It’s beginning to look a lot like oatmeal

Early in the morning, before the furnace clicked on, before the alarm went off, I shivered under newly inadequate covers in the suddenly chilly house. I woke up to the first frost of the year.  The predawn world outside my bedroom window was all sharp edges, like a black and white photographic negative.  As I drove to work, I saw the fir trees standing out clearly in silhouette against the lighter sky, a full moon hanging just above their black tips. 

One day it was fall, damp and windy.  The next day it was winter, and I was searching the coat closet for gloves and scarves.  I brought the extra blanket and flannel sheets out of the linen closet, and prepared to hibernate. 

I’ve been hankering, these last few frosty mornings, for a big bowl of oatmeal.  Perhaps I should explain that I make a definite distinction between weekday food and weekend food.  Weekdays are for simple whole foods—vegetables, grains, and a little meat for lunch and dinner.  Breakfast is usually a piece of whole grain toast and a scrambled egg, or sometimes Greek yogurt with granola and raisins.  But on the weekends, I loosen up and go for the rich, fatty, time-consuming foods. 

I don’t consider oatmeal a healthful utility breakfast, but rather a weekend luxury: protein-poor, decadent–extravagant even.  Therefore, I stopped by PCC  for a bag of slow-cooking whole rolled oats, some fresh brown sugar, and a carton of cream.  Because I don’t screw around when it comes to oatmeal.  Instant oatmeal is for lightweights–I’d just as soon not bother. 

You need to have time to cook real oatmeal, to stand at the stove in slippers and bathrobe, to stir the simmering grain as it turns creamy, to taste periodically until the oats are just past al dente-soft, but still with some resistance to the tooth.  Spoon fresh, soft brown sugar on top, and a handful of raisins.  Sit down with a cup of hot coffee and the steaming bowl, and then, at the very last minute, trickle a small river of whole cream over the mountain of oatmeal (not milk, definitely never skim milk, but maybe half and half in a pinch, e.g. snowstorm or nuclear disaster or some such unforeseeable situation).  Stir the silky cream into the oatmeal until it is shiny with sugar and fat. 

This richness must be consumed slowly, perhaps with a side of bacon for protein, and the Sunday New York Times.   Scrape the bowl.  Lick the spoon.


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2 thoughts on “It’s beginning to look a lot like oatmeal

  1. Charles

    AAaahh yes… you make a bowl of “Old Fashioned Porridge” sound like a true gastronomical adventure. I had almost forgotten how luxurious a bowl of Oatmeal could be on a crisp wintry morning. But thanks to this entry, we now enjoy the bowl of Oatmeal at least once a week, topped with Maple Syrup, or Homemade Apple/Quince/Pear preserves for variety. This past summer while on holiday to the Isle of Skye, our B&B Hostess treated us to such Oatmeal, which I hadn’t tasted in years. The crowning glory to that wondrous Scottish Breakfast was served steamingly appropriate with just a ‘wee dram’ of good single malt whisky on top, instead of brown sugar. It was an extreme palatable delight, and a wondrous warming, stick-to-the-ribs effect to start the day against the windy tours we took ’round the Isle. Of all the meals eaten during the 21 days there, the B&B Oatmeal was by far the most delectable, and memorable.

    1. The Rowdy Chowgirl Post author

      What an excellent idea! I’ve got a bottle of Bowmore Islay scotch that would be just perfect as a topping for oatmeal. Maybe in addition to the brown sugar rather than instead of, though…


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