One of the main characters in “On Love and Afterlove. Story 6” was oatmeal. The question remains how to cook it: in MILK or in WATER. To resolve this matter once and for all I am going to tell you how I cook it today.
(I know you’ll complain:- Why oatmeal, why not show us how to cook liver in white wine!- but be patient, everything in due time. Besides, you can cook your liver in white wine any time you want)
For you to better understand my notes on oatmeal below, you must recognize that the person who was cooking oatmeal in milk on Isabella street in Toronto doesn’t exist anymore. She went out of business just like the convenience store that was selling toilet paper already smelling stale. The new me doesn’t eat sugar (my Eastern European teeth are too prone to cavities and to falling out) and doesn’t drink milk (not sure why but milk slightly repulses me). What one can do with oatmeal without sugar and milk?
First, you need a stove. I have a worn out, but still functioning electric stove. Since I cook at least 2 – 3 a day over last 12 years I have synchronized my movements with the stove down to perfection. We are like tango dancing couple – I lead, he follows; he throws me on his knee, I take the abuse. I clean him with my spit. The good old, four-eyed monster:
Then you need a pot. The one I have is from Calphalon, the company that promises the coating healthier than Teflon (which apparently is carcinogenic) but I am sure some Bullshitphlon in near future will discover that Calphalon coating is toxic, too. Iron skillet might be the safest thing to put between your food and the fire, but sociologists had deducted that it was often used as domestic murder weapon by frustrated housewives, so Teflon business was encouraged. It is Calphalon in my house:
The next thing you need are the rolled oats. I was told that only 3 per cent of the oats harvested in the world are eaten by humans. What is the use to sow your wild oats if only horses eat them? I was also told that oats possess magic powers, like, they are loaded with minerals and vitamins and they can lower cholesterol and increase your sperm count of eaten right after intercourse. They are labelled as “Heart Friendly” which makes me to assume your heart won’t get broken if you eat oats. This particular sack of oats was 2 pounds for$3.99 and it will make about 7 – 10 servings. At least I know oats don’t break wallets.
If oats can boast some historically proven health benefits (although, note that history is just one form of mythology) then I am not sure what tofu can boast about. I personally think it is an unfortunate, tasteless substitute for protein with shady health claims, like, oh it has loads of isoflavones, and when you ask what “isoflavone” is and what it does, they say isoflavones might strengthen one’s bones but maybe not. The Kung Fu Panda tofu package promises the tofu to be “organic” and “not genetically engineered”. And then it goes on to list ingredients that include Calcium Sulfate and Glucono Delta Lactone, both of which are described by Wikipedia as “common laboratory and industrial chemical”. How is that for an “organic”?
After this if you are wondering what tofu is doing in my kitchen then I tell one really good thing about tofu – it is NOT milk. Milk is just plain disgusting and one glass of it makes most fully developed people slightly sick. If anything is toxic, it is milk. Also, when you think about it, in order to raise one glass of milk, you must line up a lot of cows and cow farts are just responsible for Global Warming as cars.
Now, we measure one glass of heart friendly oatmeal:
Now, Kung Fu Panda Tofu turn. Since the package was $2.79 and you have to be budget-conscious, besides, you are not sure what isoflavones do anyway, lets do 1/3 of the package, scoop it out with a spoon:
Take a wooden spoon and stir it as if it was your enemy. Stir it as if you desired the oats become the tofu and tofu – oats. Stir it as if you wanted to destroy the balance of Yin and Yang so that they become one:
I like using a wooden spoon because metal adds another taste to anything you touch with metal. Ever wondered why Chinese have wooden or bamboo chopsticks? Unlike metal forks and spoons they don’t interfere with the taste of food.
Now the time for some heat. Heat the darn oats!
Of course, my Tango partner, Mr. Stove, has been fingered too many times as you can see. “High” is barely visible, but I know by now that “high” is just left from “Off”. Oh, before I forget, we need some salt:
Well, maybe this is the time I could add some raisins for sweetness, but I find raisins boring. And boiled in tofu raisins double that boredom. So, raisins must remain on the store shelf. Bring the content of the pot to the boil, put the lid on and turn the heat down:
Well, you can’t see but the heat is on 2, pretty low. I came to believe in cooking on a very low heat, although low heat in nature is only on a sunny beach (good for cooking eggs) and in cemetery (good for cooking you know what). I had a roommate once who cooked beans on very low heat (from ‘low” to 1) for 24 hours. I always felt it was more of a controlled rotting than cooking, but then I realized that, indeed, all cooking is one form of rotting or another. Pickles is one example. Cheese is another.
So, the pot is on low heat, the lid is on, we can go and check the news on Internet for 15 minutes, see you later, Calphalon:
By rejecting milk, sugar and raisins we are facing a difficult task of eating something that tastes like mix of oatmeal and tofu, the very thought of which makes majority of people scream in horror and run without looking in front of speeding cars. We need a savior. I know where to find it.
My addiction to bananas is explained by the high levels of potassium they have. If I skip my daily banana I get cramps in my legs and my nerves get shaky. Don’t you just love how banana snugs to the oatmeal-tofu porridge we are about to eat:
It might look pretty but it tastes too healthy, like something a doctor prescribed. One good thing of that taste – you can never eat too much of it, so you don’t have to worry about gaining weight or feeling sluggish after breakfast. Which brings me to the reasons why I eat it and enthusiastically endorse the oatmeal-tofu concoction: it fills me up and makes me feel good. I can run and give a good animated punch after this breakfast. It is the same reason why I don’t drink more than 2 drinks in one evening – it makes me feel bad. But that is the reason most people will reject because an immediate satisfaction likes to overrule the idea of consequences.
Conscious cooking and eating is not for the weak in heart. Lets roll more oats!