I used to dress by the heater in my bedroom. Those winter mornings, I would lay out my uniform near the grills, so as I pulled on the crisp shirt with the Peter Pan collar and the painstakingly ironed pleated plaid skirt, I wouldn’t be shocked by the cold. Cable knit stockings and a thick sweater, both navy, of course, would complete the uniform, and I would head into the kitchen for breakfast.
Some of my most vivid memories of winter mornings as a child were of those when my grandmother would be with us for a long visit. She would fly in from the Philippines, leaving the humidity of the tropics for the bleak tundra that New York would become in the winter months. It was her oatmeal that I remember, stirred lovingly over the stovetop, and as sweet as her soft hugs.
I called her Mama. Emphasis on the first syllable. My mother called her Mama, but with emphasis on the second. It made total sense. And Mama’s oatmeal was the only kind I liked. She made it just right.
Oatmeal is still a favorite breakfast, even in the not so frigid California winters. When we ski, that is what we eat, to nourish for a busy day ahead. My husband packs oatmeal for work. And I used to do the same, in my pre-children life.
These days, I have been exploring making breakfast porridges with other grains, and I have found that I love farro. My Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Farro is hearty and with a nice chewiness that oatmeal can’t offer. I make it almost as sweet as Mama’s, and I think she would have absolutely approved.
Maple Cinnamon Breakfast Farro
This is a delicious alternative to oatmeal. The toothsome bite to the farro makes it a hearty and healthy way to start the day.
1/2 cup farro
1 3/4 cups water
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
fresh fruit, such as berries or sliced bananas
In a small saucepan, stir together farro and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once it is bubbling, cover and lower heat, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the faro is fully cooked and the grains have puffed up, and most of the water has been absorbed. Stir in the maple syrup and skim milk. Stir in the cinnamon and serve immediately, topped with fresh fruit.