When will oats gain proper respect in the United States? Even now, when most people are aware that oatmeal is a whole grain food and that can lower cholesterol, people look upon them as something of a necessity, rather than something to be enjoyed. From my point of view, few things are as comforting on a cold morning (or evening) as a big bowl of hot oatmeal with a little brown sugar sprinkled atop. Now, I’m not talking about instant oatmeal here. What you really want to sink your teeth into is hearty, sumptuous oatmeal with some texture to it, the grown-up stuff. To that end, you ought to check out the offerings from Bob’s Red Mill. This Milwaukie, Oregon-based company has made fine stone-ground whole grain products, like oat bran cereal, quick cooking rolled oats, thick rolled oats and so-called Scottish Oatmeal, for 25 years and are a bit ahead of the curve in regards to the new USDA guidelines that tell us we should eat at least three servings of whole grain every day. (Editors note: Not that you should blindly trust the USDA’s nutritional guidelines anyways, read Michael Pollan‘s In Defense of Food and you will see why.)
I, myself, am a big fan of the Organic Scottish Oatmeal, a coarsely-ground product that produces an oatmeal with good “chew” and texture (it’s somewhat similar to their Organic Steel Cut Oats, but I prefer the Scottish Oatmeal; try both and see which you like better). Note that not all of the products offered by Bob’s Red Mill are organic, so if that’s important to you (and why wouldn’t it be?), make sure you check the label before any purchase. Not a fan of oats? That’s perfectly fine, there are plenty of other types of whole grain cereals, whole grain flours and meals, beans, grains, rice, whole grain baking mixes, and more. If you are suffering from celiac disease, gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, or are avoiding gluten for other health reasons the company also offers a wide range of certified gluten-free products, including some interesting flour varieties and a Gluten Free Starting Kit.
If you’re lucky enough to live in or close to Milwaukie, Oregon (a quick public transportation ride from Portland), you can visit the beautiful Whole Grain Store and Visitor’s Center, which is literally jam-packed with hundreds of great products. You’ll find a kitchen-classroom offering cooking classes, a bakery, and a café there as well. If you are there at the right time on a weekday, you can even tour the mill. If you happen to not live nearby, Bob’s Red Mill products are sold in stores all across the US, and the company offers online ordering.
Top image by xA Maine-iac, Flickr Commons.