Since I first wrote about the subject back in 2002, I have been having a difficult time with my breakfast. Here’s the situation:
a) I really like to eat hot cereal in the morning. Steel-cut oats are my favorite. Mmm, fiber.
b) Steel-cut oats take a minimum of forty-five minutes to make. I am not getting up an hour early to make cereal, my friends. I wake up really early anyway just to lurch into the shower and remember to put on pants before I run for the bus and the only way I am getting up any earlier is if there is a live crocodile physically in my bed.
c) But! I really like steel-cut oats for breakfast! I mean, really a whole lot I like them! Some people like crack cocaine or Garbage Pail Kids or four thousand threadcount sheets, I like steel cut oats. In the morning. For breakfast.
d) But…forty-five minutes! Minimum!
And so it goes, and so it goes.
So three years ago I tried making steel-cut oats in a very tiny crockpot, which very emphatically did not work, and then I moved and dropped the crockpot as I was packing up my kitchen so that was the end of that. I tried Luna Bars. I tried whole-wheat English muffins with peanut butter. I tried FAGE Total 0% yogurt with honey, and you know how much I love FAGE Total 0% yogurt with honey, but even FAGE Total 0% yogurt with honey does not satisfy when consumed for breakfast alone. (When consumed along with something else, say, steel-cut oats, though, hoo doggies. Heaven.).
So there I was, looking longingly at those tins of McCann’s whenever I was at the store and wondering desperately how to make mine a steel-cut oat-friendly life. I had pretty much given up completely when, lo, one day I was at Trader Joe’s and BLAM! The sky opened up, the angels started singing, and my mouth started watering as I beheld in front of me McCann’s Quick And Easy Steel Cut Oats, the answer to all my breakfast prayers.
They are quick, easy, and steel-cut. They are delicious. I don’t know what kind of pact with the devil they’ve made over there in Ireland to make these quick-easy-and-delicious steel-cut oats for my breakfast enjoyment, because I checked the label and there is one ingredient, just like on the nice round tin: oats, steel-cut formation. How do they do it? Why do they do it? Is it just out of love for their oatmeal-eating customers, or does it serve a higher purpose, brining oaty goodness to the masses who can’t get up any earlier than they do on weekday morning? Can it be a mission of goodwill? Probably I will never know, but I know I am forever grateful for this amazing invention. Quick and Easy! Steel-cut oats!
I chuntered along for several months, buying several boxes of Quick And Easy Steel Cut Oats at a time…because I have been burned by Trader Joe’s before, I don’t mind telling you…the incident with the fabulous Mexican hot chocolate mix still burns in my memory…and I knew that as soon as I love a product, Trader Joe’s takes it as a sign to immediately stop carrying it. I haven’t breathed a word about my devotion to FAGE Total 0% yogurt because if they cut that, then it’s over for me. (Although my buying four or five containers a week may have tipped them off by now. It’s not for me, Trader Joe’s! It’s for a friend!). I had noticed that the Quick And Easy Steel Cut Oats supply was getting a little spotty, and I stockpiled accordingly and poured like three boxes’ worth into a big Mason jar at home, measuring it out carefully in anticipation of the day, which I knew was coming, when they no longer carried Quick And Easy Steel Cut Oats.
And come it did, that terrible day. I made a tiny fuss about it when I realized that my oatmeal…which I’d begun referring to as “my special kind of oatmeal,” because Quick And Easy Steel Cut Oats is just too long to say, causing my housemate John to roll his eyes pretty hard and assert his opinion that there is nothing special about oatmeal…was gone from the shelves forever. I checked at the Queen Anne and Capitol Hill Trader Joe’s: nothing. I checked at multiple other hippie/yuppie grocery stores around Seattle: nothing. I bought a box of something I thought was steel-cut but ended up just being regular rolled oats. I had a loooooong conversation…actually, several looooong conversations…about my special kind of oatmeal at Trader Joe’s, explaining what it was, asking why it wasn’t being carried anymore, wondering gently when it might be carried again. I actually tried to put some oatmeal on hold at Trader Joe’s (the U-District one, for those of you following along at home) and I went to the store special to pick it up, and those turned out to be just regular rolled oats too. I was pretty despondent about the whole thing but I didn’t see any other alternative to my oatmeal problems than to just wave goodbye to the idea of quick and easy steel cut oats (with golden raisins and cinnamon) every morning for the rest of my life. I tried out some sort of multigrain something and it was, you know, fine, I guess. Sigh.
At one point I’d actually emailed McCann’s with a desperate plea to tell me where the hell I could get my special kind of oatmeal. I was down to about one serving left in my big Mason jar. “I NEED THIS OATMEAL, DUDE,” I wrote, trying to make my consternation clear. About a month ago I finally got a very chilly and annoyed response, telling me I could get fine McCann’s products at any local Albertson’s (lie, I checked) or Whole Foods (\\also\\ a lie because I totally checked)…but also online!, which I initially thought was a lie too because I’d googled for it many times but never found anything. But no! It’s true! You can get Quick And Easy Steel Cut Oats delivered directly to your house thanks to the magic of the internet!
You best believe I placed my order with a quickness not seen since I bought my first octopus shirt. There was a minimum purchase requirement so I ended up buying eight boxes of oatmeal online. You would have done it too.
I did give one box to a friend, but the rest are all for me, for the foreseeable future.
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