perfect oatmeal

It seems odd for the very first post on a blog with "bakes" in the title to not be, well... baked. But it also seems fitting to start with a staple.

Growing up, oatmeal appeared in my house in two forms: "mom's oatmeal" and "dad's oatmeal." These were, of course, childish colloquialisms my sister and I adopted for breakfast foods that are parents consumed the one more than the other. My father's "oatmeal" was actually cream of wheat, a taste for which I shared with him at the time, but have since dramatically outgrown. My mother's "oatmeal," on the other hand, could lose the scare-quotes entirely. It was the traditional breakfast, whatever you call it: oatmeal, porridge, gruel (if you're Oliver). A pot of rolled oats simmered on the stove and served piping hot with a spoonful of brown sugar, a drizzle of ice-cold milk, and toast soldiers on the side.

Over the years I made my own oatmeal, undoubtedly in the same way she did: oats and water. It was always hearty, filling, and comforting. But when I discovered April Bloomfield's "English Porridge" my oatmeal game changed forever. And so, in the inaugural post, I present my gastronomous ribbon cutting, my epicurean smashing of the champagne bottle: a staple that feels warm and luxurious and anything but a staple.

Make some, eat it. Feel good.

Perfect Oatmeal

adapted from April Bloomfield's English Porridge

1+1/2 cups 2% milk
1+1/2 cups water
1/2 cup, plus 1 small handful rolled oats
1/2 cup steel-cut oats
pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
brown sugar, to taste

Mix milk and water in medium-sized pot, cover, and place over medium flame. Heat until milk mixture bubbles at the pot's edges, and is on the cusp of a boil.
Add 1/2 cup rolled oats, the steel-cut oats, and the salt. Simmer on medium heat, stirring. When milk mixture is almost entirely absorbed, mix in final handful of rolled oats. Stir for a moment more, then cover, remove from burner, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Serve with sprinkle of brown sugar and chopped walnuts.