Oatmeal

From Academic Kids

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Oatmealtypes.jpg
Several different types of instant oatmeal.

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Oatmealraisins.jpg
Raisins and oatmeal prior to preparation.

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Oatmealraisins2.jpg
Raisins and oatmeal after preparation.

Oatmeal is a product made by processing oats.

In North America, oatmeal means any crushed oats, rolled oats, or cut oats used in recipes such as oatmeal cookies. The porridge made from this is also called oatmeal. However in other parts of the English-speaking world, oatmeal means coarsely ground oats (cf cornmeal, wheatmeal, peasemeal, etc.).

In Scotland, oatmeal is created by grinding oats into a coarse powder. Various grades are available depending on the thoroughness of the grinding, including Coarse, Pin(head) and Fine oatmeal. The main uses are: as an ingredient in baking; in the manufacture of bannocks or oatcakes; as a stuffing for poultry; as a coating for Caboc cheese; as the main ingredient of the Scottish dish, skirlie, or its chip-shop counterpart, the mealy pudding. Occasionally it may be boiled as porridge or gruel. However rolled oats or crushed oats are normally used for this purpose nowadays, since they generally cost less.

Oatmeal is also used in some alcoholic drinks, cosmetics, soaps, and external medical treatments. It is also used as a thickener in some brands of canned chili con carne.

Oatmeal has a long history in Scottish society because oats are better suited to the short, wet growing season in Scotland than wheat. Hence they became the staple grain of that country.

Samuel Johnson referred, disparagingly, to this in his dictionary definition for oats:

A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.

To which his biographer, James Boswell, is said to have retorted

Which is why England is known for its horses and Scotland for its men.

There has been increasing interest in oatmeal in recent years due its beneficial health effects. Studies have shown that daily consumption of a bowl of oatmeal can lower blood cholesterol.

Some of the items added to oatmeal porridge to enhance its flavour include: salt, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, butter or margarine, milk or cream, diced apples, raisins, and cinnamon.

Oatmeal, Texas, a small community 40 miles northwest of Austin, honors the breakfast staple in an annual festival.

External links

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