This morning, I roused myself from a restless slumber and descended the stairs into our cold kitchen, followed ritualistically by our fat yellow Labrador named Dinah waiting for her sugarfree breakfast of dry kibble and two pills.
On the adobe tile counter, sat a forlorn box of oatmeal I had retrieved last night from the dark and lonely recesses of my pantry. The oatmeal, or as my pen pal Glenys calls it–porridge– had been hidden by old pink and orange boxes of Annie’s Bunny pasta that I buy for my granddaughters when they come from Portland to visit Dinah.
Instead of retrieving an emotionless cold cereal bowl and dropping several dollops of Siggi’s vanilla yogurt (with 14 g of sugar per 8oz in it), I am making porridge. After all, the health benefits of eating it are well-documented..
Glenys, of all the people I have met in the last ten years, has influenced me the most about food, sugar, and now, old-fashioned but tried and true, health remedies.
I’m positive that somewhere in our pasts–perhaps as Renaissance middle-class women interacting at the local market place or as two sisters heading west on a Conestoga wagon in the 19th century or as two budding artists skipping through the Witwatersrand hills in Johannesburg–we made mischief, good food, and fine art.
In June of 2016, Ron and I met Glenys and her husband Richard in person in London.
Within in minutes of our introductions, while walking down the street on the way to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Glenys enlightened me about the perils of sugar. When I returned home to California, a book by Dr. Gordon Lustig titled Fat Chance was waiting in my box. Who would take the time to send a friend a book? Someone who is deeply committed to its principles, that’s who.
Since that time, Glenys and I have corresponded about many topics, most of which will remain between the two of us.
Now she has me curious about all things oatmeal from not only enjoying a hot bowl of the steaming sugar-free elixir but also slathering it on a bruised or painful joint in what Glenys calls a “porridge poultice.”
I will admit that not all has been smooth between us. For example, in taking care of a burn she once experienced, she described it this way:
As it was bedtime and this was not an option [immersing the burned hand in ice water], I tried the porridge treatment and found that by covering it with a piece of kitchen paper and then cling film to avoid a mess in the bed! within 20 min the pain had completely gone! so worth remembering.
Hmmmm. What is kitchen paper? What is a porridge poultice? Is cling film the same as clear food wrap?
I asked her if kitchen paper was the same as waxed paper.
As it turns out, kitchen paper is the same as what we in the US might call paper towels. Cling film is clear food wrap and luckily, we both know what tin foil is although ours is made of aluminum.
In my childhood, when I left my family each summer to go to horse camp, I would wait eagerly for a letter from my mom, describing for me the comings and goings of Stevie, Cindy, Jimmie, and my German Shepherd, Dickens.
Now, as a grandmother, I wait eagerly for an email from Glenys.