My Mother’s Oatmeal


I have fond memories of the “real” oatmeal that my parents would occasionally cook on the weekends when I was growing up. My definition of “real” is the type that is prepared in a pot, not the instant just-add-boiling-water stuff. I loved it on chilly winter mornings. In the summer, I would eat the leftovers cold. Yum.

Last month, I decided to make “real” oatmeal for the first time. I followed the instructions on the container to the letter. The end result was so disgusting that I ate three bites and threw the rest away. I told my sister about my disastrous results, and she mentioned that my father soaked the oatmeal in water prior to cooking and that sugar was added. Obviously, I never actually watched either parent making oatmeal.

I called my mother and got some general directions from her. This morning I had time to experiment again, and was so pleased that my oatmeal tasted just like hers. Here is the “recipe”. Please note that measurements are approximate and may need to be adjusted depending on your preferences for consistency and sweetness.

3/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup water, plus a little extra
1/2 cup milk
2-3 tablespoons sugar

Pour 1 cup of water into a small pot and bring to boil. While waiting, measure out the oatmeal into a bowl. Add just enough water to the bowl so that all of the oatmeal gets dampened. Using a spoon, mash the oatmeal around for several minutes.

When the water is boiling, pour the oatmeal+water mixture into the pot. Reduce heat and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk and stir. Add sugar (to taste — I used 3 tablespoons), stir, and heat for an additional minute. Remove from heat and cover pot for 10 minutes. Makes 2-3 servings.


6 Comments on “My Mother’s Oatmeal”

  1. Oiyi says:

    That looks like the Chinese style oatmeal my parents made. Sometimes an egg would be added for extra richness. My sister loved their oatmeal. I never liked oatmeal at all and still don’t.

  2. ruth says:

    ditto on the oatmeal – i had mine the same way! (plus, occasionally an egg) can’t have mine without milk and sugar. 🙂
    p.s. i really like your bowl in this pic.

  3. Beth says:

    I’m not sure that I bring myself to eat cold oatmeal unless it was in the form of a frozen cookie. 🙂

    It’s great that you rediscovered your parents’ recipe!

  4. Shir says:

    Great! You now have your own recipe and you can cook and enjoy it cold and hot!

  5. Priscilla says:

    Yeah, I just had some this morning, as a matter of fact. Sadly, I’m not a huge oatmeal fan because it keeps me full for a long time, and let’s face it – there’s way too much stuff to eat to be full for too long, right? BTW, as we’ve gotten more “health conscious”, the sugar has decreased substantially as of the last few years, and if you’re into toppings, I can suggest that we have a glazed walnut-cranberry topping that makes the flavor much improved if you decrease on the sugar.

  6. Nicole says:

    I mix the dry oatmeal with enough milk to cook it in, let it soak for a couple of minutes, then boil the whole thing till it’s done (you have to stir more so that the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom). The result is the creamiest, yummiest oatmeal ever. I like to add berries and drizzle maple syrup on top, with maybe some toasted almonds. AMAZING!