From My Father’s Kitchen: Oatmeal Obsession
MEATY MEALS FOR DAD: Mustardy Turkey Meatloaf; Five Spice Brisket; Parpadelle with Lamb Bolognese; Penne Gratin with Sausage, Fennel and Mushrooms; Broiled Flank Steak with Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Chive-Parsley Butter
Oftentimes, the grill is still considered a man’s domain. My friend Keith even went so far as to say (perhaps obnoxiously) that if a girl grilled for him on a date, it would make him uncomfortable. As Father’s Day approaches, the web has been saturated with man food—not just stuff to throw on the grill, but also bacon hash for breakfast, Brisket Sandwiches for dinner, and the like.
But beyond seafood, and beyond the white carbs that have been our joint indulgence for years, my dad’s eating habits, manly or not, are defined by oatmeal. Pretty much the only time he will pick up a pan (with intention to use, not clean it) is in the morning, when it’s time for his daily bowl of rolled oats. Since I’m hard-pressed to find an interesting recipe for such a humble breakfast, especially close to Father’s Day, I decided to ask the man himself for the secrets to his extraordinary oatmeal-making skill.
Full disclosure: as of last week, I moved back to my parents’ apartment for the summer and have begun subletting my room to my friend Alix. It’s a strange adjustment after two years of living with Caitlyn, and if the state of my childhood bedroom (with piles of clothes lining the floor) is any indication, I am still in denial about where my home currently is. But if I’m going to have to get used to sharing frying pans, remote controls, and daily routines with my parents, I might as well get used to eating my dad’s daily oatmeal, if he happens to be in the mood to share that too.
Tuesday morning, I watched my dad carefully measure out his oats and water, slice up some fruit, and pull the whole magical health nut breakfast of champions together in less than ten minutes. Tomorrow night, I think I’ll stick to more traditional Father’s Day fare, if not from the manly arsenal of grilled meats, than at least from the category of dinner (I’ll probably make Linguine with Littlenecks, Tomatoes, and Corn or Lightly Fried Tilapia with Caper Brown Butter with Squash Chips with Basil and Balsamic Drizzle). But when the next special day arises, I’ll know just how to surprise my dad with his favorite breakfast, even if he would probably make it better himself.
From my kitchen, wishing Puff Daddy J a happy day, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
“City” Oatmeal with Blueberries and Dried Cherries
Makes 1-2 servings (depending on how manly you are)
The secret to this oatmeal is the brand of grains my dad likes to use–Old Wessex All Natural 5 Grain Cereal (if using a different brand, make sure to check the cooking instructions on the packaging as they might be slightly different). He likes to call this version his “city” oatmeal because you don’t need fresh ingredients to make it. His summer “Island” oatmeal uses fresh peaches and blueberries, while this one just requires frozen (which turns the oats a bluish color). But the true brilliance comes at the end of the cooking process, when he covers the pot with his bowl to warm it.
1/2 cup oats or grain mix
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons dried cherries
1 tablespoon brown sugar (to taste)
Greek yogurt (optional)
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Slowly stir in the oats. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the blueberries, cherries, and an additional 1/4 cup of water (this will make the cherries plump up). Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Turn off the heat, and cover the saucepan with the bottom of your bowl (see above). Let the oatmeal rest for a minute. Then scoop the cereal into your (warm!) bowl, and top with brown sugar and a spoonful of Greek yogurt (if using). Enjoy.