The fishmonger sees the muesli as an act of desperation. It's that bad, already? he asks. No fresh apples? No pears?
I'm sure they still have apples up at Crow Farm, I reassure him, though I believe we've seen the last of the pears. There are still two quince sitting on our kitchen counter, and a freezer full of blueberries, strawberries, applesauce and more lies in wait beneath the floorboards.
No, I inform him, some of us happen to like muesli. Muesli is, in fact, one of my favorite breakfasts—dry oats and fruit softening beneath the creamy weight of a bowl of milk, the austerity of the grains contrasting nicely with the sticky summer sweetness of the well-dried fruit.
There's something comforting about the transformation of the cereal. Lost in a sea of Spanish faces and words, I remember combing the pantry of my host mother's kitchen for comfort, and there it was, nestled into a box of the Swiss cereal sent abroad.
It doesn't hurt that it's good for you, too. There's little better than raw oats and dried fruit when it comes to good health, and I'm sure on these in between days, with turkey behind and cookies ahead, we could all use a little bit of reassurance.
So see it as you will: recession rations, comfort food, a well-enforced goodness after holiday cheer. You may just find you like it.
Mix: 1/2 cup rolled oats, dry, 1/4 cup dried apples, chopped into raisin-sized bits, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, 1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar, a pinch of nutmeg. Top with milk; eat for breakfast, or maybe as an afternoon snack.