A couple of years ago, I attended a conference held at a 5-star hotel, downtown Vancouver. It was an early morning start so breakfast was provided buffet style. You can imagine the enticing display of cinnamon buns, croissants, fruits and yogurt. But the main draw was the oatmeal – looking amazingly expensive in its silver bowel with an ornate lid. By the time I arrived, people were already going back for seconds. How could oatmeal, known for its frugal nature, taste so good? It was the elegance of having raisins, sliced almonds, brown sugar and cream to go along with this home-style food.
The oatmeal was a reminder to me of those winter mornings when I lived in northern Manitoba many years ago. Breakfast had to be hot, filling and energizing. After all, we walked to school in -45 degree temperatures. Whether Fahrenheit or Celsius, the cold was bitter and relentless. Vancouver’s mild winters have made me soft. I shiver when the temperature reaches 10 degrees Celsius (without the minus in front of the number).
Regardless of the temperature difference, breakfasts of hot oatmeal fits in both locations. Using our faithful crock-pot, it doesn’t take long to come up with a 5-star breakfast. My recipe is simple: 1 cup of oatmeal, 3 – 4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You add the sophistication with raisins, cranberries, walnuts or almonds. The cost is pennies – the warmth priceless.
“You have to eat oatmeal or you’ll dry up. Anybody knows that.”
Kay Thompson (November 9, 1908 – July 2, 1998)