The Book Cook The Book Cook: Good Morning Mush Ellen Clifford

Good Morning Mush

I’m on a mission to enlighten the world to the profundity of Goodnight Moon, the venerable classic by Margaret Wise Brown.  Is it really just a children’s book about a little bunny by in striped pajamas saying goodnight to everything?

Probably. But just for kicks, let’s think about it a little more.

Goodnight Moon is so absurdly simple I cannot help but think there is more than meets the sleepy eye. For instance, is it a parody of our attachment to material possessions? Maybe Brown is saying we treat things as though they were as important as people, so much so that we say goodnight to inanimate objects. It takes the little bun-bun so long to say goodnight to everything that one wonders if he is getting enough sleep. Silly wabbit.

Or perhaps Goodnight Moon is an exercise in gratitude for the simple things. Brown may be saying that we need to take the time to acknowledge everything in our lives, from clocks and socks to kittens and mittens. I think we can all agree that kittens are important.

One of the most perplexing pages in the book is the blank page that simply states “Goodnight nobody”. What the heckums? Is little bunny boy so desperate for companions that he must thank not only objects, but also non-entities? What’s next? Goodnight anti-matter?

Or perhaps Brown’s illustrator just had the day off and she had another page due. Deadlines, they’ll get ya.

I could go into existential crises just thinking about “Goodnight nobody”, but the page after “Goodnight nobody” is even more mysterious to me. And yes, I do need a life. The next page reads “Goodnight mush”.

Food-obsessed person that I am, I have to ask, what IS that mush? It is first seen earlier in the book, on a bedside table along with a comb and brush. The black and white drawing is of a bowl filled with a gray, somewhat wavy looking substance. There is a rather large spoon stuck in it. Is it oatmeal? That seems like a logical mushy choice.

But would the quiet old lady feed oatmeal to her child? I mean, they’re bunnies. Shouldn’t they be having carrots?

Furthermore, there is the fact that they are saying goodnight to the mush. This leads me to believe that mush is going to sit there all night. Maybe the quiet old rabbit lady wants to sleep in, so she just leaves a bowl of mush out for little bunny boy to have for breakfast. That way she needn’t get up early to cook.

This explains my thinking that the mush is actually something that requires an overnight rest. AHA! Obviously, the quiet old hare that whispers, “hush”, is into chia seeds.  She’s a hip old bunny. Or an old hippie bunny. Chia seeds thicken up like nobody’s business when given the time. They form a mushy sort of substance, particularly when combined with oats.

Because the old lady and the boy are rabbits, I thought maybe carrots should be worked into the mush. But in the spirit of autumn, and in the spirit of the bunny lady’s laziness, my version of mush has canned pumpkin in the mix. It may not be carrots, but it is orange. Very important.

We may never know for sure the story behind the mush, but we can enjoy our own bowl of mushy goodness. Thus I give you a Good Morning Mush. It is perfect for a good morning rush! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself there. I will stop rhyming, this I swear. Whoops.

Oats, chia seeds, almond milk and pumpkin join forces to give you a tasty breakfast. Or if you make it early enough in the day, it can be a tasty dessert. Pick your poison.

Good Morning Mush

I should note that this does not actually take a whole night to get thick. If you want it for an evening snack just start about four hours before eating.

  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ cup oatmeal (I prefer the old-fashioned over quick cooking)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon (may be a bit strong for some tastes, adjust accordingly)
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 ¼ cups milk (I keep it vegan with unsweetened almond)
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup, or to your liking (also tasty with brown sugar or honey, if you are not a vegan)

Mix together the chia seeds, oatmeal, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and sea salt. Add the milk, pumpkin and syrup. Stir it up. Don’t put it on your bedside table. Put it in the refrigerator. Stir it once or twice during the first couple of hours, if the timing is right. The chia seeds like to float. After several hours, or a good night’s sleep, just stir it up and gobble, adding more milk or sweetener if you like. Heat it up if you like. Or eat cold. Mush is easy-going!

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