I admit it, I’m spoiled. When I’m at my fiance’s house overnight during the work week — I wake up to a bubbling mini-crock pot of steel cut oatmeal. He puts it on before he leaves for work, and by the time I get up — have a cup of joe — check some email or do some school work , it’s ready to dive into. He makes these super creamy pots of tasty goodness. I dribble in a touch of maple syrup, and a little pat of butter for creaminess. Then that’s that — breakfast is in my tummy. If have to leave the house early to make it to school (which is about an hour+ away) or to work/internship (if its during the summer months) I pack it away in a little plastic tub and eat it at my desk (maybe after a quick run in the microwave to make it piping hot).
So the first question I usually get when I eat at school or my desk is what is that — then some folks go on by asking what is the difference between regular oatmeal and steel cut oatmeal. In all honesty — I looked this up for the purpose of this blog. What I can say though is that I appreciate the thick rough texture of the steel cut oats over the more gloppy normal oatmeal.
According to the website BakingBites:
Steel cut oats, also known as Irish oats or pinhead oats, are whole oat groats that have been chopped into large pieces and make a minimally processed cereal with a good oat flavor and a hearty texture. They are different from regular oatmeal because of the way that the oats are processed. Most oatmeal is made by rolling the oats under heavy rollers until they are flat, then lightly steaming and toasting them. This process makes the oatmeal cook quickly and have a soft, tender texture to it. Steel cut oats resemble very small, coarse grains of rice. They have a coarser texture than rolled oats and the oatmeal has a chewier texture, as well as an even more pronounced oat flavor to it.
Further, here is an interesting article on Steel Cut vs Rolled Oats from MotherJones of all places that discusses the nutritional value and environmental impact of the two oat competitors: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/04/steel-cut-rolled-oats-oatmeal.
However — today I am not at the Farm. Today, I am at my other home. I live most of the time with my mom, and then the rest with the fiance. My plan is to be a one house woman by the end of the summer, but sometimes its just easier to crash at my moms. I get to make sure she’s doing okay. Make sure there is food in the house (usually not), and play with the Wonder Corgi. So up I am this AM before my board meeting, and I spied some Instant Steel Cut Oats. Hrm. I’m sure I bought it — if it’s in my moms house and it is remotely healthy and/or fresh then I probably bought it.
The brand is Country Cook Organics Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats. I really LOVE the Country Cook Organics Steel Cut Oats. That is what we eat at the Farm when I can find it, if not we go to the bulk bin at our local co-op for a few refill scoops. So I figured this would be good as well. You open the box and there are packets just like old-school instant oatmeal. You drop it in a deep dish with 3/4 cup of water, and then microwave it on 1/2 power for 2 minutes — stir, repeat, and then wait about a minute. Stirred in a bit of brown sugar and margarine (no real butter and maple syrup at me madres….sigh) and took a bite. [Nutrition Facts here — one serving plain is 4 weight watcher points)
So then you are left with the photo below — (if it looks a little yellow it’s because I photographed the dish over my sunny mustardy gold Isaac Mizrahi Coverlet ). So my verdict is that it just isn’t the same. By making it quick cooking — I get more of a normal gooey mushy oatmeal breakfast over that chewy, rough, thick texture that I have come to love waking up to. I’m not saying it’s a bad product — but I am saying for me it is not a substitute for the real thing. I’d rather just have regular oatmeal if I’m pressed for time.