Wednesday, May 21, 2014

500 Words: Oatmeal

Oatmeal gets a bad rap. You never quite know what you are getting when you get a packet of oatmeal. It can be flavorless. It’s consistency can range from gritty to goopy. It really depends on the maker, the person who’s doing it and the amount of water you have. It can ruin your day if things don’t all fall in line.

Oatmeal reminds me of camping. It reminds me of cold mornings. In the insides of a house with a heat, a nice dining room table, Good Morning America, and everything else, Oatmeal will taste bland. But outside in the woods, oatmeal is manna from heaven. The flavors taste better when they are mixed with sleeping in tents and sitting around a fire. It’s a little piece of “wake me up” that you take for granted when you are at home and rushing to get going on your day. When your camping, you do not have a set schedule. You have wake up, eat, do what you got to do. Oatmeal helps you out with that.

I eat oatmeal out of those hard plastic measuring cups. Sometimes it gets a bit watery if you don’t want to use your spoon. You boil water on the stove and pour it over, not using exact measurements. Then you have to wipe the excess oat flakes with your finger. And the lovely “grey water” so you don’t leave any excess food out in the woods.

At home, we’d buy those big tubes of Quaker Oats more often than the little packets. You really have to make an effort to make those bowls of oatmeal taste good. I prefer raisins and brown sugar (LOTS of brown sugar.) I’ve seen people put nuts, butter, blueberries, fruit, and even cheese in their oatmeal. That’s a lot to handle in the morning.

I always wondered if Quakers actually ate Quaker oatmeal. Did Benjamin Franklin eat it? I’d like to think that is what fueled him during the American Revolution and during his periods of invention. Quaker Oats could probably have gotten a good endorser if Ben Franklin was still around. I remember a few years ago when Quaker put out those weird Dinosaur egg oatmeal stuff. It was very weird. I didn’t like it because I probably didn’t wait long enough for the eggs to “hatch.” Keep it simple, oatmeal. You’re healthy. Don’t go trying to be like a sugar filled kid ceral. Parents feed it to us because it’s healthy, and with a few adjustments, it can be pretty great.  

A spin off of that oatmeal is Granola, which my parents make by putting the oats in an oven. It’s pretty good, but my parents eat it almost every morning. (Except Sunday mornings, when we have a larger breakfast.) It can be a bit of a different beast if your eat it with milk or yogurt. I just had a bowl with some Greek Oikos yogurt. It was pretty tasty and will fuel me for the next few hours. It could have used some fresh berries though. Strawberries and bananas would have been great with it.

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