Unless you’re an efficient individual who plans out menus a week in advance—the way you “break your fast” could be a daily dilemma.
With choices ranging from hundreds of ways to prepare eggs to endless varieties of pancakes, I avoid the quandry by relying on a time-tested start-the-day standard—oatmeal. Regularly eating oatmeal is said to aid in reducing cholesterol.
That’s been a favorite for more than five decades…the basic ingredient varied of course, with the addition of sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries or raisins, sprinkled with brown sugar, and topped off with milk.
Bur’s Restaurant on Steilacoom Blvd. serves Oatmeal as one of its breakfast items.
The other day as I tossed the empty, round box of the latest supply into the trash bin, a remembrance from my childhood days flashed across my mental movie screen.
As one way to instill the importance of creativity and recycling on my impressionable young mind, my mother often transformed empty oatmeal boxes into doll’s cradles; it’s something her mother had taught her, she said. In turn, I’ve since passed on the craft to my daughter.
With a few deft slices with a handy paring knife, voila—a cozy bed for one of my tiny dolls.
Making doll beds, though, weren’t the only use for this famous, cylindrical cereal box; the empty box was the key ingredient to any number of craft projects, from holiday gift box to a container for childhood treasures.
One popular use for it today is as the framework for a crystal radio set (directions can be found at www.midnightscience.com).
In the quest for more information about this popular cereal that’s touted as one way to reduce cholesterol from one’s diet I learned that one brand, Quaker? Oats, has been around since 1854.
Its website contains a section about the cereal’s history. Here are a few highlights from that site: the company had the first trademark for a breakfast cereal in 1877.
In 1881 it launched the first national magazine advertising program for their product.
In 1885, oatmeal was packaged in a square box: a change from the original way of being sold in bulk from large barrels.
In 1890, the company ran a special all-Quaker Oats train from Cedar Rapids, IA to Portland, OR to introduce the first ever trial-sized samples that were delivered to every mailbox in Portland OR.
In 1891 it became the first brand to feature a recipe on its box—that recipe was for oatmeal bread.
Today’s package contains that recipe for oatmeal cookies, an all-time favorite. The recipe was first published on the box in 1908.
In 1915 the company switched its packaging to the present-day round box.
Normally I prepare my oatmeal with a stainless steel spoon. If I wanted to be a purist, I was told, I should use a “spurtle” a unique utensil created by some canny Scotsman. And yes, there is an annual Golden Spurtle contest each year. Details are found by searching the Internet at www.goldenspurtle.com and related spurtle lore websites.
Note: Anderson Island’s Historical Society, at the Johnson Farm, features island-made spurtles, crafted by Earl Gordon.
Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Courtesy of Quaker? Oats):
1 C (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1C firmly packed brown sugar
1/2C granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
3 C Quaker? Oats (quick, or old-fashioned, uncooked)
1 C raisins
Heat oven to 350?. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well. Stir in oats and raisins, mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookies sheet. Remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen. To make bar-type cookies, bake dough 30-35 minutes in an ungreased 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan.