Friday, January 07, 2005

On Not-So-Instant Oats

There is currently sitting in my cupboard a tin of John McCann's Steel-Cut Oats. I think I bought it because I was reading a historical cookbook (Lobscourse and Spotted Dog) and I wanted to know what "stirabout" (which is another name for this sort of porridge) tasted like. This would have been about, er, 6 years ago.

One nice thing about oats in a tin: long shelf life.

Last week during one of my stay at home days I tried making some. This is when I realized these were a niche product: they take at least half an hour to cook. That pretty much makes it a weekend food; it's not practical for an Urban Possum who's not a morning person to spend half an hour cooking breakfast. It also thickens up pretty well, even when you cut the recipe in half (the instructions on the tin are for cooking 4 servings). It's also a lot more thicker than instant oatmeal.

Taste? With milk and honey (liquid as opposed to spreadable) it was actually pretty nice. Not to mention appropriate for a winter breakfast with negative-degree temperatures outside. It's also pretty chewy, even when thinned out, but it's a pleasant sort of chewy, like when you're thinking about something; the appropriate attitude for the Saturday paper with the weekend comics in it.

Now this type of oatmeal isn't something I'd eat every weekend (I tend to prefer more savory items for breakfast) but I do plan to eat this more often -- and not just because oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol. (If you want to discourage a Real Man from trying something new, tell him it's good for his health.)

Incidentally, I apologize for not posting here more often. My only excuse is that there aren't that many recipes that I've known and tried. It's one of my resolutions for 2005: try new recipes and add the better ones to my cooking repertoire. When I come across one I like, I'll let you know.


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