I recently read a blog article on how toast was becoming trendy in San Francisco. If toast can become artisanal food in San Francisco, then I say, let’s make oatmeal a radical feast. Here’s how to do it. Any why.
A friend recently attributed her father’s longevity (92 years!) in part, to starting each day with a bowl of oatmeal. There just might be more than a “grain” of truth to her theory. A not-so-short list of health benefits of oats, all of which have studies to back them up, goes something like this:
- Boosts nutrition in gluten-free diets (are you listening my gluten-free friends?)
- Increases appetite control hormones (hello new year's resolution revelers?)
- Improves immune system defenses
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Controls blood pressure
- Higher on the “satiety” index (i.e., you get fuller faster and longer)
You get the picture. Oats are good for you.
To unify with winter, traditional Chinese medicine recommends whole grains, often cooked longer at lower temperatures. Sounds like oatmeal season to me.
Oatmeal as a Feast? Really?
To many folks oatmeal is a boring, mushy, glumpy, thing only Oliver Twist would be caught eating. I’ve never done the grain much justice in the past. My oatmeal cooking method up until recently was:
- Grab packet from box.
- Tear open and pour contents into bowl.
- Heat water.
- Add water to bowl.
- Slide bowl toward child.
- Expect miracle.
The New Oatmeal, Radical Feast Style
Start with one cool cloudy winter weekend morning. If you're in Los Angeles, a sunny day will do, too. Make no plans for the morning. It now belongs to you.
Use steel cut oats. I use Use steel cut oats. I use McCann's. It’s the can. It looks cool.
Make it sumptuous. Following the directions on the can only part of the way, I changed up the water to a 50/50 split of half & half and milk. Please don’t tell my trainer.
Take your time with the stir.
Harken back to your high school days reading Macbeth. Channel your inner witch standing over the cauldron, I mean, stove. Repeat after me:
“Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”
Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1. (Caveat: Leave the newt’s eye and dog’s tongue out if you want the rest of the family to eat it.)
Keep stirring. A little more. Keep it going. Zen yourself into it.
You stir. The oatmeal thickens. Everyone has a job.
Is it thick enough? You're the judge here, not me. But this is what it looked like when I did it.
Now put some brown sugar in cute little wooden bowls and chop up some apple chunks. Just to make it look like a photo shoot from Bon Appetit or Saveur, two favorite "always aspirational" magazines.
Feast. Full. Fini.