Roll Your Own

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The industrial revolution certainly advanced humankind in the last 100 years. Yet we’ve been trying to recover from the fold-spindle-mutilate job it’s done to our food system by throwing counter-revolution after counter-revolution at it. Thankfully we seem to be closer to finding our balance between “convenient” and “healthy”; it lies somewhere betwixt Willie Wonka’s Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum and hitching up a draft horse to plow your own fields. The package of rolled oats in TakeHome cases this week is such a compromise.

The rolled oats are brought to you by the small farm team of Kathe Roybal and Tracey Vowell of Three Sisters Garden, in Kankakee, IL. You can get to know the farmers in The FruitGuys Almanac. You can also be assured that it’s a sustainable product—supporting them helps to maintain healthy land and best farming practices, and it’s about as fresh and local as rolled oats get. This oatmeal has never seen the inside of a cardboard box. “Because we’re rolling within a few days of sales, the oats are very fresh-tasting and nutty, whereas most of the rolled oats sold commercially have probably been rolled for months and begin to taste stale,” says Tracey Vowell.

Breakfast seems to be where the rubber meets the road in the healthy/convenient trade-off. If you can shoehorn in just 10 minutes, you’ll easily be on your way to a truly healthy and hearty breakfast. Everything you’ve heard about a warm breakfast and oats for heart health is valid. As well, there is significant food value of cooked rolled oats versus instant oats. Instant oats contain additives of sugar and salt, and old-fashioned oats are higher in soluble fiber and beta-glucans (which reduce cholesterol). But mainly the difference is taste and true flavor. “People come back to us all the time—they never had oatmeal that tasted good [before],” adds Tracey.

The Quaker Oats man is the oldest American trademark for a breakfast cereal, registered in 1877. The company chose the Quaker image because their faith exemplified the values of honesty and purity. The Society of Friends (the Quakers) sued to have their association removed, and lost. Quaker makes a range of products nationwide and can’t really be faulted for peddling the suggestion to eat warm breakfast, but when you know the farmer who grew, harvested, and rolled your breakfast, it might nourish you a little bit more.

Preparation: Pour 1-cup rolled oats slowly into 2 cups of lightly salted boiling water. Cook uncovered for 10–12 minutes. Add apples, raisins, walnuts, etc.
Storage: Store raw oatmeal in freezer to retain freshness.

by Heidi Lewis


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