Breakfast, Corn Flakes, Cornbread, Crumpets, Don Quijote, Hawaii, James Patterson, King Arthur Flour Starter, Left-Overs, Local Food, Lyle Lovett, Milk, Mock Rice Pudding, Penny Pincher In Paradise, Post Toasties, Recipe, Soda Crackers, Sourdough
Special Addition This post is the first of a series: Penny Pincher In Paradise. It is also a response to the ever-popular posts, A Penny-Pincher In Paradise and How Can You Afford To Live In Hawaii?… You, my Dear Readers, keep asking for numbers. And here you have them.
“Popcorn for breakfast! Why not? It’s a grain. It’s like, like, grits, but with high self-esteem.”
Prepackaged cereal has always been rich for my budget. Although Don Quijote’s Weekly Ad this week advertizes a two for $5 deal on Cap’n Crunch and his posse, it’s also telling me that I could get 20 lbs of Calrose rice for $10.47. In my world, there is no contest about how I want to spend a couple five spots.
Frugality has only a partial explanation. The only cereals of the boxed kind that offer sweet temptation for me in my shopping aisles are Shredded Wheat and Special K. Everything else tastes over done to me.
What Corn Flakes are to Post Toasties
What the clear blue sky is to the deep blue sea
Historically there has been an exception: Post Toasties. In the wise words of Mr. Lovett, “Can you doubt we were made for each other?” And no, Kellogg’s just isn’t the same.
Can you doubt that I would be the only person who would elevate the humble corn flake to cult status. There was a collective groaning and gnashing at the news of Post discontinuing the iconic brand.
Luckily, I can assuage my cravings in two (cheaply) convenient ways. Both are classics from the part of the Upper Mississippi Delta Region that my relations have called home for a couple of hundred years or more.
- Milk and Soda Crackers
While their is no corn as a common ingredient, good old-fashion style soda crackers have a slightly malty-salty flavor shared with Post Toasties. I have yet to find another corn flake brand with that profile.
- Left-over Cornbread
It’s okay if it’s a tad bit stale. In fact, I usually toast it a bit before I slather on some butter, sweeten it with either honey or jam and slosh a bit of milk on for good measure.
Sourdough Starter: Care & Feeding
I grow my own sourdough starter. It bubbles away contentedly in my refrigerator in a small, Pyrex, lidded casserole. I rarely bake in the summer months, but care of a live thing requires that I maintain a normal feeding ritual which goes like this:
- Remove starter from fridge.
- Stir to incorporate any liquid that has separated
- Remove 1 cup of starter to throw-away
- Feed starter with 1 cup of whole wheat flour (good brand) and 2/3rds or so cup of filtered water
- Let set at room temperature before placing back into fridge for up to one month stirring at least weekly
I am assuming, Dear Reader, that you know me well enough by now that I consider step #3 to be a blasphemy. The solution? An odd recipe I found for “crumpets.” When I don’t want to go through the bother or I’m lacking the extra ingredients for true pancakes, I whip these up with the would-be cast-off.
- One cup sourdough starter, unfed (the stuff you were going to throw-away, but I won’t let you)
- Two teaspoons sugar
- One third teaspoon each of salt and soda
- Stir together and let get bubbly while a heavy, dry skillet pre-heats
- Lightly oil pan just before ladling in batter [Original recipe calls for empty tuna cans as molds. I can't be bothered]
- Serves One. How fortunate! Top with good maple syrup. No need for butter.
Mock Rice Pudding
Or what I had this morning for breakfast. What to do with left-over rice? Most commonly here in Hawaii, it becomes fried rice to accompany fried eggs and Portuguese sausage. But I happened to pick up a half gallon of milk on sale for $2.89 yesterday, so the rice took a decidedly sweeter turn.
- Combine left-over rice and milk in a saucepan over gentle heat.
- Warm through, stirring occasionally until the milk thickens to a creamy texture.
- Remove from heat before adding REAL vanilla or REAL rum extract and good cinnamon to taste. Sweeten with REAL maple syrup [normally I throw in a tablespoon or two of dried currants]
And you were going to throw that rice out last night, weren’t you?
And that’s what these breakfast options have in common. Oh, I have ways to feed an army or stay-over guests. I can get down right fancy in planning a special brunch menu. But these quick go-to’s are too simple and economical to excuse my spending $5 bucks and up at my local Starbucks.
During most mornings, I work, cup of coffee in hand, snacking on a piece of fruit or a handful of almonds or a hard-boiled egg before I take a longer break with one of these treats. Before I know it, lunch is looming, and I am not yet out a dollar in my food budget.
When I’m feeling ever so decadent, I indulge in another favorite grain: Bejeweled Oatmeal. That is a post unto itself.
What morning rituals fuel your writerly life? Do you have a quirky comfort food snack? If you are in the Islands and are sourdough curious, let me know and I’ll hook you up with some of my precious starter. It has a King Arthur Flour provenance which means it harkens from New England of the 1700s. Got plenny Hawaiian mana by now.