Posts Tagged With: Scotland

302/365: National Oatmeal Day

In the mood to sow your wild oats? Today’s your day! October 29 is National Oatmeal Day!

Oatmeal is a porridge or cereal made from ground, rolled, crushed, or steel-cut oats. Though oats have been a food source for thousands of years, they initially played second fiddle to wheat and barley. They were originally viewed as a weed-like plant and burned to clear room for more important crops. When they were used for food, it was mostly to feed livestock. The Scottish were the first to cultivate oats and use them as a food source, since oats grew better than wheat in Scotland’s short, wet growing season. This was met with derision by the English, who described them as “eaten by people in Scotland, but fit only for horses in England.” The Scots replied, “That’s why England has such good horses, and Scotland has such fine men!” Ooh. BURN. Oats were first brought to America in 1602, planted off the coast of Massachusetts. They were an important crop to George Washington, who sowed 580 acres in 1786. They were still predominantly a livestock crop in the U.S. until around the turn of the 20th century. As their health benefits became increasingly well known – oats are rich in soluble fiber, and have been shown to reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease – oatmeal consumption rose dramatically. Today, it is one of the country’s most popular breakfast cereals.

To celebrate, I stopped by Starbucks for one of their specialty oatmeals, while Tara went the instant (and economical) route. I have to say, I was impressed with all of the add-ins Starbucks included…fruit, nuts, and a packet of brown sugar. Perfectly fitting for such a chilly autumn morning…it dropped to freezing today!

National Oatmeal Day

Categories: Grains | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

77/365: National Oatmeal Cookie Day

Feeling your oats? Then you’ll like today’s food holiday. March 18 is National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Oddly, April 30 is also designated as National Oatmeal Cookie Day on some calendars. Turns out oatmeal cookies are honored on both days. We’d rather not celebrate the same food twice, and April 30 is also dedicated to raisins, so oatmeal cookies are on the menu today.

Not very long ago, oats weren’t considered fit for human consumption. They were seen as food for horses. Kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing, Loch Ness Monster-harboring Scots were the first to incorporate oats into their own diets. In a friendly little bit o’ UK rivalry, the English used to say, “A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.”¬†The Scots fired back,“England is noted for the excellence of her horses; Scotland for the excellence of her men.” This was proven true on the battlefield: when Rome invaded England they had no trouble dispatching the British army, but¬†Scottish soldiers – who were fond of carrying around oatcakes for nourishment – put up a real fight. Lest you think that’s a coincidence, health studies show that a diet consisting of oats lowers cholesterol and contains large amounts of fiber, vitamin E, selenium, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, and protein. Oats are good for you (though you may set off an airport metal detector if you consume too many pre-flight). Oatcakes were more like a pancake back then, but eventually evolved into cookies in the 19th century. The first known recipe for oatmeal cookies appears in Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Boston Cooking School cookbook.

Raisins are a common ingredient in oatmeal cookies, but Tara uses Craisins instead. Plus white chocolate. She whipped us up a batch this evening, and my mouth was watering while they were still baking in the oven. I love these cookies! Here’s the recipe:

3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups uncooked oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup Craisins
1 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 F and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Meanwhile, combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat until well blended. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix into creamed mixture at low speed just until blended. Stir in Craisins/white chocolate chips. Drop 2 inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Oatmeal Cookies

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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