Slow Espresso, fast oatmeal: A new foodie movement for those with kids

I don’t think I need to start this blog with a definition of Espresso. We all know what that is, and why I want one at 6:05 am on a saturday morning. However, a bit of background knowledge to lead us into the point I will subsequently make:

The term “espresso” comes from the Italian language, the English translations [of] which include both “quick” and also “expressly for a special purpose”. Both of these definitions suggest the original intent that inspired the invention and perfection of Espresso, in that satisfying the inherent urgency and ego of human nature, people wanted their coffee personally made for them as quickly as possible upon their requested demand. Espresso perfectly satisfies these human desires given its very quick brewing time…. (

That’s exactly why I wanted my espresso this morning. After trying in vain to not hear Elsie whimpering in her crib, I finally hauled ass out of bed at 6 am and told Ben to sleep in. I took Elsie downstairs to find that Frida had made herself breakfast!

That’s right, in her words, “uncooked hot cereal”. In a coffee filter. With water. Yum.

"J'ai fait des céréales chaudes pas cuites...Mais, c'était pas très bon..."

well, yeah. Of course it wasn’t good. She much prefers it without water. But more on that later.

So I got that cleaned up, but still had 2 girls who needed to eat. So I got out the Cheerios, poured a couple of bowls, and turned on the espresso machine. 6:10 am.

“Encore”, said Elsie. She still had most of her cheerios, but I poured more in there to buy myself some time, and got the coffee beans into the grinder.

“Encore”, said Elsie. Another Cheerio top-up and I got the milk back from the girls to heat up for my latte. In pot, on stove. 6:12 am.

“mama, can I have a pamplemousse?” said Frida, as she poured more cereal into the lake of milk in her bowl, and all over the table, and all over the floor. Broom, dustpan, dog hears cheerios hitting floor and decides to come downstairs, 6:15 am.

Dog needs to go out. Elsie wants more cheerios, I say no. Anger ensues. Nose needs wiping. Dog whines and ticktacks across the floor back and forth. More anger from Elsie with threat of cereal bowl being pushed off table. Elsie removed from table. Dog pants and crosses his legs. I  put on my coat and take the dog out in my flip flops. Elsie screams in the vestibule. Dog pees, decides not to run away, comes to the door, I open door, hit Elsie on the forehead with the doorhandle, she topples over, more screaming, much snot. Milk boils over on stove. 6:22 am.

I calm Elsie, help her to eat her cereal. Frida wants grapefruit, toast, cheese, juice, muffins, and more Cheerios. She can pour the milk herself, so that saves time. I manage to peel Elsie off my lap and go grind the coffee. Only a tablespoon or so ends up on the counter. I hop over to the espresso machine while Elsie holds my legs together and whines. 6:30 am.

I can get the skin off the boiled-over milk and froth it with one hand, so I do that with Elsie in my other arm, but when I turn around, Frida has gotten into Ben’s gum stash and is inspecting each piece to see if it’s minty or fruity. I leave the milk to sort out the gum. I turn back to the espresso machine and push the button. 6:35 am.

Frida wants to read a book, and have her face painted, and maybe show Elsie where the coffee filters are kept, but I manage to get the espresso into the cup and the milk follows. It’s 6:37 am. There are crushed cheerios, milk puddles and coffee grinds all over the floor that Ben just vacuumed yesterday. The stove is encrusted with burned milk. I haven’t eaten yet and there are no more cheerios. But I have a latte.

Good thing espresso is “quick”.

To come back to the “fast” part of this post – I think there’s something to this uncooked oatmeal thing – it sure cuts down on cooking and blowing-on-it-while-babies-are-hungry-and-crying time!  Not to mention, compostable dishes. So if I can get her used to eating her oatmeal like this, I might be able to make myself a coffee in less than 35 minutes!


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