Dammit Oatmeal, How Did You Trick Me For So Long?

Random short story about how it can possibly take you thirty years to learn the most obvious thing ever:

So, I’ve been making oatmeal forever, and I even have a favorite brand: Old Wessex Ltd Scottish-Style Porridge Oats. I’m not an instant oatmeal fan, so I even take ziplocs of my favorite Scottish Oats on the road when I travel.

Although I like oatmeal, and especially Scottish-Style Porridge Oats, a ton, I don’t always love it when I make it. It’s hit or miss- sometimes it’s too watery, sometimes it’s too chewy. Even with the best brand, which I’ve been buying for at least 4 years now, I’m not usually all that impressed with my oatmeal. I eat it anyway, because I love oatmeal…. yet sometimes I get oatmeal at a restaurant- one of those quick places where there’s oatmeal in the morning and soup during the day- and the consistency is just so absolutely perfect. And I always thought ‘my god, how do they do it?’ Is there tons of heavy cream in this?

Then one day, earlier this summer, I lazily scanned the directions on my tube of Scottish Oats. And for whatever reason, on that random day, I decided to FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS EXACTLY. I never did this before. I got out my measuring cup and measured out exactly half a cup of oats. Then I put in exactly one cup of water. Then I put the oats in the microwave for exactly three minutes (I’d never microwaved my oatmeal for more than two minutes in the past). And lo and behold- perfect textured oatmeal.

The consistency was creamy and thick. The oats had the perfect chewiness. Everything was even more filling somehow because of the way the oats had absorbed the water.

A crazy and perfectionistic lesson? Maybe. But it worked. And even crazier- I realized I’d wasted  years of feeling it out and NEVER getting it right, even by accident.

There may be a lesson in here beyond the simple ‘read the directions’ one. Sometimes you can try your darndest to do something your own way, but the simple answer is actually right in front of you, tried and true and perfect.

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