Monday, August 20, 2012

Remember when cereal came with a prize?

When I was a kid food and prize went hand in hand.
A pirate, a caveman, and a lucky little leprechaun were my favorite breakfast companions.
Although I'm sure she tried, my mother kept us well stocked in what we affectionately know as Dessert Cereal.
She picked her battles: If we had sugar for breakfast,  she made sure we had fruits and vegetables throughout the day.
Even if she had to trick us.
Which she did.

We kids fought each other viciously to be the first to plunge our pudgy little hands greedily toward the bottom of the bag in search of the prize cleverly sealed in a thick plastic bag which became perfectly camouflaged in the dust of the crushed cereal and sugar.
Our hands deftly weaving in and out of layers of refined sugar and teeny tiny rock hard marshmallows searching.

Physics would argue the toy must be on the bottom.
But more often than not, that elusive little bag of happiness resided somewhere in the bottom third
Sometimes up against the side.
Other times right in the middle. 

Everyone had their own techniques for locating and extracting.
I favored tipping the box and shaking it slightly to catch a glimpse.
Others tore right in.
And sometimes, the box was simply dumped out onto the floor.

Once I had the toy in my grip, I would ever so gingerly wriggle my fist free of its cardboard prison.
My sweaty hand now dusty and sticky.
My eyes huge with anticipation.
My (morning) breath quickening.

It would take forever to open the plastic a slippery mess from being licked clean.
Frantically running around the kitchen, I'd be looking for a tool to liberate my prize.
A screwdriver.
A pencil.
A nail.

I would get that prize, whatever it was... and for the rest of the morning, I would be the happiest kid.
I'd sit perched on my spinning chair at the breakfast table and attack my rainbow colored milk with the gusto of a starving beast. 
One rotation at a time.

These days, it's the baskets at the farmers markets that elicit this behavior in me. 
A part of me mourns the demise of the cereal toy and the quest to find it; something my kids will only know through campfire stories and Wikipedia.
But the cucumbers this summer have been wonderful.
Crisp and crunchy and sweet.
And when I'm there at 8am on a weekend morning, I'm happy to buy my little ones some sugar coated donut holes.
Sans plastic bag.
and cardboard box.
Sure, they're high as a kite before we pull out of the parking lot, but I can sneak in something healthy later on.
When I saw this recipe on Tartelette I made it immediately... making some minor substitutions for what I had on hand.

I put a large dollop of yogurt on top and even managed to get my little ones to try a few bites.

Cold Cucumber Soup

3 cucumbers (peeled and seeded)
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup packed lemon basil
1 cup Greek yogurt- honey flavored
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 4-finger pinches of salt
pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Refrigerate until chilled- about an hour.



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