Patterico's Pontifications

4/11/2020

How to Make the Best Oatmeal You’ve Ever Had

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:24 am



I’m going to take you step by step through the process of making the best bowl of oatmeal you’ve ever eaten. I just ate one and man, was it good. Honestly, there’s nothing revolutionary here, but it’s made my life better and so I want to share it with you.

First, let me share my perspective with you: I like oatmeal plain. I don’t put anything on it. No sugar, no fruit, no nothing. I don’t know if they still sell Grape Nuts, but I used to eat those plain with just milk as well. (Another thing that is better without anything added is peanut butter, by the way. I used to think I hated peanut butter, because it would induce a gag reflex, and then I learned about natural peanut butter without salt or sugar added. Turns out that stuff is great. But I digress.)

The key to the whole thing is Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Almond Beverage, and steel cut oats. (Don’t be thrown by the “beverage” name; they likely call it “almond beverage” instead of “almond milk” to avoid lawsuits from dairy producers, like this one.) Another brand of almond milk could work, I guess, but a) it has to be unsweetened, and b) I really like the vanilla flavor they add to this mil–to this beverage. I think it adds 90% of the value to the end product. So I really recommend trying it. The steel cut oats are key to texture; if you want a bowl of mush, heat up your instant oatmeal and skip this post.

So here’s the blow by blow. You take a giant saucepan and fill it with three cups of water and three cups of the unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Add two pinches of kosher salt. Don’t skip this part. (It adds to the flavor and as long as it’s just a couple of small pinches it does not make the final result salty.) Bring it to a boil and add two cups of steel cut oats. At this point I reduce the heat to medium while keeping everything on a strong boil, stirring quite a bit for five minutes. Then you can reduce heat to low and simmer for about another thirty minutes. You’ll have to stay on hand and give everything a good stir every few minutes.

That’s pretty much it, but now you have eight servings, roughly. What do you do? Roughly divide it into eight equal parts — I find that about 1/2 cup of tightly packed oatmeal, not heaping but rounded, is about an eighth of the whole. You’re going to eat one serving now — maybe two, to reward yourself. Then pack up the rest, ideally in seven (or six, if you ate two servings today) separate containers. This is your breakfast for the next week. It’s breakfast time? You grab your individual container of oatmeal heaven and reheat.

Now: the reheating. On Day Two, you dump your brick of oatmeal into a bowl. Give it a splash of the beverage (or half and half if you like) and heat in the microwave for thirty seconds. Take your spoon and chop up the brick and fluff it up some. Then give it another splash or two of your beverage and nuke it for another minute and a half to minute and 45 seconds. You’ll find the sweet spot for amount of splash and nuking time after a few tries. Stir and fluff and you’re done.

The result? An incredibly aromatic blend of vanilla/almond flavored oatmeal that has a slightly chewy texture. To me, it’s hearty, and very satisfying.

I will warn you: to my family, who see oatmeal as a blank canvas for their fruits and sugars and whatnot, the process described above is not worth the trouble. They don’t see what the big deal is. To me, a pure oatmeal lover, it’s the best oatmeal I have ever had.

If you try it, let me know how it turned out.

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:45 am



[guest post by Dana]

Are you, like me, starting to lose track of the days, and even the time? I forget how long we’ve been on stay-at-home orders. Some days it feels like forever, then, on other days, it feels like something new… The possibility of a loved one becoming ill seems an ever-present concern lingering at the edges of daily life. Enough to be distracting, yet not enough to qualify as worry. I think that’s striking a reasonable balance during such an unreasonable season.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

First news item

God does *not* need us to assemble to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Fools, everyone one of them:

[A] Louisiana pastor says his church near Baton Rouge is expecting a crowd of 2,000 or more despite federal coronavirus guidance advising social distancing.

“Satan and a virus will not stop us,” Rev. Tony Spell told Reuters. “God will shield us from all harm and sickness. We are not afraid. We are called by God to stand against the Antichrist creeping into America’s borders. We will spread the Gospel.”

Second news item

Q: What authority do you have to re-open the states? TRUMP: “I have great authority…absolute authority…

Third news item

A matter of competing interests:

The United States was on track on Saturday to surpass Italy in the total number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus, reaching its deadliest day on Friday with 2,057 deaths.

Already the pandemic has killed more than 18,000 Americans and put more than 16 million out of work, forcing President Trump into the difficult choice of reopening the country as the country reels economically from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m going to have to make a decision, and I only hope to God that it’s the right decision,” Mr. Trump said on Friday in his daily news briefing on the coronavirus. The country’s death toll, which has more than doubled over the past week, is now increasing by nearly 2,000 most days. The previous high in the United States was 1,997 on April 7. As of Saturday morning, Italy had reported 18,849 deaths.

As Mr. Trump grapples simultaneously with the most devastating public health and economic crises of a lifetime, he finds himself pulled in opposite directions. Bankers, corporate executives and industrialists are pleading with him to reopen the country as soon as possible, while medical experts beg for more time to curb the coronavirus.

Fourth news item

Big ask:

U.S. governors are urging Congress to give states $500 billion in “stabilization funding” to meet budget shortfalls resulting from their efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Maryland’s Larry Hogan and New York’s Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Saturday that the state-at-home orders… hurt states’ economies…

“To stabilize state budgets and to make sure states have the resources to battle the virus and provide the services the American people rely on, Congress must provide immediate fiscal assistance directly to all states,” the pair said.

Hogan and Cuomo said Congress should appropriate an additional $500 billion for all states and territories.

Fifth news item

Good government begins with self-government. Read the whole thing:

I want to know: What definition of “greatness” are they working from that arouses their ire? What, precisely, is the contradiction they are implying but not articulating? What standard of greatness are we falling short of?

What bothers me about the assumption here—echoed all over the place—is that the measure of a nation’s greatness resides in its technocratic expertise and its ability to centrally plan the provision of material stuff for citizens. For more than 20 years now, I’ve been peeing from a great height—ironically often from my basement office—on virtually all of the ideas embedded in this assumption. Tom Friedman’s envy of China’s authoritarianism, the progressive fixation on planning, positive liberty, the knowledge problem, etc. But I won’t descend down those rabbit holes here.

Again, I’d like a competent government as much as the next guy—if the next guy wants it a lot. But competent government is really a small part of what my understanding of greatness includes. And my definition of what a competent government looks like is very different than that of people who grow tumescent at the idea of America being “China for a day.”

..,

American greatness is all over the place right now. The people doing small acts of kindness, the people making masks and sending meals for health care workers, the people voluntarily staying put when staying put has enormous consequences, the countless corporations and universities dropping everything to work on ventilators, masks, vaccines, tests, etc., and the countless charity groups and voluntary associations leaping into the fray: These are examples of American greatness.

Sixth news item

Showboaters, consider yourselves warned:

FYI: Andrea Bocelli will be performing an Easter concert live from Duomo Cathedral in Milan. You can watch the live streaming of it here.

Keep each other in your good thoughts and prayers. And for those of the faith: He is Risen, indeed!

–Dana


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