Real oatmeal contains no ingredients; rather, it is an ingredient. As such, it’s a promising lifesaver: oats are easy to grow in almost any non-extreme climate and, minimally processed, they’re profoundly nourishing, inexpensive and ridiculously easy to cook.
~ all quotes from Mark Bittman, How To Make Oatmeal … Wrong
EXACTLY. Oatmeal is easy, cheap, and nutritious. It’s hard to make it wrong – you almost have to do it on purpose. And apparently, that was exactly what McDonald’s set out to do.
…in typical McDonald’s fashion, the company is doing everything it can to turn oatmeal into yet another bad choice. (Not only that, they’ve made it more expensive than a double-cheeseburger: $2.38 per serving in New York.) “Cream” (which contains seven ingredients, two of them actual dairy) is automatically added; brown sugar is ostensibly optional, but it’s also added routinely unless a customer specifically requests otherwise. There are also diced apples, dried cranberries and raisins, the least processed of the ingredients (even the oatmeal contains seven ingredients, including “natural flavor”).
Seriously? How can oatmeal contain seven ingredients – before you add the “cream,” sweetener, and dried fruit? Oatmeal is… oats. And water. And maybe (because it’s totally optional) a pinch of salt. What “natural flavor” needs to be added to oatmeal? Doesn’t it taste like oats already? (We couldn’t even hold back the laugh when we typed that.)
Others will argue that the McDonald’s version is more “convenient.” This is nonsense; in the time it takes to go into a McDonald’s, stand in line, order, wait, pay and leave, you could make oatmeal for four while taking your vitamins, brushing your teeth and half-unloading the dishwasher. (If you’re too busy to eat it before you leave the house, you could throw it in a container and microwave it at work….
If you don’t want to bother with the stove at all, you could put some rolled oats (instant not necessary) in a glass or bowl, along with a teeny pinch of salt, sugar or maple syrup or honey, maybe some dried fruit. Add milk and let stand for a minute (or 10). Eat. Eat while you’re walking around getting dressed. And then talk to me about convenience.
Thank you, Mark Bittman. There’s nothing inconvenient about making your own oatmeal. If you like to cook over a stove, you can even make a big pot on a day you have the extra 10 minutes, and keep it in the fridge all week. Scoop out a serving, add some liquid (we like soy milk for this, but water or any plant milk, or even apple juice works), and warm it quickly on the stove. You know, while you half-unload that dishwasher (we’re glad he said that, because that’s exactly how we use our time).
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