I grew up eating hot bowls of farina, or cream of wheat, if there’s any difference. A smooth white grain that held the dent of my spoon, thick, pooling with drizzled honey. My mother made it for us, as we got ready for school. “It’s ready,” she’d yell up to us from the kitchen, still in her robe, onto fixing bagged lunches of turkey sandwiches. I waited for it to cool as I loaded up my knapsack. I like the milk seal layer that formed. The skin. It’s my favorite part. On rice and chocolate pudding, instructions tell you to cover with plastic wrap, pressed against the pudding to avoid the skin formation. Why would anyone do this?
Poached eggs do it too, when the yolk is broken, and once it pools onto the plate. If I drag a bit of my everything-bagel through the yellow gloss, the egg skin sticks, leaving behind a new brighter coat. The skin of things reminds me of growing up. Scabs, new skin, childhood wounds. I’m reminded of all of it, as I sit here, at Guy & Gallard, taking in a steamy frothy bit of skim chai tea. It tastes exactly like cream of wheat. Maybe it’s the honey my mother stirred into ours. It tastes like home, like the seven AM mornings in the house where I grew up, before I had to run to catch the bus on the corner. It’s nice to remember, growing up in a suburb with mittens and a mother who made us breakfast and packed our lunches. It makes me feel warmer. I’m thankful for these things.
And since people keep asking, yes, I saw the article about me in The New York Post today while drinking my chai. And if you’d like to come see me read while you drink (wine), join me THURSDAY, March 30, 8 PM at the New York JCC Lit’ Cafe event. I’ll be reading, I think, passages from my memoir, or bits and pieces of the blog.