Home Is Where The Oatmeal Is
How do you like your oats?
Home is Where the Oatmeal is...
6:00 AM rolls around as my inner body clock begins to hum, waking me from a deep sleep. The early morning sun is just beginning to rise, rays of the sun gently beaming through my second-story window. I fight the urge to shove my face back into my pillow, ignoring the light of day for just a few more blissful moments of slumber. As I lay there existing in the space between pure consciousness and the limitless universe in which my dreams contemporize, a familiar sticky-sweet aroma fills the air. It’s Sunday morning, which means just as sure as the sun has risen, I can forecast a bowl of my Grandmothers homemade oatmeal to be ready and waiting for me downstairs. Sunday Oatmeal has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. The tradition started when my mother was younger, my grandma thought that it was important for a family to start the day together, sharing a moment to unwind before the demanding nature of our lives begins. Sunday’s fit well into this idea due to the fact that during most weekdays my mother and her siblings had school and extracurricular activities that would make it difficult to align everyone’s schedules.
This tradition has spilled over into my life, and it’s something I look forward to every week. Having the opportunity to talk about your dreams, (literally and metaphorically) life, and everything in between with the people you love is a true privilege. A fact I became increasingly aware of as I’ve grown older and taken on a more demanding schedule in College and with my own work. I remember being a little girl and loving the feeling of waking up early before my other siblings and helping my grandma make oatmeal. We’d try to be creative and make something different every week. Blueberries, strawberries, honey, cinnamon, and a variety of nuts and granola are just a few of the ingredients we would toss into our bowls. Being completely transparent until now I’ve never really stopped to think about all the ways in which one bowl of oatmeal makes its way throughout the world and into my kitchen. Which seems strange considering how much of it I’ve consumed over the course of my 22 years of life.
I decided to do some research on the history of Oatmeal and found some pretty interesting facts. According to the history of cereals.com, oatmeal is “ a porridge made from ground oats, steel-cut oats, crushed oats, or rolled oats” (historyofcereals 1). Grain oats can be dated back to Ancient Egypt and are an estimated 4 millennia old, (That’s like...crazy old) and came to North America sometime in the early 17th century. In terms of the production and what it takes to grow oats, I found that grain oats grow best in short and wet growing seasons (early spring or fall) in soil with a ph balance between 6 and 7. Oat farmers suggest keeping the soil continuously moist and free of all weeds for the best outcome. As the oats grow they will develop seed heads, and you should harvest your oats once these seed heads are dry.
This process typically takes about 6 months. After you harvest the grains you will want to remove the seed heads from the stalk, then leave the oats in a clean, dry, cool area. Oats can be kept frozen for up to two years before consumption! After the harvesting process is complete oat farmers will send their oats to cereal mills (think Quaker Oats, etc) where these companies will purchase and package the oats for consumer consumption. These products are then bought by store chains like Walmart or ALDI and are sold to everyday people who like oatmeal. I found it surprising that it takes half a year to grow and harvest a single batch of oats. That’s a lot of work and patience for a bowl of oatmeal!