It’s probably only because we never had gruel or porridge growing up that I have a great love of oatmeal. As a child I preferred chocolate malt-o-meal, and I have no real recollection of eating oatmeal outside of cookies.
As an adult, however, I’ve come to be a bit of a food snob when it comes to oatmeal. I love the slow-cooked steel-cut oatmeal with a bite and a nutty flavor. When given an opportunity to enjoy all-you-can-eat oatmeal at fancy resorts or restaurants, I make the most of the occasion. When I discovered Jamba Juice oatmeal, I became almost obsessed with how do you replicate it. To date, I haven’t found a recipe that works for me. I simply enjoy the warm, nutty goodness offered up by my JJ people.
Now, I use the term food snob loosely. I have nothing against instant oatmeal since I have cupboards of it. I have a stash at work even. Yet, I do have my preferences for flavor leaning heavily toward apple. I like Quaker well enough and don’t think badly of it. However, I’ve found a new brand called Better Oats that I like A LOT MORE. It cooks in the microwave for 2 minutes and is, to me, quite yummy.
Given all that, you can imagine my very deep disappointment with both McDonald’s and Starbucks. Now I’d seen people eating Starbucks oatmeal so I assumed it was OK. The day I went in I watched them rip open a bag, pour it into a bowl, add hot water and offer it up with bags of toppings. That’s it? Uh, I CAN DO THAT. I often do. Needless to say it was disappointing oatmeal. Sure, it was probably Quaker which I’ve already mentioned is part of my diet. However, given that I was expecting something to rival Jamba Juice. Sigh… I didn’t even eat it.
This was replayed at McDonald’s last Friday. I imagine had I not gone in, I would have wondered what was up with the oatmeal. Instead, the same scenario as at Starbucks. Grab bowl, rip open bag, pour contents, add hot water, stir and hand to customer. No, wait, McDonald’s DID add the apple-craisin pack. The stuff was SOUP. Watery, starchy, and not at all yummy. Into the garbage it went (not to mention I could NOT have eaten it while driving).
Seriously, I can buy a pack of 5 Good Oats for $1.67 and a box of Quaker (10 packs) for $3.00 That’s a lot less than $1.99 and certainly not as disappointing. ‘Cause when I serve myself instant oatmeal, at least I know what I’m getting. There’s no expectation of MORE or BETTER. Full disclosure, JJ is $2.95 per bowl unless you get it with a drink for $2. So not cheap. Definitely better though.
I’m not saying don’t buy oatmeal from Starbucks or McDonald’s. After all, if you don’t have time to add water to your instant oatmeal, they are providing you a service. I’m just saying, don’t expect anything great.