Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oatmeal: Breakfast of Controversy

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love oatmeal, and those who think it's positively disgusting.

I mean, it's not embryonic stem cell research or anything, but bring up oatmeal in a public forum and you will surely see that there are strong opinions on either side. The folks who are for oatmeal believe it's wholesome and cheap and lowers your cholesterol. (Unless you don't have a television, you've probably heard this too.) The folks who are against it say it has the texture of glue, the taste of nothing, and the appearance of you-know-what.

I guess there are a few people in the middle. I have a friend who says she loves the idea of oatmeal. She wants to like oatmeal. She thinks it looks delicious. But the texture frightens her, and she can't bring herself to try it. Hers is a fantasy oatmeal experience.

I used to be one of those fence straddlers, until about six months ago, when I got the following recipe from Weight Watchers, of all places. It used to help me lose weight, which is why I'm telling you about it on Works For Me Wednesday. Now I love it so much I'm afraid I need to put it on the same list as homemade chocolate chip cookies and hummus with pita chips.

Now brace yourself -- the name may not be particularly persuasive. But I promise the taste will make you a believer. So here goes.


For one serving, mix 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup of quick oatmeal in a saucepan. Add salt (I THINK THIS IS WHERE MANY PEOPLE GO WRONG WITH OATMEAL, AND WHY THEY SAY IT'S TASTELESS.) For one serving, I'd add 1/4 teaspoon. Stir in vanilla to taste. I like LOTS of vanilla -- like maybe 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons for one serving.

Start cooking this according to the package directions, which means in a little over a minute, it will be done.

"But wait," you say. "What's custard about this?"

Geez ... keep your pants on!!! I'm getting there.

To make this custard oatmeal, beat one egg (or three egg whites if you avoid yolks) in a bowl until it's all mixed up. Then plop a few blobs of oatmeal into the egg, and mix it up well. That gets your eggs warm so they won't scramble. Then plop the egg-oatmeal stuff back into the pot, stir it until the egg seems cooked, and take it off the heat. This is when I sweeten it -- for me, about 1 1/3 packets of Splenda is plenty.

That's it. You're getting dessert for breakfast, and you can even call it healthy with a straight face. You may thank me now.

Of course, lilies can always be gilded, and my favorite improvement is banana. For one serving, cut up about a half a banana in slices and smush them up in the milk before you stir in the oatmeal. This takes incredibly delicious everyday custard oatmeal to new heights of nirvana-iciousness. (To me, it's even better if you save some of the banana custard oatmeal and chill it to eat mid-afternoon for a snack. I realize that may be taking the oatmeal thing a bit far for some of you though.)

If you want to make it healthier, you can put other fruit on top, or you could make it with old-fashioned oatmeal (you'd just have to cook it the five minutes like the directions say before you mix in the egg).

If you don't like this, there's no hope for you, oatmeal-wise. But I'm sure you have many other lovely qualities.


MommyTime said...

This sounds astonishingly good, and I'm having it for breakfast tomorrow. I have an apricot sauce (from Trader Joe's) that is divine that I like to stir into my oatmeal with a little drizzle of vanilla yogurt. That is hard to beat. But you might just have done it. mmm....

Jeni said...

This sounds delicious! What a great idea!

Heart of Wisdom said...

This sounds so good. I can't wait to try this.