This is preferable

By Mir
October 22, 2011

What I really, really want to do right now is go on a long and indignant rant about a particular teacher at the middle school. BUT I AM A GROWN UP. So I merely complained about it on Facebook, instead, and here I am going to talk about oatmeal. As adults do.

See how MATURE and RESTRAINED I am? Don’t be envious, it took me YEARS to become this refined.

Instead I am going to tell you about how this week Hippie School had a Medieval Festival, and we parents were treated to various delights including a swordplay tournament, dance demonstrations, and various other medieval things. And of course, we were tasked with providing various medieval foods. I agreed to bring “porridge,” which meant I brought a huge crock pot filled with steel-cut oats. Which no one ate. It turns out that—while porridge is medieval—so is roast chicken and apple pie, so, um, yeah.

So we had a lot of leftover oatmeal. Like, a gallon of it. Nom nom.

I cannot remember where I first learned to do this… I think it was via Cleaner Plate Club? But it turns out that you can fry oatmeal and it’s delicious. I’ve done it before, but not for a really long time. And now I have all this oatmeal, so this morning when Monkey and I got up (Chickadee had a football game last night and was still sleeping the sleep of the exhausted marching band geek) we decided that fried oatmeal was the way to go.

Ordinarily you could just store leftovers in something that makes a handy sliceable shape—a loaf pan works really well—but did I mention I have an industrial bucket full of the stuff? I do, so I hit upon the BRILLIANT and not at all OCD idea of using my ring molds to make perfect oatmeal circles on a piece of waxed paper. Shut up.

(Chickadee saw this picture on my monitor and said, “Ewwww, they look like moldy veggie burgers. Or rice cakes.” Thanks, kid!)

Then you heat up a frying pan and throw in a bunch of butter, because steel cut oats are incredibly healthy and we’re doing our best to drown out any possible fiber-riffic health benefits with a bunch of fat. Add your oatmeal pucks to the pan like so:

(Mmmmmm… buttah!)

Stand around watching them and discussing with your son whether or not they’re ready to flip now. How about now? Now? I’m hungry, Mom, I think they’re ready. I’M STARVING! DYING! NEED! OATMEAL! PUCKS!!

When the whining becomes deafening, it’s time to flip them.

Admire the brown, buttery crispness that has now formed on your pucks. Mmmmmm.

Repeat previous step while cooking the second side, and when the whining reaches deafening this time, remove to a plate. Drizzle with maple syrup. REAL MAPLE SYRUP. Fake syrup is for people who hate America.

(Don’t worry about the little crunchy bits that fall off the pucks. Those are the most crispy and delicious.)

Then cook some more while your kid who “hates oatmeal” inhales the first couple, because he’s going to want seconds. Lovingly place a prepared plate at your daughter’s seat at the table and gently wake her up so that she can snarl at you and insist she’s not hungry, too. Try to resist the urge to butter her chair in retaliation, because you’re the grown-up.

I am the very model of decorum. And buttery goodness.


  1. Susan

    You can come to my house indigent anytime. Yum, buttah!

  2. Laura (a loyal lurker)

    Now I’m wishing I had a ton of leftover oatmeal just for this purpose!

  3. aem2

    I’m thinking of making a lot of oatmeal just to have leftover oatmeal for this!

  4. The Other Leanne

    “not at all OCD idea”
    CDO. It has to be in alphabetical ORDER.

  5. Daisy

    Real maple syrup – that might the New Englander in you resurfacing briefly. We real Wisconsinites love our maple syrup, too – almost as much as we love our cheese.

  6. My Kids Mom

    Steel cut oats, already cooked, will freeze! Trader Joe’s sells ’em that way! And, they can be used in any bread recipe too. We use them in our sourdough pancakes! Lots of use for that pot, Mir. Be creative!

  7. Jeanie

    Those look delicious! I never would have thought to fry oatmeal.

  8. Jen

    I do this with leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes – why have I never thought of oatmeal? My son has sensory issues around food and I bet I could get him to eat oatmeal if I did this! Thanks so much. And I know it’s probably awful of me, what with poor Chickadee dealing with all the tragic tragedies of being a teenager, but I was soooo glad it wasn’t a teacher at Monkey’s school. I’m a little in love with the Hippie School and it would have been devastating. ;-)

  9. Ingrid

    Wait – what?? I want to hear the rant!! ;)

  10. Brigid

    My kids did a “We love oatmeal” dance at dinner tonight. What in the world would they do for buttered oaty pucks?
    I’ve been wondering if oatmeal can be started the night before in the crockpot so it would be ready in the am when we roll out of bed in the dark. Fill me with all your oatmeal knowledge…

  11. sonia

    I’m with Ingrid…. rant away! Not that your oatmeal pucks weren’t somewhat interesting but I’d rather have some bad teacher gossip!

  12. EmmaC

    I’m afraid I’ll have to try this immediately. However, I’m thinking I’ll only make a half-batch of Medieval Bucket Porridge.

  13. Jann

    I grew up eating this all the time! One of my favorite things! It’s also delicious with salt (no syrup)…in fact I prefer it.

  14. Barb

    I would have totally eaten the porridge, topped with a bit of the apple butter (made with honey instead of sugar) I have cooking in the crock right now.

  15. Catherine

    The oatmeal looks awesome.

    Speaking as a teacher…I really hope you are kidding about the Facebook complaint. I also really hope you have brought your concern directly to the teacher before posting it. It hasn’t happened to me “yet,” but I’ve seen it happen to other teachers and it is incredibly humiliating and hurtful.

  16. Brigitte

    Of course, saying “MATURE” then talking about oatmeal makes me think of Wilford Brimley.

  17. Jan in Norman, OK

    Ever try crumbling crispy bacon into oatmeal? A yummy change from the sweetened version.

  18. Nicole

    Hmm I bet my kid who hates oatmeal would even like those. I’ll have to try that.

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