My friend Glenys

by cheri

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.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, healthy eating, Life, People and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to My friend Glenys

  1. Brig says:

    It is good to have friends such as Glenys.
    I got started on oatmeal (porridge) for breakfast a couple years ago when the Pilot (I was dating) came to visit Dad & I. His version is made with old fashioned oats, a small bunch of craisins, a sprinkle of tumeric, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a couple dollops of olive oil, and whole milk, oh and a few almonds, if you’ve got’m. The Pilot is long gone but his oatmeal recipe remains and has become a breakfast staple.

  2. Glenys says:

    To my friend Cheri.

    Never before has anyone taken so much notice of my efforts. You flatter me!

    My brother recently pulled a hamstring kickstarting one of his pioneer bikes. I suggested the porridge pounce which took away the pain and he threw away the walking sticks although he complained the porridge ran down his leg!

    I think we would take command on the waggon train!

    It was lovely seeing you and Ron in London and look forward to our next meeting.

    I only wish my artistic achievements were as good as your and and I continue to be inspired by you to do more.

    Thanks for translating to American English.

    • Cheri says:

      Well, shame on the others because you are definitely a STAR. True.

      Anyway, your landscapes are lovely. That is what Ron wants me to do…landscape painting but I continue to paint large animals. When the British winter sets itself upon you, go to your studio full of porridge and paint. I await the result.

  3. Carol McCann says:

    You need to make certain to use “old fashioned oat meal” and not the new instant glop. Try Craisins cooked in the oatmeal and then sprinkle cinnamon on top when you eat it.
    Carol

    • Cheri says:

      OK. You know, Carol, it’s funny: when I was reading Glenys’ ideas about porridge, I remember it was you who used to get up early with your husband and make him hot cereal. I admired that in you (among other things.) I have bought Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats today and two packages of Craisins, which I will put into the mix. I take it you use water and not milk?

  4. shoreacres says:

    I’ve never heard of a porridge poultice. I think I’ll stick with ice for my heat gun burns: at least in the beginning.

    But the virtues of oatmeal in the morning? They are unending. I never imagined I’d be plunking a recipe into your blog, but here it is: baked oatmeal. It warms in the microwave beautifully, so I usually make it Sunday night/Monday morning, and feast on it all week long. Here you go:

    Toss together 3/4 cup steel cut oats,
    1/2 cup almonds or other nuts
    1 teaspoon cinnamon,
    1 teaspoon baking powder,
    1/2 teaspoon salt.

    Next, whisk together 2 cups whole milk,
    1 large egg,
    1/2 cup maple syrup,
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract,
    3 tablespoons melted butter.

    Place the dry ingredients in a 9×9 pan with about 1/2-1 cup blueberries (or chopped apple, or dried cherries, or whatever) , then pour whisked milk mixture into the pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    The next morning, bake at 375 for one hour.

    You can’t beleive how good the house smells while this is baking!

  5. wkkortas says:

    You had a German Shepherd named Dickens? Hmmm…I’ve always thought that, given the canine tendencies to be utterly devoted to your face and steal your food when you aren’t looking, Uriah Heep would be an excellent name for a dog.

  6. ShimonZ says:

    Very nice story. So good to have friends one can learn from. I’ve eaten oatmeal all my life and still love it, and have eaten sugar sparingly since leaving my parent’s home (was that yesterday, or the day before?), but I never measure the amount. If I weigh something, it has to be a lot more important to me than sugar…

    • Cheri says:

      I am finding out that many people eat oatmeal every morning. I had no idea. To think I have been wasting my time with yogurt and granola, cottage cheese and tomatoes. I would much prefer scrambled eggs but try to eat them sparingly because of cholesterol. Now, I am an oatmeal girl. I have Glenys to thank for that.

      Time. I, too, feel that it was yesterday when I left my parents’ home. More now than ever, I find myself missing both of my parents and wanting to visit with them.

      Do you weigh yourself?

      • ShimonZ says:

        No, Cheri. I have never weighed myself. I have been weighed by my doctor, every few years. I can count the times I went to a doctor on one hand… till I was about 60. After that, I found a regular doctor whom I see at least once a year. I hope to live till I die.

        • Cheri says:

          That’s interesting. I weigh myself every morning. Maybe I should stop that daily habit. And as for your clever last line, I hope for you to definitely live until you die. 🙂

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