Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oatmeal, My Newest Obsession

I have to admit that I’m guilty, guilty of food obsessions. I’ve been through handmade pancakes for Peking Duck, homemade sausage in real casings, ravioli in all forms made from fresh noodles and bread, bread, bread…you get the picture.
So how did this latest obsession come about? I concluded that the entire universe of healthy eating couldn’t be wrong about the benefits of eating oatmeal, so I set out to figure out how to make it somewhat palatable. And at the same time, I knew it could be canine-friendly.
The instant variety with all the pretty pictures on the boxes just wouldn’t work. Unfortunately, I am a strict follower of the “if it comes from a box with colorful pictures, I can’t eat it” rule. Shiny, colored pictures equal instant headaches in my world and surely must contain stuff that Mikey, my king canine, can’t eat.
On to more varieties. There are thick rolled, old-fashioned, quick oats, instant oats, and, in the shiny metal tin, the steel cut oatmeal that takes, perish the thought, half an hour to cook. After I went through them all, I had to try the John McCann's (not McCain) Irish oatmeal. The results can only be compared to the differences between Minute Rice and basmati or risotto. 

Minute Rice and converted rice fled the confines of my kitchen when I discovered the complex flavors of the varietals. Now I’m trying to decide how to use up the three pounds of five minute oats occupying valuable real estate in my pantry--oatmeal cookies and who knows what else.

The McCann oatmeal is different. It has bite. The others are as unreasonably mushy as overcooked pasta. Even my Jewish mother, 70 years ago understood the virtues of al dente. Isn’t it a shame that Italian restaurants still think they can save time by reheating pasta? In New York no one reheats pasta. In Miami, who knows?

We’ve been playing with our very slow cooking oatmeal, eating it with dried apricots, dried cranberries, nuts, grated apples, butter and brown sugar, raisins, and combinations of the above.

Even Mikey likes it. Of course, he can’t have the raisins or much sugar, but wow, with leftover meat stirred in, he couldn’t get enough of it. After a few days, even Mikey was willing to eat the oatmeal with very few accompaniments. 

Now I have to try it out on my granddaughter and her friends. How about oatmeal sundaes: chocolate chips, whipped cream, strawberries, raisins. I don’t even have to experiment. I know I can mainstream oatmeal if I present it right.

My only problem has been my husband. He thinks I’m trying to turn him into a horse, albeit a healthy one.

1 comment:

  1. OK, if 30 minutes spent at the stove cooking Irish oatmeal sounds ridiculous, even at 4:30 AM when we cook breakfast, I just conducted oatmeal test #.....???. A single portion of cooked oatmeal mixed with some very hot (from my instant hot water thing) water and microwaved for a minute or until it's hot, tastes just like the original stuff straight out of the pot. So, if we want our oatmeal tomorrow before sunrise, it will be waiting in the refrigerator. The question is, can I fool the newly anointed horse-man? If I can keep a secret, a real challenge even during regular hours, we'll see. On to chapter 2.