Long before Wheaties, a.k.a. "Breakfast of Champions," there was the one, the only, the original, authentic breakfast of champions - oats.
Oats, oats and more oats fuelled the mighty Scottish Highlanders, huddled in their frigid stone cottages and castles, herding their great shaggy cattle around the wind-swept moors and slaying each other with clanging broadswords, if we're to believe the great myths and legends, and all the ensuing stereotypes.
Oats, oats and more oats also fuelled their Celtic cousins in Ireland, before spilling out into the nether regions of the rest of the British Isles, and then into the colonies clutched in the grasp of empire.
Oats, oats and more oats. Oat and groats. Steel cut oats. Rolled oats. Oats slowly milled between two great, round milling stones that grind the grain and retain the oat germ, the oat oil and the fibre that's so good for you.
Oats for your horse and cattle. And oats for hardy women and men who lived in and with the elements and found each day filled with challenges that demanded great physical endurance. Much like living at Whistler.
Luckily for everyone, Nesters Markets stretched across Sea to Sky's nether regions, from Whistler to Woodward's on Hastings, have a good deal on oats this week.
For only $5 you can pick yourself up two - count 'em, two - bags of Rogers real oats.
These are not the indifferent, careless instant oats of our ADHD era, but the slow-cooking, authentic kind of oats that make you feel timeless, stress-free and as sturdy as a Highlander as you watch them burble away like a creamy hot mud pot at Yellowstone National Park, filling your cool November kitchen with delicious aromas from a long-ago world where life unravelled more poetically and mysteriously.
Boiling up a pot of oatmeal porridge on a cold winter's morning is good for the heart, too.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans considered oats a diseased form of wheat. Ha! What did they know?
Obviously not that oats contain about 17 per cent protein and about 7 per cent oil, a healthy form of oil, which makes them two to five times higher in fat than wheat, and accounts, at least in part, for the rich, foamy burblings when you cook good, hearty Scottish- or Irish-style oatmeal. (This unique and surprising action tends to make them boil over, so use a much larger pot than you think necessary to cook steel cut oats and the like.)
Nor did those Ancient Greeks and Romans know that oats contain an enzyme which digests fat, as noted by scientist and food wizard, Harold McGee, as well as phenolic compounds, which make for good antioxidants.
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