Once upon a time, I went to a restaurant with friends, and had Steel Cut Oatmeal. I thought it Mighty Tasty. So I went home and thought I would buy some. But it was crazy expensive. But then Laurel was at our grocery store's bulk-foods section and it was positively thrifty. So she bought some for me. But cooking it is not trivial, and so I had to learn some things, and I am passing what I've learned on to you. Please don't think I went to the library. What you read below, like today’s teenagers’ sex lives, is a result of knowledge gained from internet research and primarily solitary experimentation.
What are steel cut oats?
Before I answer that, do me a favor. Go to your backyard, harvest some oats, and gettem ready for oatmeal. If you rolled them out first, you made “Rolled Oats.” If you didn't, you made “Steel Cut Oats.” And Rolled Oats come in two varieties: “Instant” and “Regular.” You probably grew up with “Instant,” and your grandparents ate “Regular.”
So the Steel Cut ones, having had less processing, are more nutritious?
No. Some sites say there is a measurable difference, but no sites say it is significant, and most say there is no difference at all in their nutritional value.
What about Deliciousness?
This is a no brainer: Steel Cut is far better than rolled, and rolled is better than instant. Actually, technically, they all have the same flavor. But Oatmeal is also about consistency and aroma. Steel Cut is the winner here. Rolled is also good. Once you have tried them, you won't be wanting Instant again.
Okay, what about convenience?
This is the major issue. Let's start with Instant vs. (regular) Rolled. Both of them require you waiting to boil water. Instant requires you to add the boiling water to the oatmeal for 30 seconds to a minute. With Rolled you have to wait. You have to wait for... FIVE MINUTES! Yes! That's still pretty close to "instant!" We are not talking about a huge time savings when you go to instant. And instant is more expensive, usually comes with the powdered chemical flavorings, and annoying paper packets. Fear not the rolled oats in the cylindrical box - they will be done by the time you've started the coffee. Boil water, add oatmeal, wait five minutes, done.
Steel Cut Oatmeal, on the other hand, is a pain in the ass.
But what about the microw-
Don’t even. Seriously. Sucks. Makes your oatmeal into a gelatinous mucoid mass. No matter what kind. Don’t do it.
So how do YOU do Steel Cut Oatmeal?
I'm glad you asked that question; its answer was the inspiration for the article. What follows is a little different than anything I've found on the internet. Most internet recipies require you to get the amount of water just right, or you will burn it or make soup. The Doctor Shaw method is foolproof!
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