When I was a sophomore in college, after I'd moved out of the dorms (and into Christus House, actually), autumn came along and again I felt like having some hot creamy food. I bought a box of one minute Cream of Wheat, made up a double batch....and something wasn't right. I followed the directions exactly, stirred and timed and used fresh brown sugar and butter and milk...but since it still wasn't right, I did what every self-respecting 19 year old woman would do: I called my mom.
"Hi Mom. Listen, I made some Cream of Wheat, and it's good and all, but it's just not right."
"What do you mean? Did you burn it?" This was a reasonable question, sadly.
"No...it's just...it's not like yours."
"Well I don't know what to tell you. I used that same kind at home." My mom is a brilliant cook, and learned to cook from her mother, who learned to cook from her mother...I didn't have her skills, but she was good at talking me through things when I needed her to.
"But, I mean, I followed the directions and stuff, and I even used a wooden spoon like you do, but...how do you get your Cream of Wheat to have those lumps in it?"
She hung up on me.
But I was serious. I still haven't managed to make lumpy Cream of Wheat like my mother used to.