OATMEAL SCHMOATMEAL


oatmeal2
Oh I know you expect me to launch into a glowing account on the virtues of a bowl of hot oatmeal. Well, forget it. I hate oatmeal.

You can tell me how life-enhancing oatmeal is, and how warm and satisfied it keeps you until it’s time for the lunch hour hamburger fix. Acclaim its time-tested qualities, and how your grandmother dolled it up with brown sugar, raisins or bananas, and how it reminds you of being young and carefree again.

Well, I’m not convinced. I still don’t like it.

Dr. Advice loves oatmeal. He loads it up with bananas, prunes, raisins and brown sugar. I’m sure it is all the fruit which makes him think it is so good. Or maybe it is because it is one of the few things he has mastered as a culinary novice. What’s wrong with bacon and eggs?

A long time ago, before I became a charter member of Oatmeal Haters of America, I touted the appeal of Scottish oats to my friend Corrine. They come in a nice time box you can use for storing something else after you enjoy the oats, and besides they take up far less room than the large boxes of flakes. I even bought her a can as an introductory present as a dinner guest, and took it as a gift instead of the same old bottle of wine.

She returned them the next day unconvinced and told me she still hated it.

In addition to the taste and texture, the cleanup is gummy and if it happens to boil over, forget it. They were passing out free samples of the stuff at a local grocery store recently, so I bought some thinking perhaps it had improved over time.

It had not. It still tastes like wallpaper paste. I’ll take a “proper English breakfast” consisting of eggs, bacon or ham, hashed brown potatoes, and a nice hot cup of tea thank you.

POTATOES AND POINT


How much thought or credit do we give the humble potato? Boiled, baked, fried, mashed, scalloped, put into a salad or pancake, it remains true to itself, satisfying hunger throughout the world.
Nearly every country on earth pays tribute to the potato each day. Before the advent of “healthy eating”, most dinner plates contained the requisite meat, potatoes and gravy.

A Norwegian friend uses an apocryphal story to illustrate how poor they were. Each child was given one potato, and told to point to the light fixture above where a herring was hanging. Thus the meal of “potatoes and point was born”.

The Potato Famine caused the migration of a million Irish during the 1840’s. This sculpture of Annie Moore and her brother stands at the quayside in Cove, Ireland. She was the first Irish girl to go through Ellis Island.

We have mashed potato clouds, Mr. Potato Head, even Marilyn Monroe once posed in a potato sack which didn’t do her any harm, and Dan Quayle didn’t know how to spell potato when he was Vice-President.
The potato farmers moved away from Long Island, New York in the 1940’s due to the same fungus that blighted Ireland’s potato crop a century earlier.

Willian Levitt and other developers like him moved in and built Levittown, one of the first planned neighborhoods of copycat homes, and the American suburb was born on a bed of forgotten potatoes.
Today every market, super or Farmer’s, bursts with tuberous exuberance, red, white, yellow, sweet and even blue.

POTATO PANCAKES

2 cups grated potato
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 large eggs
2 Tbs. potato starch or flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup minced scallions

Fry in about 3 Tbs. vegetable oil till nicely browned. Dr. Advice likes applesauce alongside his. A dollop of sour Cream is nice too

I sometimes put all the ingredients except the scallions into the processor about 30 seconds . The texture will be grainy. The pancakes will be quite thin (called criques). Cool on a rack. They can be reheated to crisp up.