Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Great Oatmeal Wars

I never knew there was an incorrect way to make oatmeal until I got married.

Whenever we make oatmeal for the girls, we always have to specify: Mom Style or Dad Style. I like mine made the Only True And Correct Way, which is to take the instant maple-brown-sugar oatmeal packet (pay no attention to the store displays – there are no other kinds), pour it into the bowl and add just enough water to keep it together. That way it retains its texture. I like my oatmeal al dente. Kim, on the other hand, regards this as little better than “a damp granola bar” and prefers to add vast quantities of water and then microwave it until it forms a soupy substance that I consider to be gruel, especially after she dumps milk onto it.

Spackle! says Kim about my oatmeal.

Oatmeal is not meant to be consumed through a straw! I counter.

The problem is that the Authorized Text, as printed on the side of the Quaker Oats box, supports both the Only True and Correct Way and the Clearly Abominable Way. This makes it difficult to persecute oatmeal heretics, though not impossible. Nothing is impossible for the true believer fired by righteous zeal.

The girls go back and forth in this debate. They were first introduced to oatmeal Dad Style, since I was the one making it and, well, that’s how it was done. Kim took pains to enlighten me that I was misinformed on that point, however, and for a while they did switch back to Mom Style oatmeal. While the oatmeal gods were clearly unhappy with this, it did have the advantage of getting milk into the girls along with the oats and the maple and, not least, the brown sugar. But now that they can make it themselves, they have switched back to Dad Style. It’s easier, and one should never underestimate the importance of “ease of use” when dealing with fundamental matters of principle. Both of them can reach the electric kettle to get the hot water, and both know where the bowls and maple-brown-sugar oatmeal packets are kept. They’re not hard to find. We buy our oatmeal by the pallet now.

Oh, eventually the bards will sing of the Great Oatmeal Wars, and there will be celebrations, and memorials, and testimonials, and commemorative chess sets, and mugs, and specially printed decks of cards with little Quakers where now there are kings, but until that day the struggle must continue against those with an inadequate grasp of oatmeal mechanics. And when that final day of glory comes and the Only True And Correct Way reigns triumphant, then may we move on to other, similarly important struggles, such as determining whose bellies have stars upon thars.


KimK said...

The Clearly Abominables heave stones at your damp granola spackle. And this will cause cities to rise upon it. And, in that manner, the Clearly Abominables shall tread upon you.

Lori K said...

You haven't even touched upon the most important oatmeal debate: Steel cut (authentic, flavorful, sublime) vs. instant (will do in a pinch but fake).