butter slightly chilled in the fridge (any normal, salted butter will do), Sugar (white granulated ONLY!), Milk (any type but chocolate or buttermilk). UTENSILS: A medium sized Revere-ware copper bottomed pan. Some flexibility is allowed here. 'Visions' can be used too. A Pyrex measuring cup. Other types may be substituted. An old fashioned glass sugar dispenser++the kind with a metal top and a little flap that covers the hole. You can fudge on this too, but you're skirting dangerously close to loosing the authenticity of the dish, especially if you've already compromised and used 'Visions' to cook the cereal... A table knife. Throw caution to the winds and use any type you like, except a steak knife. A spoon. The pattern isn't important, but the plainer it is the better. A bowl. Use only a thick, diner-style, ceramic one. A glass for milk. A jelly glass would be ideal. PROCEDURE: First toast the bread. Set the toaster so the bread is well toasted. Small charred areas around the edge are perfectly acceptable. Let it sit in the toaster for a moment to crisp up a bit, then set it aside to cool. It MUST be room temperature (a cool room, at that) when buttered so that the butter does not melt. Next, make the Cream of Wheat. Boil the water, salt it, then take a wooden spoon and briskly stir the boiling water counter clockwise while dribbling in the Cream of Wheat from the Pyrex measuring cup. Don't rush the process or you risk lumpy Cream of Wheat! (I once fixed this for a person who liked lumpy Cream of Wheat. I couldn't get it to lump!) Turn down the heat and let the stuff simmer, bubbling gently, until it's approaching the proper consistency. Well, since you asked, the proper consistency is thick enough so that a swirl made in the surface will slowly subside. Stir it every so often. Once the proper thickness is reached, take it off the heat and stir vigorously several times to release the steam and thicken it up a bit more. The reason for this will be obvious in a moment. After, and only after, the Cream of Wheat is done, butter the toast with the slightly chilled butter. This will allow the cereal to cool so it will be ready to eat when you are. The butter should be chilled just to the point where is holds its shape but is not hard to spread++very important! I tend to favor a moderately lavish amount of butter, but this is up to personal taste. Margarine is NOT, NOT, NOT acceptable in this preparation. Put the toast on a plate and dish up the cereal. Get the milk out of the fridge and grab the sugar and put everything on the table. The table can be either formica or wood++the recipe is very flexible in this regard. Place the plate with the toast to the upper right of the bowl (or upper left if you're left handed). Pour a glass of milk and put it to the left (or right) side of the plate of toast. Now, take a moment after you sit down and savor the sight in front of you. Then get up and get a roll of paper towels. Reseat yourself. Next, gently pour a tablespoon or two of milk into the bowl with the Cream of Wheat and stir it in. This will complete the cooling and add just a hint of richness to the Spartan simplicity of water cooked Cream of Wheat. Now sprinkle a light dusting of the sugar over the surface of the cereal. It will slightly glaze and become transparent. Take a piece of the toast and break off a chunk that is comfortably bite sized. Using the toast as an edible spoon, reverently scoop up a dollop of the sugar glazed cereal with the toast and pop it into your mouth. (Do NOT use the spoon to eat the cereal. It's only for stirring in the milk initially.) Paying close attention, respectfully chew the morsel. All the while be aware of how the cool, creamy smoothness of the butter slowly melts from the warmth of the cereal. Note the satisfying crunch of the oatmeal bread as contrasted to the rich plasticity of the cereal. Contrast the blandness of the cereal to the slightly charred, nutty flavor of the toast. Marvel at how such mundane ingredients can create such a symphony of tastes and textures. Continue in this fashion, working clockwise around the bowl, until the entire glazed surface of the cereal is gone, then sprinkle more sugar on and repeat the process. If you've done everything right, the four slices of toast will disappear at exactly the same moment as the last smidgen of cereal. Now sit back for a moment and bemoan the fact that the experience is over. Dab resignedly at your lips with paper towel, fold it neatly and put into the empty bowl to signify the end of the meal. Heave a deep sigh of contentment and give thanks for the fact that you live in America, that great country that has made possible this pinnacle of gustatory delight! Wash the dishes. Posted by Stephen Ceideburg; December 24 1990.