Tuesday, May 01, 2012

In which we consider breakfast, with digressions

Probably the only legal thing worse than sleep deprivation, for adolescent mental and physical development, would be vitamin deficiency.   This post was sparked by my running into an old ad and realizing what a huge debt I owe to Carnation Instant Breakfast [TM].  Which I did not have for breakfast, but for after-school snacks.

Good Housekeeping, July, 1965

Inferno Junior High school was an awful place, academically OK, but socially and hierarchically brutal.  I demanded of The Universe that it give me more hours of my own outside of the school, but since the universe didn't really give a crap and only provided 24 per day, I had to simply rob time from another activity, and the only one left was sleep.  So I stayed up deep into the night.

Mornings, I was exhausted and had no appetite for breakfast.  My poor mother fixed a real breakfast for me every morning and scraped most of it into the trash when I was gone, since I picked at a bite or two, if I ate anything.

I need to add that Mom was not a morning person, and her cooking reflected this.  Her lunches and dinners were great, her desserts heavenly, but her breakfasts .... it's a tribute to her that she willingly got up and made a meal at 6 AM, and no more should be asked.

Anyway, bless my mother, I didn't like her eggs, but really, after being awake till somewhere between 2 and 4 AM and then getting up at 6, I had no appetite for anything.

At school, lunch hours were to be feared.  Faculty really couldn't discipline the roiling mob of kids who milled around the cafeteria building and the quad and grounds near it, so it was prime bullying time.  After little breakfast, I also had no real lunch and instead ate saltines in the only place I felt safe, the girls' bathroom.

But when I got home, life was good!   I could mix up a luscious glass of Instant Breakfast --usually two of them -- and forget Inferno Jr. High even existed, by immersing myself in the fantasy worlds of whatever soap operas were on that late in the afternoon.  General Hospital and Dark Shadows were favorites but TV was pretty much my feeding tube when I got out of Inferno.

Digression : I saw the very first episode of One Life to Live, where ailing but plucky Meredith Lord watched from the hospital parking lot in horror as two young doctors, who both had hopes of hooking up with Meredith, argued, up on a balcony, and one plummeted to his death, leading to serious legal troubles for the other one.

You may have guessed that my daily exit from Inferno Junior High was as great a joy for me, as entering it was a misery.

Anyway, in the process of being a chocolate reward for surviving the day, Instant Breakfast gave me a daily mega-dose of basic vitamins, and if I have any mental faculties at all, I owe a large portion of them to those shakes.

Unfortunately Instant Breakfast and I broke up when Carnation decided that the very fact of my drinking a sugar-free meal replacement product meant that I was statistically likely to be a moron who is too  irresponsible to be trusted with getting adequate fiber.

I really really think that this assumption is a stretch.

Whoever grows and markets chicory must be rolling in the dough, and must therefore be able to pressure every food company into adding this wretched stuff to every product they can think of, because you will notice "Inulin!" cheerily declared on many product labels, and that's what inulin is;  chicory root, powdered.  Only those of us who have to avoid sugar are punish-- I mean, provided with this unwanted fiber in the shake mix.  The sugared formula doesn't add it.

It's been about 5 years since since I sadly gave up Instant Breakfast after being a forty-year customer, but there are other tasty nutrition shakes these days, and I sometimes eat real food for breakfast now that I don't contend with junior high each day, and I've moved on.

But I drink chocolate meal-replacement shakes more often than I have anything else, and it's a comfort food habit that i formed in about 1967.


ronnie said...

This stuff got me through high school too. I refused to eat breakfast so my Mother forced me to drink a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast every morning. Really brings back memories.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Exactly what ronnie said. Word for word.