Sunday, September 29, 2013

What did you have for breakfast this fall morning?

Now that mornings are cooler, for breakfast people are choosing hot oatmeal with milk instead of cold cereal.

Oatmeal is made by cooking rolled oats, as are shown above. A variety of flavored instant varieties can be found in American supermarkets. They can be prepared by adding boiling water and waiting a minute or two, or mixed with cold water and microwaved. (I prefer to keep bulk oatmeal around, and add my own cinnamon, raisins, and sweetener). Are any other grains processed and used similarly for breakfast elsewhere? Yes!

Last year in Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s book Mangoes & Curry Leaves (Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent) I read that:  

“Flattened rice, also known as rice flakes, is called chira or poha in northern India, aval in southern India. It’s rice that’s been cooked and then run through rollers and flattened into flakes. The flakes are a pale grayish white and fairly soft, rather than crisp. Sold in clear plastic bags, they keep well. Chira is very quick to reconstitute and requires no boiling, so it’s a godsend for cooks in very hot weather or in a big hurry.”

Here in Boise (at India Foods on Fairview Avenue) I found two-pound plastic bags of both thin and thick poha for sale. Thin poha (shown above) is the rice analog of instant oatmeal. 

Other ground-up grains like grits (from corn) and Cream of Wheat (farina) also are common breakfast foods. Porridge is the more general term, and it appears in stories like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

What do these breakfast cereals have to do with public speaking? In storytelling you have to begin with what your audience is familiar with, and then take them elsewhere.

Images of Goldilocks and a bowl of oatmeal both came from Wikimedia Commons.

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