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Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal

Tuesday 07/19/2005 6:28 PM

Oatmeal is oatmeal, right? Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I've been meaning to write a follow-up to my low cholesterol post. In this (as of yet) mythical blog entry, I intend to tell you that I think my high fiber/whole grain diet that I've followed for years has helped with my good blood fat numbers. Then I'll segue into my occasional super nutrient charged oatmeal breakfast recipe. That will lead to how I've been experimenting with oatmeal cookie recipe variations (hold the raisins and pass the chocolate chips!). Well, maybe one day you'll get to read about all that.

Today we're going to talk about something new. I forget where I first heard of it (wasn't that long ago though), but I've recently discovered Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal. After seeing a couple references to it in Men's Health magazine, I was surprised to stumble across it in the health food section at Publix.

My thinking was, "Why do I want to pay seven bucks for imported oatmeal when I can get Quaker Oats a lot cheaper?" Well, today I decided to splurge and see if there was a difference.

First off, the packaging is pretty sweet. I love the metal can that McCann's Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal comes in. It's like opening a can of paint and once I popped the top with a screwdriver, I was surprised to find a metal seal below it. I grabbed a chef's knife and punctured the thin metal over and over to slowly work my way around.

I love the feeling of the knife tip piercing the silvery lid. At first, the tensile strength of the metal makes you think the knife can't get through, but then, with just a little more pressure from your hand, your wrist, your elbow and then your shoulder, it finds a way. Once the tip cuts through, the knife fights against the slow drag of metal on metal — like fingernails on chalkboard, but without the skin crawling eek. Finally, the blade has cut a line about the width of a nickel and you're done, and it's time to start again.

But the biggest surprise it what you find underneath once you get the seal out. This is nothing like any type of oatmeal I've ever seen. Turns out that while the flakes we associate with oatmeal get that way from processing and flattening, Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal trims the grain by cutting off the crappy outer shell and only giving you the best part of the grain. There is a great page on the McCann's web site that tells you about it. Color me intrigued.

These ain't instant, so I'm going to have to set aside about 45 minutes to get this from the stove to the table. I'm also wondering how some cookies would taste with stuff.

I'll report back on how it goes.

File Under: Food
Music: Cliff Martinez "Solaris Soundtrack"

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