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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Oatmeal and the Meaning of Life

I've been at war with oatmeal all my life.

I eat oatmeal because I'm a good little girl. It is cheaper than packaged cereal, it is whole grain, and it contains no added sugar or salt or fat. It is also diverse, multicultural, and tolerant.

But it always boils over. Makes the pot hard to clean. Makes the cheapo Chinese stove top a mess.

After all the events of the previous years, which got me thinking a lot about my own death, I contemplated how much time and energy I devoted to cleaning boiled-over oatmeal from pots, stovetop, and the underside of the stove. it was my own existential crisis.

I think questions like this are part of the reason that people don't take women's writing seriously. Alexander the Great, a man, wept when he realized that he had no more worlds to conquer. Me, a woman, I wept, metaphorically, over spilled oatmeal.

So today I'm trying something new. I'm using a pot that is so huge I'm hoping the oatmeal won't make it up the sides of the pot.

Working so far.

I found this quote on the web. No idea if it is accurate:

"Adding a starchy substance such as rice or noodles [or oatmeal] to boiling water increases the surface tension of the water. When it's just plain water boiling the surface tension of the water can't hold back the force of the steam rising and the bubbles burst. Starches increase this surface tension making the bubbles more elastic/pliable (essentially creating a foam), thus requiring more force for them to burst. This makes the bubbles last longer which allows them to build up and eventually boil over."


  1. Hello Danusha, I have discovered that if I simply put a small pot on medium heat and add the oatmeal at the same time (into the cold water) that it cooks up perfectly in a little under ten minutes and never boils over--because it actually never "boils". It just cooks in water that could best be described as "simmering". I use a very small, teflon coated saucepan (1 qt. I think). I then pour the cooked oatmeal into my bowl and leave the pot to dry with the coating of sticky oatmeal. It actually dries up and then I can then literally peel it off and throw it away and rinse out the saucepan. I have never had a boil over since I started doing it this way (after 30 years of agony, lol). My husband likes his "porridge" every morning so I'm very happy to have discovered this method.
    Best to you, Candace
    ps Is your email address listed anywhere on the blog?