Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Savory Oatmeal



Oatmeal is one of the many foods that, as an adult, I've tasted again for the first time. That's because what we called oatmeal growing up was in fact a packet of sugar with perhaps a few oats thrown in for effect.

Any time a dish that isn't a dessert is served on the sweet side, you should be skeptical. Remember, sugar hasn't been around in our part of the world forever, so its presence often implies an altercation of the original. Just compare what "cereal" meant a hundred years ago to what it means for American kids today.

My earliest memories of oatmeal involve pouring hot tap water into a pulverized, artificially "apple and cinnamon" flavored, pre-cooked powder. I first went savory when a Scottish friend told me of his native oat preparation (egg, black pepper, cheddar), and I will never go back.

Many times a week, I cook whole oats on the stove top in a 2:1 water to oat ratio. When they're just cooked through but not yet mushy, I take them off heat and enjoy with coarse sea salt, tons of black pepper, and a generous tablespoon or so of oil. The oats are so large and toothsome that I often eat them on a plate, with a fork. The ancient simplicity of the meal - a grain and oil - is almost Biblical. It's hearty, it's fortifying, and it's real food.

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4 comments:

Stewart C. Russell said...

Never heard of porridge with egg and/or pepper. Salt is how it should be done, though.

Kate said...

My father always treated oatmeal and grits the same way: fresh butter, salt, and pepper. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

SamiHolloway said...

I just discovered the joy of oats cooked like risotto-- add five cups of broth one at a time to a cup of steel-cut oats, then toss in veggies, salt, pepper, and cheese.

deee-licious.

~:)

Emma said...

How do you add the egg? Is it's mixed in raw or what? Sounds interesting!