Two words which I never expected to say in the same breath: Oatmeal Perfection. I’m really not a big fan of oatmeal. I eat it because I know it’s good for me, fiber and cholesterol-wise. It “sticks to your ribs” as the ads say, generally keeping a person full and comfortable until lunchtime rolls around. I don’t remember ever seeking out oatmeal because I just craved a bowl.
First off, it’s pasty – a texture that I don’t find very pleasing at all. I’m a cook-by-sight kind of person, rather than a strict measurer, so my results aren’t consistent either. Next there’s the problem that if you let it sit too long, it turns into something faintly resembling sticky concrete. Then you have to add not-too-much water (whatever that is) and microwave it just to be able to swallow it. It’s horrible once it cools off too much, and the spoon and bowl have to be washed right away or you might as well throw them out. Oatmeal is a high-maintenance food.
In most cases, oatmeal’s utilitarian qualities outrank the annoyances and it is generally my breakfast of choice at least half the days of the week. It’s transportable, so I can put it together at home and eat it once I get to work as easily as noshing a less-healthy breakfast sandwich bought at a fast food place. I don’t put milk on it, and putting butter on it seems to defeat the whole anti-cholesterol thing. The question for me became: How to make it more palatable.
I cook regular oatmeal in the microwave, and began adding dried fruit both to add some flavor and to absorb some of the soup that it makes when you cook it. That worked well, so now I have several choices of dried fruit mixes I can quickly add when I throw this potion together in the morning. For crunch, there are nuts or seeds or toasted coconut flakes. I realized that I may be on to something when I looked at my morning bowl and the first thing I thought was “Oatmeal Perfection.” High praise for a lackluster grain you have to work at eating.
If a person wants to reinforce a behavior, something that they have to work at doing, there needs to be a reward. Plain and simple, a reward that makes the effort and the experience worthwhile. Fruit and texture is that reward for my oatmeal program.
The day that you dial up the right temperature and consistency, where the fruits are soft and the nuts are crunchy….. that’s surely Oatmeal Perfection. I will admit however, that I still prefer my oatmeal in cookies.
(c) 2019, J. L. Cools