Tuesday, December 29, 2009

it's all riding on breakfast

I was 22 the first time I managed to sleep through the night before Christmas. 

Sad, I know. 

When I was young, I would lay awake all night with ears perked, listening for the tell-tale sounds of Santa coming down the chimney.  Once I got a bit older, I would law awake all night, tossing and turning in eager anticipation of the presents that awaited me downstairs.  And when I got older still, I would lay awake willing myself to fall asleep, because I realized just how ridiculous it was for a college student to be sleepless the night before Christmas. 

Well, I'll tell you this.  After 22 years of lying awake for the long hours preceding Christmas, I've given a fair bit of thought to the very important matter of Christmas morning breakfast.  I think we can all agree that this is one of the more important breakfasts of the year (right alongside breakfast on the first day of school, and Easter breakfast).  Needless to say, a well-chosen and well-executed breakfast on any one of these days has the power to rocket your day towards the divine, while a haphazard and half-hearted breakfast can set a dismal tone for this most important of days.  Yes, in my opinion, a lot rides on breakfast.  But then again, I think a lot rides on lunch and dinner as well.  And snack.  Don't forget snack.

And the more I've thought about breakfast, the more I've come to realize that it's not the amount of time to prepare, or the amount of money spent, or the number of exotic animals and plants harvested that make or break the meal.  Rather, the breakfasts that really hit home for me are sometimes the simplest of all.

Take Christmas morning.  When I finally rolled out of bed at noon (I know, what an achievement!) I wandered downstairs to find my mom giving a few final stirs to a pot of berry compote simmering on the stove.  We sat down to steaming bowls of her oat-wheat porridge topped with fresh cream and berry compote.  If you're lacking inspiration on the breakfast front, I recommend you give this simple recipe a whirl.  It's immeasurably rich, bursting with brightness, and wholesome to the core. 

That's pretty good for a bowl of oatmeal.

My Mom's Oat-Wheat Christmas Day Breakfast Porridge

1 cup of rolled oats
1/4 cup rolled wheat berries (optional)
2.5 cups water (only 2 cups if there are no wheat berries)
pinch of salt

1.  Bring everything to a simmer, stirring constantly
2.  Let it simmer 5 minutes, stirring regularly, and then remove from heat
3.  Ladle into large breakfast bowls

Berry Compote
1 cup frozen berries (any kind you like) - we used wild blueberries and organic raspberries
1 tablespoon honey
citrus zest (optional)
a touch of water if necessary

1.  Bring everything to a simmer
2.  Cook just until berries are soft.  If you cook it too long, berries will taste jammy.
3.  Ladle on top of porridge
4.  Top everything with a generous splash of whole cream.  Don't even think about reaching for that skim milk.



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. We had porridge at Christmas too - it's nice to have something homely and warming.

    Love the idea of hot berries with citrus zest (we always have a packet of frozen berries in stock to defrost overnight as a porridge topping). We had a dollop of mincemeat on ours (the fruity sort!) which felt suitably christmassy.

  3. That porridge looks absolutely delish!

    I'll have to give it a try on saturday!

    Great post!

    Happy New Year you two! :)

  4. Sophie: Yum! Adriana and I are huge fans of all hot breakfast cereals. Mincemeat is something I never would have thought of. Love the idea.

    Kamran: Doesn't porridge sound great, especially with how chilly it's been here in NYC? Hope your start to the year is fantastic.




Subscribe in a reader

Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009