Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

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Reading and Writing and the Occasional Recipe

The occasional recipe: oatmeal

Friday, January 22, 2010

It’s been a bad week. From truly disastrous news about Haiti and desperately ill friends to the minor annoyance of a cold. And, of course, I’ve yet to climb out of the slough of despond caused by now having a senator who is pretty much anti-everything except guns, trucks, and waterboarding. Ya-hoo.

Just one remedy: let’s make a bowl of hot oatmeal and curl up with a good book. This sounds a little pathetic, but trust me on this. The oatmeal I am proposing here is not the old favorite rolled oats, quick or old-fashioned. That’s still fine and indispensable for making cookies. But I’d like to suggest a game-changer in the oatmeal department--steel cut. I’m a recent convert, so of course I want everyone to know about this. You may already know, in which case why didn’t you tell me?

Steel cut oatmeal is to rolled oats as a good French baguette is to Wonder bread. You still want the sliced white sometimes for grilled cheese sandwiches to have with your tomato soup. But the baguette is the staff of a whole different life. Likewise steel-cut oatmeal. It’s chewy and nutty and so delicious that I’ve just been throwing in some raisins or a precious few from my frozen stash of last summer’s Maine blueberries and not bothering with the brown sugar, maple syrup, or other additive possibilities. Okay, it does take 30 minutes to cook, but--and this is how it’s revolutionized my mornings--you can cook up a batch, keep in the refrigerator, and take out a serving at a time all week. You just zap it in the microwave for two minutes and--ta-da--breakfast! Or lunch or even a lazy-night supper.

The whole recipe is this: a two to one ratio of water to oats (that’s what it says in real recipes, but I often add a little more water--you can figure it out for yourself.) Some people cook it in milk or half milk, half water. I’m sure that’s delicious, but I just use water. A little salt. Then thirty minutes on the stove with occasional stirring involved. And you’ve got it.

It’s hearty and nutritious and it makes you feel as if at least one thing is going right first thing in the morning. Try it and let me know.


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