Feeling one’s oats

Last week we talked about the stereotype that people with a limited diet are boring neophobes, and how wrong that view is. Unexpectedly, although my diet is now restricted, I’ve been experiencing it as a broadening of my food world, of learning new cuisines and cooking techniques. My ingredients are constrained, but not my imagination.

And you notice things. For example, I’ve started eating steel-cut oatmeal every morning. I think the John McCann oatmeal tin is a thing of beauty.


Note the “Certificate of Uniformity of Granulation” on the back, attested to by not one but three officials: men, bureaucrats yet, who literally felt their oats.


See the granules in question after the jump!


Zooming in and getting fractal with it. Imagine they’re something much larger: rocks.
Or smaller: microbes. Duuuuuuuuude.


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12 Responses to Feeling one’s oats

  1. Pingback: Improbable Research » Blog Archive » Certificate of granularity

  2. EA Week says:

    Oh, I’m so jealous, MC. My local grocery store used to carry steel-cut oats in the bulk buy section, but no more. Sob! Why? I simply love those things… takes a while to cook, but the flavor and texture can’t be beat, and they’re soooo filling. Alas, I live out in the boonies with no access to nifty whole food grocery stories that city folks enjoy. Sniffle.

    Good luck getting your gastric issues settled… an unhappy tummy is nobody’s friend.

  3. Carlie says:

    Oh, thank goodness I’m not the only one who has fallen under the spell of the McCann’s canister. There have been times I bought some not because I wanted the oats so much as I wanted the tin. :)

    Side note – once emptied and cleaned, they are great for packing odd-shaped presents in (canisters are easy to wrap), as long as you’re careful to remove all of the remnants of the top peel-off layer (they’re sharp!).

  4. WES says:

    EA- Amazon is your friend if you have one other thing to order it comes with free super saving shipping.


    I learned to check out Amazon when my sister needed soy nut butter, I used to buy a lot and take it with me when I went to visit because it was cheaper for me than for her. She found it on Amazon cheaper than I could get it and it had free super saver shipping.

    I keep meaning to try steel cut oats and maybe I will now.

  5. MelissaJane says:

    Trader Joe’s also sells steel cut oats, although I believe they lack a Certificate of Granulation, so buy at your own risk of inferior granulation.

    We are huge oatmeal fans here. I started my kids on something we call porridge, which I mention here in case you find any part of it useful for your current situation. I make oatmeal, either rolled or steel cut, with a cinnamon stick and a clove or two; add raisins, chopped dried apricots, dried cranberries, etc (letting them cook with the oatmeal for five minutes or so reconstitutes them and makes them extra soft and yummy); and then, when it’s done, mix in soft or silken tofu to up the protein content and homemade applesauce to sweeten and flavor it. With the protein boost, it’s kind of a superfood. A few drops of maple syrup and milk or cream turn it into heaven in a bowl, but are unnecessary.

  6. MelissaJane says:

    Oh, and another thing – oatmeal freezes beautifully. So if you find it annoying to wait a half hour for steel cut oats to cook every morning, you can make a large batch and freeze it in appropriate portions. (It also keeps very well in the refrigerator, a week or so, and reheats in the microwave like a champ.)

    I’m sorry, I will stop now. Apparently I cannot shut up with oatmeal advice.

  7. Dmajor says:

    And when empty, the tins can be refilled from less expensive boxes of the same brand of oats, or could be filled with Oatmeal Cookies and Given To Fiends.

  8. Dmajor says:

    Or even FRIENDS. (The keyboard on my laptop is getting old and cranky, and the R is getting reluctant.)

    But, you know, probably FIENDS would like oatmeal cookies as much as anybody else, wouldn’t they?

  9. BlondMaggie says:

    I so love the idea of giving cookies to fiends, that I may seek out a fiend, just to cookie him. Or her. Is it possible that Dick Cheney is so grumpy because he didn’t get enough cookies?

    My favorite way to do steel cut oats is in a small crock pot, set up before I go walking the dogs. Oats, water, a dash of salt, some dried blueberries, set on high. An hour later, I’m back, I’m hungry, and the porridge is perfect.

  10. Ajay says:

    Steel cut love: 1/4 to 1/3 cup oats plus 1 cup cider. Soak overnight in 4-cup glass measuring cup in fridge. (You can use a bowl,just make sure it’s big enough so oats don’t boil over). Microwave on high for 8 minutes Stir and microwave for 3-5 minutes more. Add a dollop of vanilla yogurt, sprinkle on cinnamon, swoon.

  11. Chris Hunt says:

    What I like is the idea that they had a whole department of bureaucrats whose job it was to assess the granularity of oatmeal. Who says big government is a new thing?

  12. Carlie says:

    And when empty, the tins can be refilled from less expensive boxes of the same brand of oats,

    I had bad luck when I tried to do that. I even used a box of McCann’s, but the boxed oats tasted terrible. I haven’t dared to try since, although I know it was probably just an anomalous bad batch.

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