[Note: I’m sure any steel-cut oatmeal is as good as the kind I had today — I am not endorsing one brand over another. I just liked the can and this was my first taste of steel-cut oats. McCann’s did not give me any free products. Or a free trip to Ireland. Honest.]
It took me years to actually like oatmeal, but when I did learn to like it — I really did. At first, and for years, the only oatmeal I’d eat was the instant, flavored kind — especially the apples and cinnamon flavor. Then, probably after having oatmeal at bed and breakfasts, I’d occasionally make, what I thought to be “real” oatmeal — the kind you cook for a while on the stove — or in the microwave, I believe Quaker calls it “Old Fashioned Oats”. I found that if I put brown sugar in it I could eat it.
Our kids, especially our daughter, liked oatmeal — and called it “porridge” — probably because my husband or I called it that to make them want to eat it — it sounded like something out of an old-time story.
While my husband continued to eat oatmeal in the mornings, I quit eating breakfast altogether, except for the occasional container of yogurt.
Recently, however, I had coffee with a friend at Starbucks. Well, she had coffee, I had orange juice and some of their oatmeal. I’d had it before, and always felt it tasted better at Starbucks (probably because I was overpaying there). My friend said that there were various grades of oatmeal — and some tasted better than others. She said she thought that the oatmeal I was used to was pre-cooked — that was why it was flat. I always assumed that oats were flat. She said that she and her husband ate steel-cut oatmeal. I’d heard of it, but had never tried it. It sounded too wholesome for me.
So the other day I was at Giant and thought I’d give steel-cut oatmeal a try. I found a brand of oatmeal I’d eaten before — McCann’s Irish Oatmeal. The can itself was worth the price. It is all old-fashioned looking and boasted of winning a prize at the World Colombian Exhibition — an event that I’m obsessed with. I figured that if we didn’t like the oats, at least we’d get a cool looking tin out of it.
This morning I followed the directions and made a serving of oatmeal. The oats looked so different from what I thought oats looked like — they were like very small pebbles instead of like thick pieces of taupe confetti. I understood what my friend meant about the other oatmeal being pre-cooked.
Cooking the oatmeal took a long time — more than a half hour. I wondered if there might be a quicker way to make this and thought I’d check online. Once the oatmeal was ready to eat, I felt that the time involved was worth it. The taste is much more intense than that of regular oatmeal. All I added was a sprinkling of dried fruit and a dollop of Greek yogurt.