Friday, February 25, 2011

Oatmeal love and hate

I had huge doubts on whether I should write this post. The thing is that in Russia oatmeal is traditionally served for breakfast in kindergartens. Somehow they cook it in a way that serious number of adult people in Russia hate the oatmeal till the end of their life. Even the smell and look of it. So if you feel sensitive to the subject, you might want to stop right here.

Despite the fact I also spent several years of my life in the kindergarten I am one of those who love oatmeal. It must be because my most serious kindergarten impression came from boiled eggs with normally grayish blue yolks. In the shade of them, I was lucky to not even notice the quality of oatmeal.

I say lucky because now oatmeal turned into one of my favorite breakfasts. It's fine cooked at home and in some of Moscow cafes. I like it in Le pain quotidien served with honey and butter. It's also fine to take away from Prime Star. To add to that whenever something is wrong with my stomach, that's what I eat. No other food feels so clean and comforting.

When I do make it myself, I prefer it thin. That's where I had my second struggle over whether to write about it. How was I going to take pictures of thin oatmeal? It seemed like a way to surely get into trouble. I even thought about making a thicker one for the post, but what sense would it make? Here it should be real, as I really like it. So here it is as it is and I hope some of you will enjoy it.


serves 1

250 ml of milk (or milk halved with water) - soya milk also works fine
2 tbs oatmeal, or 3 tbs if you prefer it thick (in Russia I use Nordic, in France and Singapore it was always Quaker)
pinch of salt
2 tea spoons of sugar
butter or vegetable oil

Combine milk, water, oatmeal, salt and sugar in a small souse pan. Set the pan over high heat and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to small, put a lid on and cook for 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Let it rest 5 minutes under the lid if you can. Then add some butter and enjoy. Isn't it amazing?

I still cheated you with pictures though. In reality it never gets into a bowl. I can't explain it, but it is somehow 3 times more tasty if you eat right from the pan.

Related posts and pages:

Pumpkin porridge for Russian winter


  1. My parents were from Scotland, so porridge is something my wife cooks for me every morning here in St Petersburg Russia.

    Contrary to Scottish custom, we don't worry if it isn't stirred in a clockwise direction, I don't stand up while eating it, and I skip the wee bit of whisky!

    I pour loads of milk on top, after first adding honey. Larissa first slices and boils some tikba (pumpkin), then adds Ясно No. 1 oats. The baked pumpkin oatmeal looks scrumptious!

    Rob MacDonald

  2. Oh, that's good to know there is a custom to stir the oatmeal in a particular direction :-)
    I also really like pumpkin in the porridge, but I never tried it in oatmeal, only rice and millet. Now I'm definitely going to try. Thank you very much for sharing this!