Much More Than Oatmeal

From Deborah Palmer of A Movable Feast.

This bowl of nourishing, sustaining food can give you respite from the cold and dark of winter mornings. It is the sum of its parts; any skimping on ingredients and it becomes a bowl of lower-case oatmeal that will stare you down and win.

Not so much recipe as method, it yields a sublime dish from simple ingredients. Many a fancy dish of more exotic ingredients cannot offer more enjoyment.

This is more than breakfast: it is meal to start you with a warm glow.


  • 1 cup large-flake oats (organic yields big, hearty, tasty flakes)
  • 2 to 2 ½ cups of just-to-the-boil water
  • a knob of unsalted butter (a knob is a relative measure that depends on diet choice, calorie intake in the last 24 hours, and who is doing the cooking)
  • salt to taste (another note about butter: unsalted or fresh butter is best as salted butter does not indicate the amount of salt it contains); a little sea salt will awaken the oatmeal
  • ½ cup heavy cream + ¼ cup more cream or whole milk as needed
  • 1 tsp single malt whiskey (my husband says a ‘splash’; see note for ‘knob’ of butter)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • nuts and berries (pecans or walnut pieces, dried cranberries, currants, raisins, etc.)


  1. The night before serving, place oats in a glass or heatproof bowl. Add 2 cups of water brought just to the boil. (Note: we are soaking the oats in this step, not cooking them.) Add the previously mentioned knob of butter, salt, nuts and berries. If the water is mostly absorbed by the time all the aforementioned ingredients are combined, add another ½ cup water. Let stand overnight.
  2. In the morning, spray a heavy saucepan with cooking oil and place on medium-low heat. Add the oat mixture and the cream. Cook for approximately 10 minutes while stirring, adding more cream or milk as needed. Taste-test for chewiness or softness to your preference.
  3. Transfer to bowls and stir in whiskey and maple syrup to taste. Dig in using a hefty spoon!

Serves 2 to 3 people depending on appetite.

You may now happily perform any winter activity from chopping wood to sitting by the fire!

Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under breakfast.