Dear Kid,

How do you eat your oatmeal? Celebrate National Oatmeal Month! DearKidLoveMom.comYou may not have heard, but January is National Oatmeal Month. Which means it is time for breakfast and to learn interesting facts about oatmeal. (Thanks to the Whole Grain Council’s website for some of these delicious facts. Did you know there was a Whole Grain Council? Now you do.)

Samuel Johnson’s 1755 dictionary defined oats as “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people.” The Scotsman’s retort to this was, “That’s why England has such good horses, and Scotland has such fine men!”

Only 5% of oats grown in the world are eaten by humans. Which (according to oatmeal lovers) probably means that horses are being fed better than we are. And if you consider some of the stuff we humans eat (like fast food and kale) they are probably right.

From the Interesting Facts File: there is a city in Texas named Oatmeal. Nearby is a city called Bertram where they have an annual Oatmeal Festival. Really. A festival dedicated to oatmeal. (It started as a spoof of the zillions of chili cook-offs in Texas.)

An 18-ounce package of old fashioned oats contains about 26,000 rolled oats. No idea who did the counting.

Not only is oatmeal an excellent choice for breakfast, cookies, muffins, bread, and a host of other yummies we know about, oatmeal is often used in the food industry as a stabilizer in foods like ice cream. Which means you can now feel quite virtuous getting your ice cream fix.

Early introduction of oats in children’s diets may help reduce their risk of asthma.

If you’re not hungry, you can certainly choose to wear your oats. Oats have a natural anti-itching property and are used in many lotions to calm irritated skin. (Fun fact: the name “Aveeno” comes from the botanical name avena, for oats. Bet you didn’t know that.)

Or you can read by oatmeal. Not really, but a project at the University of Iowa (in conjunction with – wait for it – Quaker) is using oat hulls (the parts we don’t eat) to generate energy. Kinda neat, huh? You can read about the project here.

In Britain, a warming and nourishing oatmeal broth drink was traditionally made from oat husks soaked until they soured; it was called “sowans” in Scotland, and “brewis” in Wales.

There are a zillion (I counted) health benefits associated with eating oatmeal. According to My Friend the Internet, oatmeal can solve (or radically reduce the effects of) every major disease known to man including paper cuts (actually, I made that part up – but maybe it can…).

Many people consider oatmeal brulée the ultimate porridge: picture a thick bowl of oatmeal topped with a thin layer of caramelized sugar and some fresh berries.

Of course, the big question about oatmeal is: How do you eat yours? Plain? Instant? Topped with berries, brown sugar, raisins, maple syrup? Rolled or steel cut? There are a lot of options in Oatmeal Eating World.

But I don’t have time to discuss them because I’m off to make – you guessed it – oatmeal for breakfast.

Love, Mom

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