A bit about Oatmeal

Not being much of a fan of oatmeal porridge, I never made it for my son.. not since he was an infant. However, over the last couple of years, he has really grown to like the “instant-flavored” packets that are out on the market — you know the type: Add 2/3 cup of boiling water, let sit for 1 minute, stir and eat.

Instant oatmeal is pretty popular, with such flavors as Maple and Brown Sugar, Raisins and Spice (what spice?!?), Cinnamon and Spice (again, what spice?!), Apples and Cinnamon, Strawberries and Cream, Apples Crisp just to name a few. There are different types, such as Classic Favorites, Weight Control with Classic Flavors, Lower Sugar with Classic Flavors, an oatmeal just for Women, one for just for Kids (none for Men??), Oatmeal with Crunch, classic flavor, an oatmeal that is for your heart, a Supreme version(?!?), and an (wait for it, you know it’s coming…) “Organic” version. The list is long, and strangely.. disturbing. Does “Oatmeal for Women” mean that it isn’t a classic.. and if it the ingredients aren’t organic in some form (I mean, really..did they make the rolled oats out of cardboard), then what the hell is it made out of?!?!?

And to top it all off, Instant Oatmeal tastes like pre-chewed, pre-digested, flavored kindergarten paste.

I’ve always bought it for him, basically because I really didn’t care for oatmeal, and figured it was a quick and easy breakfast for him.

Until this morning.

He made a lump of Maple & Brown Sugar concrete. If you decide to follow the cooking directions on the little packet, it clearly states that you should add 2/3 of a cup of water, mix in the instant oatmeal and flavor clumps (okay, it doesn’t say clumps :P), and stir. Microwave for 2 minutes.

Try # 1:

He used about 1/3 of a cup of water, instead of the 2/3rds, and instead of the pre-digested goo he usually ends up with, out came the maple & brown sugar concrete.

Try # 2:

He used about 1 cup of water, instead of the 2/3rds, and accidentally put the microwave on for 5 minutes. Again, no pre-digested goo, but a lump of concrete.

Try # 3:

He used the correct amount of water, and the correct amount of time… but the bowl was now so hot, that he dropped it .. all over my kitchen floor. Oh yeah. 8 Minutes until we have to drive 30 miles to get him to school, in suburban NYC traffic. Jussst great.

So, instead of oatmeal, it was PB Toast in the car on the way to school, a grumpy Mother with an attitude and, apparently, some oatmeal stuck to the knees of my jeans from cleaning the floor.

(In case you may wonder why I did not help him in the oatmeal making, he is “almost FOURTEEN”, and can “DO IT MYSELF, MOM!”.)

Luckily for him, he is with his father this evening. ;)

Tonight, I decided to try to make oatmeal porridge myself. This time using regular the rolled oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking), I had left from making oatmeal cranberry cookies. What I had always seen my father do was add water, salt, and the oatmeal at the same time, and stir it until it was .. well, slimy goo.

Blech.

Funnily enough, when you read the back of the Quaker Oats box, it says to use either water or milk, bring it to a boil, adding salt, and then sprinkle in the oats, while stirring.

I used 1 cup of milk, a bit of salt, 1/2 cup of oats – the recipe right off the back of the box.

I taste tested after 4 minutes — this was definitely not what Dad made. This stuff actually tastes.. almost good. I added a bit of brown sugar, and finished cooking it. I tasted once again.. and added a bit more milk, and damn!! It’s not bad at all.

Who knew?!?!

I honestly don’t know what kind of things can be added to oatmeal porridge, but I’m sure I can figure out something to make this palatable to my son, and wean him off of the instant crap.. err..stuff.

Even if I can’t figure out how to make “Cinnamon and Spice”, I do know that this is a lot better than the pre-digested stuff. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it, and seeing what I can come up with.

If you’ve got a favorite way to make oatmeal, post it here – I’d be interested to see what others do with it.

Oh, and I do know what organic means — but I was in the middle of a good rant, and it can’t be helped..heh

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5 Responses

  1. Try steel cut oats–they taste waaaaay better than rolled outs–not as gloopy, with a definite texture and chew.

  2. I love porridge and find myself frowning at the television when these ads for super duper instant oats come on, anyway, this is how I make it: I use half water half milk, I tend to use a bit more liquid than it says on the packet and let it cook really slowly, I think it’s texture is better then. Then stir in lots of ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Bit of milk to go on the top…lovely!

  3. I agree with the post that suggested the steel cut oats, it’s the only way to go. I like to use water and as I bring it to a boil I sprinkle in dried fruit, either dried cranberries or chopped up bits of apricot are my favs. They rehydrate a bit and flavor the water, then I add the oats and cook as directed. I sweeten with honey and if needed I thin it with a bit of milk. Before lactaid free milk was so easily available, I added a spoon of dairy free coffee creamer. I still do sometimes as it is creamier than milk. I don’t like the overly sweetened and flavored instant packets at all so don’t really try to imitate the “spice” they use. I have added a handful of almonds or granola for some extra crunch.

    I randomly landed at your blog from a link to your runza recipe and am really enjoying browsing. Thx!

  4. I have tried the steel cut oats – Yum. That is what oatmeal should taste like — Its just so good. Next time I make it (usually on a weekend), I’ll try it as you suggest — I love cranberries, and the apricot sounds great, too.

    Enjoy browsing the site –it’s been fun to write and the fact you are enjoying it makes it even better :)

  5. […] I’ve said in a previous post, I didn’t really like oatmeal much as a child.  It wasn’t until last year that I […]

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