photo: State Library of New South Wales via Flickr

There doesn’t seem to be a single item that is generally accepted as a breakfast food that has not been tricked up in some way to resemble dessert. Commercial muffins today have as much sugar as cupcakes; pancakes are offered today with everything from chocolate chips to those fake dried blueberries in them made from high fructose corn syrup. The humble egg seems so far to be immune but only because they haven’t figured out how to sell the idea that they can make a fruit- or jam-enhanced omelet. Recently it came to my attention (because your dear Auntie hovers over food news like some sort of vulture) that Micky D’s, in its ever expanding efforts to appear to be providing food that has some nutritional benefit, is offering oatmeal on its menu. Well, obviously others find the combination of McDonald’s and oatmeal to be bordering on the “kosher bacon” example, and nutritionists and writers went at it with hammer and tongs (or fork and spoon as you prefer):

Here is the nutritional analysis of what is being offered at the restaurants. Please take note of the amount of sugar in a serving here: 31 grams of sugar (and 5 grams of protein). This is as much as a Snickers or Hershey’s chocolate bar. See nutritional info, Mickey D’s oatmeal.

The New York Times lit in with their opinion, noting basically how worthless this item is, at $2.38 a serving and pointing readers to the next site where the writer made up his OWN versions of packeted oatmeals, complete with dried genuine blueberries, etc. for what ended up being less than 30 cents per packet. Read more at NYTimes MD oatmeal.

Here, check out this: Cost Analysis – Make Your Own Packet Oatmeal

Now, Aunt Toby loves oatmeal. I can rationalize eating oatmeal in any form, at any time, whether it’s oatmeal cookies (with or without dried fruit, nuts, and/or chocolate chips), meatloaf, oat bread, or plain ol’ oatmeal. All by itself, oatmeal is in the ‘damn good’ range of nutritional items. All by itself, just made up with plain old water, it has 1 gram of sugar, 8 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein. That’s without the addition of anything with protein in it. Once you throw on a little milk, yoghurt, soy milk, nuts, etc. the protein content just soars. And ONE GRAM OF SUGAR. ONE GRAM. UNO. ONE MORE THAN ZERO! Not 31, not 15, not 10. 1. Even if you threw on a teaspoon of sugar, that would only add 4.5 grams of sugar to the bowl of oatmeal. Hello? That’s a total now of between 5 and 6 grams of sugar. Not 31. Here’s the nutrition info on regular oatmeal.

I think everyone who reads me on a regular basis gets the impression that I am NOT a fan of America’s food processors. Nothing could be closer to the truth; it certainly seems to me that there are people in those businesses who are hell bent on poisoning and killing off everyone they can lay their hands on. And I especially resent the ‘pop-tartization’ of breakfast food which should literally be the plainest and more nutritious stuff we give our families on a daily basis. “Oh,” they say, “American families demand convenience.”

OK, bud. I’ll give you convenience.  . . .

Oatmeal, Aunt Toby’s way (feeds 3):
Requires:
Oatmeal (the thicker cut the better but the old fashioned rolled oats will do; no one needs to go to Ireland for their oatmeal)
Sauce pan with tightly fitting lid

Directions:
Put one cup of oatmeal in the pan.
Put two cups of water in the pan.
Put on stove and bring to a boil – this takes all of 5 minutes on my stove.
Put on lid. Turn off the heat.
Leave five minutes.
Serve with whatever you like.

OK, so what’s so inconvenient about THAT? What can you do with that five minutes?

Fix your hair.

Fix a sandwich for your kid to take to school with a piece of fruit and some cut up carrots.

Make sure your kid is wearing their coat and boots AND has their boots and sneaks for school. If this is being done at the last minute white the kids are screaming, “The bus is coming!!!”, throw the kiddies’ oatmeal into some sort of container with some nuts, cinnamon, sugar (if they absolutely require it), a splash of milk or some a tsp of dried milk). Put that into their packs with a spoon and a paper napkin and send them off. They can eat this (and my kids did many times) on the bus. A hot freakin’ breakfast on the damn bus. And they are ready for school.

Five minutes, Mr. Whiteside. Five minutes.

Mickey D’s should be ashamed.