Saturday, August 30, 2008

Let's Talk Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an everyday staple in my home, we eat a lot of it! It seems when you mention this hot cereal to people they either smile and say "I love oatmeal." or they crinkle their nose and exclaim that they can't stand the stuff. I used to feel that way too, until a trip to Puerto Rico changed my mind. While staying at a hotel in Old San Juan I decided to be brave and try oatmeal. Pa was eating a bowl and encouraged me to try it, and after a few moments of protest I relented. That was to be an eye opening experience for me. I had always disliked oatmeal with a passion, but for no particular reason except that it was always too thick and gloopy. I always wanted to like oatmeal and I gave it many attempts, always to find my throat closing as I tried to swallow the mushy and gluey lump. After enjoying a three day breakfast delight of oatmeal I decided I had to have the recipe, so I went up to the chef behind the counter and praised his oatmeal and asked in typical bold North American style, if I could have the recipe. He looked at me rather curiously and shook his head. I began to worry that perhaps in Puerto Rico it was not proper to ask for recipes, like at home. It was as his assistant walked over, wiping his hands on his apron and smiling that I began to realize, the chef didn't speak English. To my relief and joy, the assistant chef played translator and I got my oatmeal recipe. I discovered what secret ingredient made all the difference, it was boiled milk! So, here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.

 Old San Juan Sheraton Oatmeal
 Makes 4 servings

3 1/2 cups milk
2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Bring milk and salt to boil over medium heat, stir to avoid scalding.
When milk just begins to boil add vanilla, cinnamon and oats, stir well.
Turn burner to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve.
Oatmeal will be slightly creamy, but will thicken upon sitting.
Top with butter, raisins and brown sugar.


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