I hate porridge. Oatmeal too. Anything porridge-like, actually. All through my childhood my dad would force us to have porridge now and then, I think with the hopes that he would slowly teach us to like it. I am living proof of that failure. It didn’t hardly matter how it was made. Yes, some kinds of porridge that were less terrible than others — some with enough sugar in them to entice a younger me to almost enjoy it. But really, I would rather have just about anything else.
Today was porridge day. I do everything I can to avoid it, but since I’m working as a caretaker, I have to make whatever wants to be eaten. Every so often, after a run of waffles, and then bacon and eggs, and then a day of cereal, I can feel the porridge coming. I know it’s been too long since we had it last, so each morning I go into panic mode, knowing that it’s getting closer. A couple days ago I made a last minute change and pulled out breakfast sausage from the freezer to have eggs and sausage, even though we had bacon and eggs only a couple days ago. But this meant that it wasn’t strange to then have cereal again the next day. I’m so sneaky. But, regardless of my efforts, today was the day. “Grandpa” even poured the water into the pot himself, and a lot of it, which meant I had no say as to just how much porridge we were going to have either. Instead I got to sit there stirring this mass of porridge, knowing that I would have to eat whatever he didn’t. We have special porridge bowls here too. They’re bigger than all the other bowls — wide, beige, gaping expanses. I just don’t understand why we have to have such big bowls just for porridge day.
But, as it has been with porridge, I lived. It isn’t actually that bad, but it’s not really that good either. I don’t complain, but it isn’t without some resolve that I force myself to keep on shovelling those mushy blobs of oats into my mouth. And, since basically no chewing is needed with porridge, after a few seconds of having it in my mouth, I just swallow and repeat.
Then porridge is gone for a few days, maybe a week, if I’m lucky and can make excuses for a couple other breakfast options. But I know that before long those big beige bowls will come out again and there will be a little pot sitting on the stove with too much water in it, waiting. Waiting for me.