Every few days I make a big batch of oatmeal and then put most of it in the refrigerator to take out later and heat up.

I cook it with double the recommended water plus extra for what steams off. I also cook it for much longer, typically for about twenty minutes — until the “cream” starts coming out.  I used to cook it for an hour with even more water until the individual oats would lose their identity but lack the patience anymore that is when it is best but even getting to the cream stage gets  most of the flavor gain.

I add a lot of freshly grated ginger. I don’t use a regular grater because it gets caught in it and is hard to clean.  When I mentioned to my sister-in-law how much I like and use fresh ginger she gave me my mother’s (long passed away) ginger shredder. It is a solid piece of ceramic with rows of little teeth.  The shredded ginger is easily wiped from it and it cleans easily with a simple rinse.

Amazon sells a similar one. My mothers has a nice design on the off side so when it is hanging up it is pleasant to look at.

ginger grater

She used to use it for making the best ginger cookies ever.  I have bought every ginger cookie on the market since then and never found one that was as good.

I add the ginger with about 5 minutes remaining.  With a couple of minutes left I add cinnamon. I also make an exception to our no cooking with salt general rule.  We use Bragg’s Liquid Aminoes to get the salt taste usually but that doesn’t work with oatmeal and my sodium level is low enough I can splurge for oatmeal so I add a bit sea salt.

I put a couple tablespoons of active culture yogurt and a tablespoon of freshly ground flax seed along with a teaspoon or so of maple syrup or honey in a bowl and have it warm up on the stove so it keeps  the  oatmeal hotter longer. If you were using a gas or electric stove you could have it touch the cooking pot. We have a wood cook stove so I put it on a trivet.

I add cooking apples that soften in a couple of minutes, a banana, frozen strawberries from our garden or dried fruit to it as I reheat the individual batches later. I eat an orange or raw apple or  something when I do the main batch.

Today I tried something different– rolled barley which turned out to be excellent.  The thing was that it ended up taking longer to do, about 40 minutes. Normally I stir the oats then wander off and do something else but I have had a cold lately and been exhausted so after 20 minutes had passed not knowing how much longer it was going to take I just sat on a stool next to the stove.

I was about half nodding off so meditating on nothing but the sounds of the pot was easy. It was this bubbling sound hundreds of bubbles at once but not in a frenzy, more calm and methodical and for some reason I found it extremely soothing.

Not that I intellectualized about it at the moment, but what a basic human experience that crosses all demographics and historical eras — the sound of a pot simmering. I could have been anywhere anytime.