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Irish risotto

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That’s how I would describe my first experience eating John McCann’s Steel Cut Oat Meal. It comes in an old-fashioned tin, with all the gold medals it’s won since 1876. This is totally unlike the Quaker version, which I grew up on and thought was what real oat meal was like (McCann’s uses two words – “oat meal” – so I will too).

Turns out that McCann’s are whole-grain Irish groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut by steel blades into two or three pieces to enhance the flavor of the oat.

Quaker takes the oat kernel and presses it down and flattens it, rolling over it, hence the term rolled oats. Look at the Quaker oats carefully: you’ll note they’re flat (confession: I thought that’s what oat kernels really looked like in their natural state until this morning).

McCann’s oats are small pellets. It takes time to make McCann’s: about 15 minutes stirring the oats into boiling water, than 30 minutes more simmering and stirring. Unbelievably soothing and wonderful food, crunchy and creamy just like risotto.

I had mine without butter, cream, milk, sugar, honey, or maple syrup, though any of the above would’ve been great. I was just excited to be eating a powerful, ancient food. This is what the Slow Food movement is all about.

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