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The Different Types Of Oatmeal For National Oatmeal Month

January is National Oatmeal Month, a whole-grain cooked breakfast cereal that’s an excellent source of niacin, riboflavin, and iron, and helps to bolster energy levels.

Athletes and diabetics eat oatmeal for its high content of complex carbohydrates and fiber, which abet slow digestion and stable blood glucose levels.

Oats are the grain, and oatmeal is the porridge made of coarsely ground, unsifted oats.

In case you read through all of those childhood fairy tales without a true understanding of the word, porridge is a soft food made of oats, or other cereals, boiled to a thick consistency in water or milk. Optional flavorings can be added, from spices to fruits or cheese.

Porridge is usually served hot for breakfast, in a bowl or dish. It may be sweetened with sugar or served as a savory dish (cheese grits is an example).

Any cereal grain can be turned into porridge. Buckwheat, oats, wheat (Cream of Wheat, Wheatena), and rice (Cream of Rice) are most popular in the U.S. Worldwide, barley, fonio, maize, millet, rice, rye, sorghum, triticale, and quinoa are also made into porridge.

Gruel, a word well-known to those readers of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, is a thin, watery porridge fed to those not affluent or deserving enough for the good stuff.

Early in the English language, “porridge” referred to a soup of meat and vegetables, from the Middle English porreie (which derived from Old French poree, leek soup, via the Latin porrum, leek).

Check out the different types of oats below. But first:
 
 
THE HISTORY OF OATS

Oats are an ancient grain with a long history of sustenance.

Hunter-gatherers ate wild oats as far back as 32,000 years ago—long before farming began, which was some 12,000 years ago.

It was one of the first cereals cultivated by man. Evidence of oat cultivation in China dates far back as 7,000 B.C.E.

The ancient Greeks are believed to be the first to make porridge from oats.

The Romans followed the Greeks in cultivating oats and introduced them to other countries as they conquered Western Europe. They named oats and other crops “cereals” after Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture.

The first record we have that associates porridge with oatmeal is a Scottish reference from 1643. Scotland was a big oat-growing country—the climate favors oats over corn and wheat.

In Scotland, Ireland, and elsewhere, most households held stores of oats to use for bread, porridge, and as a key ingredient for making black pudding (blood pudding)*, a type of blood sausage.

Up until the 1800s, milled oats were a coarser grain than the oats we know today. The Industrial Revolution enabled machine milling, which produced finer oats.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, porridge became a more popular breakfast dish. Oatmeal for breakfast was promoted by the oatmeal producers like Flahavan’s.

Since then, oatmeal has become a favorite breakfast food in the United Kingdom and the United States, although only one in five Americans eat it, according to the NPD Group, an independent research firm.

Tastes change over time and porridge is now mostly made with the finer-milled oat flakes we all have in our kitchen cupboards [source].

All generations should be eating more of it—for its whole-grain fiber and heart-healthy ability to reduce cholesterol. Kids should eat it instead of less-nutritious breakfast cereals or childhood-obesity-inducing breakfast pastries.

Oatmeal, warm and comforting, can be dressed up in so many ways, both savory and sweet.
 
 
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF OATS 

After harvest, the hull (husk) is removed from the oats and the groats (kernels) are toasted to stabilize enzymes that cause rancidity.

Then, they are variously coarsely ground into meal (crushed oats), steamed and rolled on steel or stone rollers to make rolled oats, or cut into small pieces to make steel-cut oats.

While whole oat groats can be purchased, and are more nutritious because they are minimally processed, they require a long time to cook and are very chewy—not the soft food that we know as oatmeal.

The longer you cook oats, the more texture, and flavor they have.

The longest-cooking are steel-cut oats, then rolled oats, then quick oats, then instant oats.

Crushed Oats 

Crushed oats are groats that are lightly ground in a hammer mill, creating a meal-type product. It’s unusual to find them in U.S. markets. Boiling crushed oats creates a porridge with a farina texture.

Uncooked, crushed oats are also a favorite food of the equine and bovine populations (only 5% of the oats grown in the world are consumed by humans). Crushed oats are also used in oatmeal-based health and beauty aids.

Rolled Oats 

Rolled oats are what most Americans think of as oatmeal. Quaker Oats’ standard product is called Old Fashioned Oats, a term used by other companies as well for their standard rolled oat products.

Standard rolled oats are also known as flaked oats and oat flakes: the groats are steamed and then rolled and flaked. The calibration of the rollers produces a spectrum of products, including instant oats, quick oats, rolled oats/old-fashioned oats, and thick-rolled oats. The thinner the oats are rolled (i.e., the thinner the flake), the more surface area, and the quicker they cook because of the greater surface area of the grain. Rolled oats cook for five minutes.

Instant Oats 

If you don’t have time or the facility to cook, instant oatmeal is made from oats that are rolled very thin and precooked, then dehydrated. They are generally packaged in single-serve packets and need only be mixed with a hot liquid to plump up into oatmeal.

While you can’t beat the convenience, they lack the texture and flavor of cooked oats (although the nutrition is about the same, and some brands like Quaker enrich their product with extra vitamins and/or calcium).

We like keeping boxes of these in our desk drawer at work, for a healthier breakfast than a bagel or other workplace option, and a nutritious snack any time of the day or night. They cook “instantly” when boiled water or milk is added; or can be cooked in the microwave with cold water for 90 seconds.

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a way of preparing oatmeal by soaking the oats overnight, instead of cooking them. Raw oats are soaked in your choice of liquid: drinkable yogurt or kefir, milk or nondairy milk (almond milk is splendid), water, yogurt/water mix, or whatever. The soaking turns oatmeal into a cold breakfast cereal, although you can certainly heat it.

Here’s a recipe (photo #7).

Quick Oats 

Quick oats are rolled oats that are thicker and thus chewier than instant oats, but not as thick as regular rolled oats. They cook in one minute.

Steel-Cut Oats 

Oatmeal imported from Ireland and Scotland tends to be steel-cut oats. Steel-cut oats are also called cut oats, Irish or Scottish Oats, and coarse-cut oats. The groats have been cut into very small pieces, not rolled into flakes.

Cooking time is considerably longer than for rolled oats—30 minutes—but the cooked oatmeal has a nice texture to it—it’s more al dente than rolled oats.

While they take considerably longer than rolled oats to make, they deliver a firmer texture (it’s a great texture) and a slightly nutty taste.

A unique milling process cooks the oats twice, then carefully rolls them to retain their distinctive texture and creamy taste.
 
 
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*Made from pork blood, with pork fat or beef suet, and oatmeal, oat groats, or barley groats. It was a staple in the Irish and English diets.

 

Oatmeal With Nuts Topping
[1] Oatmeal, slivered almonds, and maple syrup (photo © K8 | Unsplash).

Oatmeal  With Fruit
[2] Oatmeal blended with cashew butter (photo © Crazy Richard’s Natural Peanut Butter).

Bowl Of Oatmeal With Maple Syrup
[3] Strawberries and cream baked oatmeal. Here’s the recipe (photo © Driscoll’s Berries).


[4] Blueberry and almond baked oatmeal. Here’s the recipe (photo © Pip And Little Blue).

Oatmeal With Pistachio Nuts & Pomegranate Arils
[5] Oatmeal with chopped pistachios and pomegranate arils (photos #5 and #6 © King Arthur Baking).

Oatmeal With Peanut Butter & Jelly
[6] Oatmeal with swirls of peanut butter and raspberry jam.

Overnight Oats
[7] Overnight oats. Here’s the recipe (photo © A Pumpkin And A Princess).

Oats In Husk
[8] The inedible husks (hulls) house the cereal grains (photo © True Leaf Market).

Field Of Oats
[9] Oats ready to harvest (photo © Morgan Hill Life).

 
 

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A Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cornucopia From Reese’s

Reese's Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cartons
[1] For starters: ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, and cones (all photos © Reese’s| Hershey’s).

Dish Of Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
[2] If you can’t find the ice cream in your local store, you can make your own with this easy recipe from Recipe Girl (photos #3 and #4 © Recipe Girl).

Dish Of Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
[3] What’s the best garnish for peanut butter cup ice cream? A peanut butter cup!

2 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Unwrapped
[4] The iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

 

We have regularly lamented the lack of peanut butter ice cream in our supermarket freezers. Granted, we live in New York City, where the stores are smaller and the choices fewer.

But Reese’s has wowed us with a portfolio of dazzling PB ice cream choices, some of which have actually shown up in our grocer’s freezer case!

Now, this is something to scream about! Reese’s has taken its combination of chocolate and peanut butter to the freezer aisle with a brand-new line of Reese’s frozen treats: three ice cream flavors, a peanut butter ice cream sandwich, peanut butter and chocolate cones, a dessert bar coated in cake crumbs, and a dessert cup—an ice cream version of the original peanut butter cup.

Hungry yet? See details of the line below.

> The history of peanut butter.

> The history of peanut butter cups.

> The history of ice cream.

> The different types of ice cream and frozen desserts.

> Listen to the big hit of 1925: I Scream You Scream We All Scream For Ice Cream, 1927 Version
 
 
REESE’S ICE CREAM PRODUCT PORTFOLIO 

Available at major retailers nationwide starting January 2023, Reese’s is debuting seven mouth-watering treats:

Ice Cream 

  • Reese’s Chocolate Frozen Dairy Dessert: A frozen dairy dessert chocolate base with chunks of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s peanut butter swirl.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Light Ice Cream: Light peanut butter ice cream with chunks of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s peanut butter swirl.
  • Reese’s Mini Pieces Light Ice Cream: Vanilla light ice cream loaded with Reese’s mini pieces candy and Reese’s peanut butter swirl.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Frozen Dairy Dessert Bar: A peanut butter frozen dairy dessert blended with Reese’s peanut butter sauce and covered in a milk chocolatey coating and cake crumbs.
  •  
    Ice Cream Novelties 

  • Reese’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cones: Reese’s peanut butter frozen dairy dessert base and crispy wafer cone drizzled with a chocolate-flavored coating.
  • Reese’s Chocolate Cones: A chocolate frozen dairy dessert base paired with a peanut butter swirl in a crispy wafer cone, topped with a chocolatey drizzle.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Frozen Dessert Cup: A frozen take on the iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, a peanut butter frozen dairy dessert blended with a peanut butter swirl and covered in a milk chocolatey coating.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Sandwich: A peanut butter frozen dairy dessert filling with a peanut butter swirl, packed between two chocolate wafers.
  •  
    The line is produced by Breyers Ice Cream.
     
     
    PEANUT BUTTER & PEANUT HOLIDAYS

  • January 24: National Peanut Butter Day
  • March 1: National Peanut Month
  • March 8: National Peanut Cluster Day
  • April 2: National Peanut Butter And Jelly Day
  • May 18: I Love Reese’s Day
  • June 12: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
  • September 13: National Peanut Day
  • November: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
  • November 20: National Peanut Butter Fudge Day
  •  

     
     
     

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    Make This Strawberry Milk Recipe For National Milk Day

    January 11th is National Milk Day. You could toast with:

  • A glass of cold or hot milk
  • Chocolate milk
  • Coffee milk
  • Strawberry milk
  •  
    We chose strawberry milk. Instead of a corn syrup-based strawberry flavoring, you can:

  • Purée fresh or frozen strawberries, and sweeten to taste.
  • Purée some strawberry preserves with a bit of water so that they turn into syrup.
  •  
    Then, mix some into your milk of choice—cold or hot—relax, and enjoy it as a snack or for dessert.

     

    Strawberry Milk
    Strawberry milk (photo © The Bluebird Chelsea | London).

     
    Perhaps include some fresh strawberries or some of your favorite cookies. Because there is no National Milk And Cookies Day…yet.

    National Strawberry Day is February 27th.
     
     

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    National Pizza Week & A Year Of Pizza Holidays

    Pepperoni Pizza For National Pizza Week
    [1] America’s favorite pizza topping: pepperoni (photo © Jordan Nix | Unsplash).

    Spicy Sausage Pizza Recipe With Pesto, Corn & Jalapenos
    [2] Sausage is America’s #2 favorite topping. Try this recipe, Spicy Sausage & Pesto Pizza with Roasted Corn & Jalapeños (photo © DeLallo).

     

    We’re in the middle of National Pizza Week, which began on January 8th and goes through Saturday. It’s the first in a year of 12 pizza holidays in the U.S.

    We’ve listed them all, below, so mark your calendars.

    And maybe plan for a few pizza parties (in addition to National Pizza Party Day in May).

    According to CNET, “Roughly 3 billion pizza pies are sold in the US each year, equal to about 350 slices a second.” So dig in!

    > 40 ways to top your slice.

    > 50 pizza recipes.

    > Pizza trends.

    > The history of pizza.

    > The top pizza toppings in the U.S., the top pizza-eating states, and most pizza-per-capita countries.

     
    THE YEAR IN PIZZA HOLIDAYS

    Whether you get takeout pizza or make your own, mark your calendars for:

  • January: National Pizza Week, beginning the second Sunday in January
  • February: Great American Pizza Bake, beginning the second week in February, a week where you’re encouraged to not just to consume pizza but to try your hand at making it
  • February 9th: National Pizza Day (a.k.a. National Pizza Pie Day)
  • April 5th: National Deep Dish Pizza Day
  • May: National Pizza Party Day, third Friday
  • June 11th: Pizza Margherita Day
  • September 5th: National Cheese Pizza Day
  • September 20th: National Pepperoni Pizza Day
  • October: National Pizza Month
  • October 9th: International Beer and Pizza Day
  • October 11th: National Sausage Pizza Day
  • November 12th: National Pizza With Everything Except Anchovies Day…
  •  
    …although as an anchovy lover, we protest!

     
     
     
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    Enjoy These Hot Toddy Recipes: It’s National Hot Toddy Day

    January 11th is National Hot Toddy Day, coming at a good time in what is traditionally cold and flu season.

    Medical professionals agree that a hot toddy can be good for colds and mild respiratory congestion.

  • Both the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University in the U.K. and the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. have cited the spices, which stimulate saliva to help ease a sore throat, and the combination of lemon and honey stimulate mucus drainage.
  • Plus, warm liquids ease congestion and prevent dehydration.
  • Neither institution suggests large doses of whiskey but agrees that a small amount can ease the stress that comes with being ill from a cold.
  •  
    But a hot toddy is also a warm and comforting drink in chilly weather, and lets you use your favorite spirit—bourbon, brandy, gin, scotch, tequila, etc.

    There are even beer toddies and wine toddies (mulled wine, recipes below).

    > Hot Buttered Rum Day, January 17th, celebrates almost the same drink. The difference: A hot toddy can be made with any spirit, whereas hot buttered rum is made with rum.
     
     
    THANKS TO INDIA FOR THE FIRST RECIPE 

    The toddy first appeared in the early 16th century in India. It was named tārī (a Hindi word pronounced taddy), and was a popular folk remedy for congestion. (Punch also came from India: the scoop.)

    The mixture, originally served cold, included alcohol, sugar, water, and spices (very similar to today’s basic recipe).

    Adding hot water, and later hot tea, turned it into a remedy for colds and respiratory congestion.

    As with much from India, toddy made its way to Britain, and then to the American colonies.

    > More hot toddy history

    > Hot Toddy relatives (Glögg, Mulled Wine, etc.)
     
     
    MORE HOT TODDY RECIPES

  • Apple Ginger Hot Toddy
  • Apple Hot Toddy With Calvados & Sherry
  • Beer Hot Toddy
  • Black Tea Toddy & Green Tea Toddy
  • Caramel Hot Buttered Rum
  • Chocolate Hot Buttered Rum
  • Classic Hot Buttered Rum
  • Glögg
  • Hot Apple Cider Toddy
  • Hot Gin Cider
  • Mezcal Hot Toddy
  • Mulled Wine
  • Saké Hot Toddy
  • Scotch Toddy
  • Spiced Cider
  • Witch’s Brew For Halloween
  •  


    [1] You can make an Apple Hot Toddy with your spirit of choice. This one is garnished with a cinnamon stick and star anise. Note that if your cinnamon sticks have been around for a while and no longer are strong, a toddy is a great way to use them (photo © L’Adresse | NYC).

    Hot Toddy
    [2] This toddy is garnished with a slice of lemon and a cinnamon stick (photo © Hella Cocktail Co.).

    Hot Toddy In Glass Cup With Handle
    [3] We like adding a few cloves to our toddies. They’re aromatic and flavorful (photo © Ruths Chris Steak House).

     

     
     

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