Colin Craven is a name uttered with frequently around my house. You’ll of course remember this character as the snooty, sickly, rich boy turned humble, healthy (still rich) boy from Burnett’s The Secret Garden.
For me, a whole language—complete with countless meanings—has evolved from allusions to this character. In my world, “colincraven” is most often a verb, and is thus conjugated based on my particular syntactical needs.
Consider the following scenarios: lying in or sitting up in bed for an extended length of time, demanding food brought to you on a tray, being sick, limping, sitting outside on a wool blanket, petting a lamb, eating a picnic, or as is all too often the case with me—slipping into an awkward English accent. These are all prime examples of colincravening.
My inexplicable fascination with Colin Craven is nothing new. Growing up, my love for The Secret Garden was intensified by the release of the Hallmark movie. I used to play Secret Garden: I would bury my house key in a pile of mud and leaves in our front yard and run around saying things like “cheeky little beggar.” I’d make myself “porridge” for breakfast: cream of wheat or oatmeal only to snootily insist, in my best Mary imitation, that I didn’t want it! I’d then, of course, assume the role of Martha and argue back in a cockney accent: “Tha’ doesn’t want thy porridge!” (Burnett 39) I suppose this should embarrass me (especially considering I was probably fifteen at the time…) but, who cares? This book is a classic!
I loved porridge as a kid and I still have the stuff every morning for breakfast. Even Mary would be unable to resist this recipe for Apple Walnut Oatmeal.
Serving size: 1
1 packet plain instant oatmeal (roughly ¼ cup oats)
2/3 cup milk
½ large (or 1 small) apple, chopped into cubes
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp brown sugar
¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Add milk to oatmeal and heat in microwave (or prepare on stovetop) for approximately 1 minute.
Add chopped apple, cinnamon, and brown sugar to oatmeal, stir to incorporate. Then microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
Top with walnuts.
Variation: Banana Walnut Oatmeal
Prepare as described above, but omit apple.
Add sliced banana when you add walnuts.