Aug. 4, 2009 – Drug Introduced Memories

Pain is a strange elusive thing. Since my disc rupture 10 days or so ago, I’ve had trouble sleeping through the night. Although I’ve got a jar of Vicodin, I am loath to use it unless it just gets unbearable.
Last night was one of those times.

Knowing that the stuff tends to upset my stomach, looked around for something to snack on.

Triscuits! Yeah, that would do.

With the first bite, I was swept away with memories from my childhood. It was as if a whirlwind washing the Rolodex of my mind.
Some of you may have memories of Nabisco Shredded Wheat “mattresses.” Long before those mini-wheat fakes that are covered with white sugary stuff, but the “real thing.” The biscuits whole-grain wheat with nothing added but a touch of salt. Cereal you couldn’t eat without salting it!

But Nabisco had a secret ingredient. No, not in the cereal, but in the box. The cereal was sold in a cardboard package the size of a small suitcase (with NO plastic or waxed paper inner liner). Each of the three layers was separated by most ingenious marketing tool ever invented… cardboard cards. Oh, it wasn’t the cards themselves that was the source of this marketing magnet. It is what was ON them.

They came in several series. Each with a different theme. The one that came to mind last night was the Injunuity series. You see the cards, by cartoon, drawings and words, offered the wisdom of Native American “Injuns.” We kids of American were taught how to make furniture from things in the wild. How to cook over an open fire. How to build fires for different purposes, i.e. heating, cooking, and storytelling. How to make clothes from gunny sacks (that’s a cattle feed sack, for you young’uns). How to make headdresses out of feathers and beads. How to use an axe. How to make and throw a tomahawk. How to make moccasins and belts and a travois for your dog or horse.

If I remember correctly, there was a set of cards telling about wild plants that one could eat for survival… if we ran out of Shredded Wheat, I guess!

Anyway, it was a vile cereal!! It was nutritious. But the cards kept me begging for more. And my parents had to keep coming up with more creative ways to get us kids to eat the stuff. On several occasions he threatened to give our food to the starving Africans. One time my sister pushed her bowl back across the table toward dad saying, “My sacwifice. Give it to the Afwians!”

And that brings me back to my morning’s memories. The ONE ‘recipe” that actually brought back fond memories of breakfast with Nabisco.

As near as I can tell, it went like this:
Poach 2 eggs in milk
Place 2 Shredded Wheat biscuits in a HUGE cereal bowl
Top with a generous pat of butter (not that fakey margarine stuff)
Dash with plenty of salt
Pour the milk and egg over the crunchy, tasteless biscuits rendering them a mushy mass with a flavor that is out of this world.

The Triscuits were close enough for a trigger, but not quite the real thing.

I drifted off to sleep in a blue haze of non-pain with a smile on my face, I’m sure. When we got up this morning I requested that Evelyn try to reproduce that tastebud delight… using Triscuits.

Since we seldom have milk in the house, or butter, she was confronted with a bit of a problem, for what we use for milk is cashews and water that has been whizzed for several minutes in a blender. But we know from experience that when heated, that mix turns to gravy. The solution was to poach the eggs separately. Since the Triscuits are made with olive oil, butter was pointless… especially for my high cholesterol.

Behold! A new way to eat Triscuits. What a treat!

The irony is, we had decided yesterday, that today we would start reading a new book at breakfast time, “The Hole in Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns, the former CEO of Lenox… now the President of World Vision, an organization dedicated to feeding the world’s starving children.

Perhaps it’s time to send a container-load of Triscuits and poached egg to Africa.