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  • Writer's pictureRogene "Jeannie" McPherson, Country Notebook

Making Magic Memories

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Country Notebook by Rogene "Jeannie" McPherson

Some readers may recall having a warm bowl of porridge, better known as hot cereal, before walking to school or riding the school bus. At the farm table I sat around, my mother often prepared cooked oatmeal or Malt O Meal® (MOM) hot wheat cereal. The latter was a real treat not just as a cereal, but in muffins made from the recipe on the side of the box.

Recently I had a ‘hankering’ for some of those childhood memories and thought about the MOM muffins and cereal. Not being the cook I once was and especially not the cook my mother was, sometimes my MOM cereal is a little clumpy, but it still tastes the same. With frozen blueberries added to the mixture, I can usually stir out the clumps. By the way, MOM cereal has about twenty fewer calories per serving than hot oatmeal. Unfortunately, calories didn’t count much as a child, but as a grandmother, they surely do.

Speaking of being a grandma, I recently had the pleasure of having my four-year old grandson visit on a Saturday. When he came in from a vigorous walk with his Dad, I decided to make the MOM muffins, with recipe still printed on the side of the box. Ironically, the back of the box has a black and white photo of the original building where in 1919, the year my mother was born, MOM cereal was produced. I experienced my first bite around my grandson’s age. It was time to share some MOM muffins with him.

When he walked into my kitchen, I told him I was going to make him some Magic Muffins, the name chosen by the company that now makes the cereal. He turned around and very simply said, “Do they make boys and girls disappear?” After I gasped, I giggled, and then decided I needed to come up with a similarly quick response. So, I told him they would not make him disappear and that they were magic because they make boys and girls strong.

Thank goodness he liked them as much as I do. While still steaming, I added a small amount of butter and a larger portion of apple butter just to make them as authentic as those muffins my mother made. He wanted his plain. He was equally impressed later in the day as we ate them as a snack.

A new memory was made on a Saturday afternoon in my farm kitchen just as it was decades ago in my mother’s farm kitchen. How sweet it is to remember the real MOM, my mother who arose early enough each day and prepared us a nutritious breakfast that included more than just cereal or muffins. I was not much of a breakfast role model for my children, but I did occasionally make MOM muffins for dinner using the recipe on the side of the box.

Thank goodness, we don’t outgrow the love for family members and for making memories.

Rogene “Jeanne” McPherson is a writer who lives outside of Centerville. She recently published a book about her experiences entitled Posts from the Country, Adventures in Rural Living. It is available online in both virtual and printed editions. Copies are on the shelves at all Linn County libraries.

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