Perhaps I’m biased, being descended from Scottish stock, but I think the humble wee oat is a champion among grains. I wonder if Robbie Burns ever made an ode to an oat? He certainly did an Address To A Haggis, and would haggis be the same beast without oats? Oats seem to have a special affinity for fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and thus make nice chewy cookies, or if you’re feeling like ramping up the fruit factor further, contribute magnificently to a spot of crumble. Perhaps even more intriguingly (for some of us, at least) they also wash down nicely when brewed into a fantastic kind of stout that finishes with an even more chocolatey silk finish than that possessed by a Guinness. God, I’d really love a pint now. I hope Brewmaster Hall at the Bosphorus Brewing Company is reading this. If you prefer to keep your oat drinks in the all ages category, however, you might try the Latin American delight, Avena.
Oatmeal isn’t processed to the same extent that many other everyday grains are, and so seems to retain a whole whack more nutrition, fibre and antioxidant power than its rivals. If a sheaf of oat challenged a sheaf of wheat to an arm wrestle, there’d be no contest. Its health benefits are legion. Spiced with some cinnamon and ginger, it also warms you up in a way that two slices of toast just don’t seem to when the thermometer drops at this time of year.