The good oats

My paternal grandmother died when I was 15. I remember it clearly. It was July 7. She had gone into hospital for ‘some tests’. She was a bit of a hyperchondriac so no one was that concerned – they thought she had the ‘flu. She died the next morning, while my dad was on his way to the hospital. It was the first time I ever saw him cry.

I was grandma’s favourite. I remember feeling very proud of that. My parents didn’t feel the same way. They worked very hard to make sure that there were no favourites in our family. Everything was always perfectly fair. But not with grandma. She’d give the others $5 and me $10 and tell me not to tell. I told. Mum took the money off me and distributed it evenly. I never told again.

Grandma was an amazing looking woman. She was exceptionally tall and slim with completely white hair. She used to rinse it blue. As a child I found that completely fascinating. I guess I still do. Why would you? Mum says that I’m going to have her white hair (although how the hell she knows that is beyond me). I can tell you right now that there will be no blue rinsing.

I miss grandma. I think about her a lot. The thing I remember most vividly about her was her cooking. She was a terrible cook. She would boil vegetables until they were virtually unrecognisable. As a child I didn’t mind. Veges are better if you don’t recognise them. She used cook a lot of meat. I have no idea how she stayed so skinny. But the thing I remember most was her porridge.

She’d cook porridge in a pot on the stove every morning. It was a painstaking process. She’d stir it with a wooden spoon forever. It was worth it though. She’d put so much brown sugar and cream on it that any goodness from the oats was negated, but boy did it taste good.

I’ve loved oats ever since, but I very rarely have time to make them. Most mornings I eat breakfast at work, so I’ve always eaten dry cereal. But now I’ve discovered microwave oats. It’s my new addiction. I have modified it slightly for the times though. Oats and protein powder. I don’t know if grandma would have approved but I think of her every time I eat them.

I miss you grandma.


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