Frozen Blueberries, Part II

A few posts ago I promised to talk about my weekend breakfast habits.  As I mentioned, on weekdays I am a devotee of Cheerios with frozen blueberries (go read the first Frozen Blueberries post for a discussion about why I prefer frozen to fresh) with 2% milk.  On weekends, I take a little extra time to enjoy … oatmeal.  With brown sugar, 2% milk, diced walnuts and the aforementioned frozen blueberries.  My six-year-old often joins me, and occasionally so does my lovely wife.

I probably wouldn’t enjoy oatmeal nearly so much if I ate it every day, but as a weekend “treat,” it’s, well, a treat.  Now, I’m not talking about some cardboard-textured instant microwaved just-add-water soupy paste, I’m talking about the good stuff.  At least I consider it the good stuff.

I’ve tried several over the past few months, and here, just for you, are my reviews.  My rating system is as follows:  I rate on a sliding combined scale including texture, flavor and ease-of-preparation.  I cook them all on the stove-top using filtered water and exactly according to the instructions that come on the side of the box in question.  Having tried preparing several in the microwave, again, according to instructions, there’s no comparison to stove-top.  I’ve listed them below, worst-to-first:


Publix Old Fashioned Oats:  Better than instant.  That’s the best I can say for it.  I tried it more than once, because we had a whole container of it.  I’m not sure if it was more like cardboard or more like glue.  And it was kinda hard to get to the right consistency.  Fail, on all counts.

McCann’s Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal:  Is this really oatmeal?  Not by my southern-suburban American standards.  I’m sure it’s quite healthy, and has plenty of character, but it’s doesn’t have, you know, flakes of oats, the way the oatmeal I like does.  It tastes good, but the texture has more to do with cream of wheat – in my opinion – than oatmeal.  The consistency was hard to get past soupy and it took longer to cook off the excess water than most brands.  I can’t say “fail,” but I CAN say I didn’t particularly enjoy it.

Bob’s Red Mill Thick Rolled Oats:  They are thick.  And the consistency is right through my strike-zone.  Honest instructions that say to cook it for “10 to 20 minutes.”  Because, clearly, they know what others are reticent to admit:  cooking times for everything depend on lots of stuff they can’t predict on the side of the box/bag.  I appreciate that.  But the flavor?  Flat.  A little strange.  Not flavorless, just … flat.  Subsequent testings went better with extra brown sugar.  I’m not proud of that.

Old Fashioned Quaker Oats:  Yeah, the kind you grew up with.  That old dude stared down at me from the cabinet throughout my youth.  But the ol’ boy can flat-out make some tasty oatmeal.  The instructions yield a finished product with good, consistently chewy and substantial, lightly-flavored oats that provide a solid base for the extra stuff I add to it.  I like it quite a bit.

My favorite, and my reigning champ, even though the Publix doesn’t sell it is The Silver Palate Thick and Rough Oatmeal:  The total package.  Clear instructions that didn’t require modification, oat-y flavor (that required less other stuff to really enjoy), great consistency (it really is thick and rough, which I apparently enjoy in my oatmeal).  Soaks up the milk nicely, complements the berries, the nuts and the brown sugar instead of leaning on them.  Highly recommended.

So there you go.  Buy the Silver Palate stuff if you can find it.  If not, that kindly old Quaker sells a fine product.  I should add that the nutritional value of all the oats mentioned here is essentially the same.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Amy on June 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I (and now Adam) bring a baggie of oatmeal to work every day. Half a cup instant oats, walnuts, a spoonful of brown sugar and raisins or whatever dried fruit one of us has chosen for our breakfasts for two-week spurts. We re-use the baggies for weeks on end, so it’s cheap in all ways, and it means there’s no chance of skipping breakfast just because we got out of bed earlier. And it’s also good as a mid-morning snack. Breakfast cereal won’t keep me full til lunch, especially if I eat it PRIOR to the commute. But oatmeal…man, now I couldn’t live without it.

    …Although I just realized that if you’re also feeding three girls in the morning, it’s unlikely you’d be a position to skip breakfast anyway…

    –Childless

    Reply

  2. […]  Frozen Blueberries, Part II  Oatmeal ratings.  Just another service I […]

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