What makes you happy?
Sometimes, the most simple things in life make me smile.
It happened again last week.
But first, a little history. I had stomach surgery in 2014. Since that day, I’ve not been able to eat a bowl of cereal with milk.
I can eat dry cereal.
I can drink milk.
But mixing the two resulted in an unpleasant experience.
I tried to eat a bowl of cereal — with milk — five or six times since 2014. It never ended well.
I used to eat a lot of cereal. I typically had six or seven brands in my cupboards: Grape Nuts, Honey Bunches of Oats, Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries, Special K with Strawberries, Rice Krispies, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Flakes (Yes, They’re Great!) and of course Lucky Charms.Yes, I always saved the marshmallow treats last.
But a bowl of Grape Nuts with sugar and milk was my breakfast and late night snack of choice.
A few months ago, Grape Nuts came up in a conversation and I started thinking.
First. What the heck is a grape nut?
And then, I remembered how delicious they were.
Within a few days of that conversation, I was daydreaming of the old days in the cereal aisle at Meijer, and I picked up a box of Grape Nuts. If I can’t eat a bowl of Grape Nuts, perhaps I can figure out a way to include Grape Nuts in a baking recipe. I know I can add it to some yogurt, or use it as a crunchy topping on a casserole, or salad. Bround up and mixed with flour,I bet it would make a tasty loaf of bread, or a pizza crust.
Forget cauliflower. How about a Grape Nuts breakfast pizza?
So I bought my first box of Grape Nuts in more than five years.
And then, as I do with a lot of things in my life, I moved on to something else.
That unopened box of Grape Nuts sat on my kitchen counter for three, maybe four months.
Last week, I was having a crappy Tuesday. Nothing was going right. I was frustrated with the rain, with work, with life. About 8 p.m., I went to the fridge for a beer. I had none.
I opted for a Bloody Mary, but I was out of mix and out of tomato juice.
I turned around, looking for something to help me through the evening, and there was that box of Grape Nuts.
Why not? It was already a rotten day.
I poured myself two or three tablespoons of cereal and topped it with a little sugar. Only then did I remember to check the expiration date on my milk.
Thankfully, it was still good. I added maybe half a cup to my cereal.
I carried my evening snack into the living room, my white pit bull Beatrix on my heels. The last couple times I tried milk and cereal, she got the leftovers. She’s a smart girl.
Sorry, Beatrix. That bowl of Grape Nuts was magnificent.
It was the most delicious thing I had had to eat in weeks, maybe months, maybe since a trip to Maine in 2015 when I had my first fresh, home-made lobster roll.
For a less than five minutes — It doesn’t take long to eat four or five spoons of cereal — I savored those Grape Nuts.
And nothing bad happened. I made it through the night.
On Wednesday nights, I operate the Daily Grub, and rarely have time to eat anything.
On Thursday night, I had another small bowl of Grape Nuts.
On Friday night I did the same. I had a small bowl for breakfast Saturday morning. Ditto on Sunday evening.
I’m not ready for a full bowl Grape Nuts yet. I’m content with three or four spoonfuls.
But I can’t over emphasize how good that first bowl of Grape Nuts in five years tasted. It made me smile. It made me happy.
Still, at this rate, that first box may last until Independence Day.
Unless I make some Grape Nuts-coated fried chicken.
What makes you happy?