16 January 2009

A Paean To Porridge

Porridge, by Spike Milligan

Why is there no monument
To Porridge in our land?
If it's good enough to eat,
It's good enough to stand!

On a plinth in London
A statue we should see
Of Porridge made in Scotland
Signed, "Oatmeal, O.B.E."

I never used to like oatmeal. It was served periodically when I was a kid, and I remember it as mucilaginous.  I far preferred Cream of Wheat and even Wheatena.

A couple of years ago, I discovered that my favorite sandwich shop served divine oatmeal - steel cut oatmeal, topped with cinnamon brown sugar butter, toasted nuts and/or dried fruit - I get everything, and it doesn't even need milk. And then the cook at the girlie's (former) daycare began serving oatmeal to the kidlets every morning, and Mir started asking for it in the morning.

So I started trying to make oatmeal at home. I tried a bunch of brands, trying to avoid the mucilaginousness I grew up with. The Silver Palate oatmeal cooks up nice and toothy, but it's hard to find. The McCann's steel cut is awesome, but spendy, and it takes a half an hour to make.  Good old Quaker Oats is fine if you use the old-fashioned variety and cook off all the water.  And hallelujah, I've just discovered that Quaker is now selling steel cut oats in the supermarket, for half the price of the McCann's.  

Now, on the two days a week that she takes the bus (and that we therefore have more time in the morning), I make a bowl of 5 minute oatmeal for the girl, and on Saturday or Sunday morning, we make a batch of the 30 minute steel cut for the whole family. It's a nice warm way to start the day in the midwinter.

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This post was written for the Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company. Quaker is being a good corporate citizen: from now until February 28, for every UPC from a Quaker Oatmeal hot cereal product that you enter at Start With Substance , Quaker will donate one bowl of oatmeal to Share Our Strength, a childhood hunger organization. One hitch is that you need to be a Facebook member to participate. I didn't really follow the rules (so what else is new), because I was supposed to tell you all how I help other people, but I've been down that road recently, so today you just get to hear about oatmeal. Okay by you? Don't forget that nice poem I found you. Does anyone read the fine print? 


She She said...

All of my kids LOVE oatmeal, and I'm so grateful.

Kyddryn said...

At the risk of being smacked for blatant self-promotion - on the sidebar of my blog is a list of recipes, one of them for oatmeal. I adore oatmeal! Steel cut, rolled, I prefer long-cook, but even quick oats have their place in the larder 'round here.

I'm glad you came around - well made oatmeal is a beautiful thing!

Shade and Sweetwater,

InTheFastLane said...

You know ALL this about hot cereal and have never had Malt O Meal :)?

Do they not have Malt O Meal where you live?

Anjali said...

Funny you should post about this... I was at the store this morning and bought some. I'm going to try slow-cooking it overnight for 8 hours. (I've heard it tastes great.) Wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

Steel cut rules.

Though I finally found Wheatena in one of my stores again and have been devouring it.

(When I'm not smothering bagels with cream cheese.)

FreshHell said...

I do read the fine print! Also, the kids enjoy oatmeal but, alas, they only get the instant variety. Because that's all the time there is in the mornings and I do not cook breakfast.

Gwen said...

Funny. My youngest daughter is in an oatmeal every day phase. She's happy with just the instant microwave kind, though. And I'm sure that has nothing to do with the bucket of cream, the pound of butter and the jar of maple syrup we pour on it, nope. She's got to be all about the heart healthiness, right?

Robbin said...

Just as a side note:

I make a batch on Sunday and put it in the fridge in one-cup servings. It reheats in the the microwave wonderfully.

nonlineargirl said...

I think steel cut oats stand up to reheating too, so you could make extra on the weekend and reheat for a weekday breakfast.

We make regular oatmeal a couple of times a week. While it is cooking we add a little cinnamon and brown sugar. (I grew up putting the sugar on top once it was in my bowl). It is so good, and we avoid the discussions with Ada about whether she has enough sugar or needs more. (Raisins and bananas are our current add ons, stone fruit is good in season.)

meno said...

I hated oatmeal as a kid, because my mother used to serve it as a tasteless blob island of gooey glop, surounded by a sea of skim milk.


But now that i know how to make it, i love the stuff. I use about half milk and half water when i cook it. Try it, it's good.

Ilina said...

Check out the props I gave you. http://www.dirtandnoise.com/2009/01/writing-that-moves-me.html

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I think it was Douglas Adams who said that when the first human crawled out of the mud, what he had for dinner on that first day was stew. To my mind -- he must have had oatmeal for breakfast.

I'm a Cream of Wheat girl, myself!

Anonymous said...

This description---steel cut oatmeal, topped with cinnamon brown sugar butter, toasted nuts and/or dried fruit---made me hungry for OATMEAL, forgodsakes. OATMEAL! It sounds lovely.

flutter said...

I am on my way over.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I make my oatmeal in a tiny crockpot--you put it in at night and it's all set to go in the morning. The kids love it.

shrink on the couch said...

Oatmeal with brown sugar rocks. I also like to add shredded (peeled) apple (on the stove). Deeelissus.

niobe said...


Aurelia said...

I WUVS oatmeal, it truly is fabulousness in a bowl.

My fave new thing to have with my Starbucks in the morning, is Starbucks oatmeal actually. I add some of the sugar, and all of the nuts and a little bit of the dried fruit and eat away. (The nuts etc. come in little packets so you can choose your amounts.)

Bea said...

I love steel-cut oatmeal. And if you think about how filling it is, and how little snacking you do after eating it, it really pays for itself, even the McCann's kind.

1A said...

Porridge, to us, is made with rice & milk. We eat it every Saturday. With butter, cinnamon and sugar.