Oatmeal: the good, the bad and the ugly

My favorite oatmeal

First, the good:

Oatmeal is about as individual a breakfast item as you can get.  Everyone has their own version:  instant, flavored, quick, old fashioned; their own way of making it: stovetop, microwave, just-add-water; their own way of decorating it: milk, cream, nuts, berries, dried fruit or yogurt.  Some just like making cookies out of it and some just like eating those cookies.

My version: quick oats.  My cooking method: stovetop.  My add-ins: brown sugar, raisins and cream.  And for the record, I like making (and eating) oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Now, the bad:

My love for oatmeal was hard won.  My childhood was full of traumatic oatmeal experiences – those awful Wilford Brimley Quaker Oats commercials, breakfast at my first Girl Scout Sleepaway Camp, and Mom’s stick to your ribs version.  (In all fairness, it actually was my Mom’s version I liked best – just not before a Saturday morning soccer game.)

“Oakmeal” as my Mom called it, was her go-to breakfast option on cold, gray mornings.  She would add lots of milk (to cool it down), brown sugar and raisins.

And finally, the ugly:

Knowing how my Mom made it is important because that’s the version I was expecting at Girl Scout camp.  It was the first time I’d spent a week away from home by myself and on the morning of our first breakfast at camp, I found out that the woman in charge was a visiting director from Australia.  (Not that that matters, but my eight-year old brain will always associate awful oatmeal with Australia.)  Anyway, our only breakfast options were cold cereal, (boring!) or oatmeal.  I chose oatmeal and was dismayed when I found out that all I was getting was oatmeal – no brown sugar, no whole milk to cool it down, and no raisins to sweeten it up and provide more texture – in short, not oatmeal.  To make matters worse, it was cooked too long and super-hot so by the time I could actually eat, it had turned to the consistency of paste.

It’s a wonder I ever recovered.

But thankfully I have, and oatmeal is a staple in the house.  Joel has actually created his own oatmeal concoction, (which Madison loves) by microwaving water on high for 5 minutes and then mixing in the quick oats, maple syrup and peanut butter.  Then he adds a little bit of milk or cream.  I don’t understand it but he swears it tastes just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

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3 comments on “Oatmeal: the good, the bad and the ugly

  1. Jessica
    October 12, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    I’m not a milk-in-the-oatmeal fan, but my husband is. Personally, I like thick oatmeal…not soup.

  2. Susan Weisberger
    October 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    In defense of me.(mom). I learned how to make oakmeal from my Dad. I loved it and it is the same way I made it for Heather and Joel. I think she forgot. I do add lots of milk,brown sugar and raisins, but I also added banana. and butter.( Okay what did you expect I am one of the butter sisters after all. lol) The name oakmeal, I thought that was what everyone called it, no one corrected me so I just went on calling it that. 🙂

  3. Harry Weisberger
    November 1, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Maple sugar and peanut butter? Interesting. I’ll have to try it. BTW, your version and mine are nearly identical. I speed up the process by boiling about a half-cut of water and pouring it onto the dry oakmeal in the pot.

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