Select Page

Sometimes when you’ve got a hankering for something here in Chile (or wherever you may be), you’ve got to improvise. With any luck, you have really boring, whole-foodsy taste, like myself, and you’re craving Irish oatmeal. What’s Irish oatmeal, you say? Breakfast blasphemer! Oats are little nuggets of tasty, like wheat kernels. When you eat regular oatmeal, the little tasty nuggets have been flattened into flakes, or microthin flakes, if you like instant oatmeal. The result (in my opinion) is watery and gloppy, overcooked and wallpaper-pasty (sorry if I just insulted your breakfast, you can come and insult my lunch later if you like).

Irish oatmeal, on the other hand, is cracked, or broken oats, which get creamy and perfect and crunchy when you boil them in 2X as much water as oats, stirring, simmering, and finally, leaving them covered to let them absorb the rest of the water.

True story: I have never seen Irish oatmeal in Santiago, except in my own kitchen, when I had imported it. But I have seen whole oats. And that got me to thinking.

However, with the new hypervigilant SAG rules, I knew that importing Irish oats was going to be a hassle, that they’d probably take them away from me, and I would cry the cry of the sad and breakfast-free.

Enter the coffee grinder. Yeah, I cleaned it out (mostly), though what’s the harm in a little Sumatra in your brekkie? I was going to drink coffee anyway (and have). I pulsed the whole (mostly peeled) oats a bunch in the coffee grinder, until it was part powder and part little broken oats and cooked it as indicated above.

It may not be exactly how the Irish would do it (in spite of my name, I am not actually Irish, so how would I know anyway), but it was darn close, and tasty. Creamy, crunchy and hearty. Some people pour cream or milk in (I have been known to, but did not today), and I hear sugar’s all the rage in oatmeal, but that just makes me say bleck, so I skipped it.

So gringuitas (and the occasional gringo) and expats the world over… What have you invented to fill a craving?