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How I Acquired a Taste for Oatmeal

As a lifelong picky eater, there’s not a time when I remember eating oatmeal and liking it. In my opinion, oatmeal is a nasty, slimy mass of goo and it makes me gag just looking at it. In the early 1980's and when fairly new to running, I was jealous of everyone I knew that ate oatmeal. Studies were beginning to prove that it could lower cholesterol, it was excellent for carbohydrate loading, weight control, yadda, yadda.

I felt as though I was missing out on something great, but I couldn't bring myself to eat the stuff. There were a few rock climbing expeditions, camping and beach trips I attended over the years with friends and everybody ate oatmeal. It was the standard breakfast for all outdoorsy types. I had some too but I wasn't happy about it. I ate it only to fuel my body and I tried to bypass my taste buds by throwing it down the back of my throat. It still made me gag, I sure as heck didn't enjoy a single bite, but it filled me up and gave me tons of energy.

Fast forward twenty some odd years. I still disliked oatmeal, yet made it for my husband every morning. He loved it and said it was the best oatmeal he'd ever eaten. Okay so I'll cook the junk for him, but I still won't eat it. I never even asked my daughter to try any, she was too much like me. One morning, I felt adventurous, so I tried some. It was absolutely revolting.

Then I read an article that said how tasty and healthy steel cut oats were, otherwise known as Irish oats. I thought I'd try those instead of the old fashioned rolled type. Maybe I'd like them just because they called to me on a cellular level, I'm part Irish. 

Measuring one part oats to one part unfiltered apple juice, I covered it and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning I tried it cold and discovered it was palatable. It's texture reminded me of Grape Nuts cereal that had soaked in milk for little while, slightly damp yet somewhat dry at the same time. For three weeks I ate a bowl every morning. My husband didn't like it at all, said he felt like he was eating rocks or cat sand. He didn't think oats should be hard. I knew then that I was on to something and was determined to give oats a chance.

After awhile, I noticed that the oats seemed dry and too chewy. So I made it with one part oats, and two parts apple juice. Still eating it cold, gradually I got used to the softer texture. One morning it was very cold and rainy outside, and I wanted some warm food. After heating it in the microwave; I discovered I preferred it hot, more progress. In one month's time, my oatmeal started tasting too sweet. I added one part water to mellow out the sweetness.

After a month of diluting it with water, I added another part of water. So now I had one part oats, two parts apple juice and two parts water with one teaspoon of cinnamon added. I cook it on the stove top now, no more overnight soaking. It took awhile, but now I love my oatmeal. The liquid to oats proportion is finally correct. My jaw no longer tires from chewing it.

When you try something new, do so with an adventurous spirit and have fun with the process so it's not too terribly painful. You never know how long it'll take you to acquire a taste for something, or some place, or even someone. 

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