Since I perfected both scrambled eggs and oatmeal, at least the way I like them, I've become a complete snob.
I can hear my dad rustling in the kitchen downstairs. He's probably making breakfast and a huge part of me wants to watch him do it. I used to watch to learn, but now I watch to make sure he's doing it right. Will he beat the eggs enough? Will he put enough milk in the egg mixture? Will he put enough butter in the pan? If he is indeed making eggs, when I eat them I will once again pay close attention to the taste and texture, compressing the egg between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Hmm.
I'm sure he's been making eggs for decades. I've only been making them for a few months. And I always enjoy his eggs. I even like the way his eggs look: perfectly yellow and fluffy on the plate. Still, I expect that he won't do it just the way I like it. I'm very critical considering my expectations are low: I like a simple recipe, nothing too flavourful. Seriously, how many ways could he possibly screw this up? Many, surprisingly. He could burn the eggs, forget to put the milk in, not stir the eggs enough -- okay those are the only screw ups I can think of right now. I don't even know if I would notice if he left the milk out. He can avoid all of these scenarios by paying attention, though. Scrambled eggs is not one of those dishes that very few people can do right. It's simple.
Now oatmeal, I have learned, is a bit of a craft. You see, I like my oatmeal not too thick and not too creamy -- maybe my pickiness is what earned me the nickname Baby Bear, which I absolutely prefer to Goldilocks. I also love brown sugar and honey in my oatmeal, but the first couple of times I put these in, it was too much, not enough or not stirred enough. I wasn't too hard on myself, though. Hard chunks of brown sugar of the brown sugar in my cupboard is mighty difficult to stir after I crush it in the bowl of oatmeal. A couple of weeks ago, I poured some brown sugar in and then pressed the back of my spoon into it. The oatmeal slid over top of the tiny mounds of semi-crushed brown sugar, making it impossible to know how much I should stir it.
Now, to crush and stir the brown sugar into the oatmeal more easily, I wait until the oatmeal cooks enough so that after I put the brown sugar in, the oatmeal won't slide over it and conceal it forever. At this critical stage of thickness, I pour the brown sugar clumps in. Then I put some milk in -- one of the few measurements I am not anal about -- and a sliced banana. I make sure the discs are sliced thinly so they will cook well, then I cut the discs into half. I stir the milk, oatmeal, honey, brown sugar and banana occasionally until the mixture gets creamier and puffier and the banana bits are soft. Then I know it's ready! Then I know won't be any hard banana or oat bits to bite into. The flavour will also be consistent -- no globs of brown sugar or honey. This is the deepest type of pride.
Maybe when my Dad leaves the kitchen I will make some.