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.


CHEESE SOUFFLE Do you know someone who does everything perfectly, and do you still like them? Seriously, sometimes the perfect people like to assure you of their superior perfectness. But not my friend Maryanne.

Maryanne is a dignified English woman, living single in a charming little condo which she has equipped with every imaginable convenience, making her fortunate guests eager for the next invitation. Along with our mutual friend, another single woman of an interesting age, after I meet up with them I feel buzzed. People like that, with interests ranging from politics to cooking and in between, are a like a jolt of caffeine putting your brain in gear for days afterward.

Maryanne is famous for her cheese souffles, as well as turning out a remarkable roast chicken. I know, in these days of Costco rotisserie chicken, why would anyone actually go to the trouble? Believe me, it’s worth it, and it really isn’t any trouble. Not to say yours or mine might turn out as well as hers.

At a luncheon the other day, she presented us with a perfect cheese souffle, and if I hadn’t seen the dessert brought by my other friend I might have begged seconds. I know you are probably asking what I contributed to the repast. I blushingly admit that I only brought a small hostess gift, but I am currently planning what I will tender next time we meet.

You may remember the sad obituary of my 45 year old stove in a previous post necessitating the purchase of a new, modern, electronic, and also very beautiful, new one. The evening of the cheese souffle I decided to surprise the nice Dr. with a cheese souffle of my own. Now, I have to remind you that I have been cooking for many years, (too many to count) and have served up quite a few souffles, including chocolate, which is my favorite.

Having mixed up the ridiculously few ingredients, and scraping them into my very English souffle bowl, I placed it into the new oven, which had never been used by me or anyone else. I had actually only made oatmeal and warmed up some soup on the top of the stove. I got the “Bake, temperature” thing right on the shiny new dial, but when it came to setting the timer, I must have been stymied, because 45 minutes later, it looked the same as it did when it went in.

Dr. Advice being such an accomodating soul, opened up a can of beans and called it dinner. I think I may have the timer figured out now.