friday feast: “Oatmeal Deluxe” by Stephen Dobyns (+ a recipe)

“Breakfast” by Alberto Morrocco

Hello, Snowy Winter Morning! What’s for breakfast?

I’ve been an oatmeal-for-breakfast girl for quite some time. Sure, I dallied with cold cereal and Pop-Tarts® in my reckless youth, and even went through a yogurt, fruit, and granola phase. But now, I look forward to starting each day with a warm, comforting bowl of quick cooking oats.

When you live with more than a few bears (300+ and counting), you can’t help but channel Goldilocks. You bask in the fairy tale dimension of porridge, by now having perfected cooking time, addition of milk, maple syrup, berries and nuts to an enviable “just right.”

L. Leslie Brooke (The Three Bears)
via Greg Abbott (Society 6)

Some consider oatmeal bland and boring, ooey gooey pablum for the unimaginative. Fie on them, I say! Obviously they haven’t considered oatmeal’s poetic possibilities. Think of Galway Kinnell, who eats his oatmeal with charming companions like John Keats. And then there’s the inimitable Stephen Dobyns, whose tragicomic oatmeal fantasy reads like the magic porridge pot meets roguish Rodin. While some may sow their wild oats, others sculpt them. No time for mushy romance.

Love me, love my oatmeal. How will you shape your destiny?

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Barrel-aged Oatmeal via Serious Eats

OATMEAL DELUXE
by Stephen Dobyns

This morning, because the snow swirled deep
around my house, I made oatmeal for breakfast.
At first it was too runny so I added more oatmeal,
then it grew too thick so I added water.
Soon I had a lot of oatmeal. The radio
was playing Spanish music and I became
passionate: soon I had four pots of oatmeal.
I put them aside and started a new batch.
Soon I had eight pots. When the oatmeal cooled,
I began to roll it with my hands, making
small shapes: pigs and souvenir ashtrays. Then
I made a foot, then another, then a leg. Soon
I’d made a woman out of oatmeal with freckles
and a cute nose and hair made from brown sugar
and naked except for a necklace of raisins.
She was five feet long and when she grew harder
I could move her arms and legs without them
falling off. But I didn’t touch her much –
she lay on the table – sometimes I’d touch her
with a spoon, sometimes I’d lick her in places
it wouldn’t show. She looks like you, although
her hair is darker, but the smile is like yours,
and the eyes, although hers are closed. You say:
what has this to do with me? And I should say:
I want to make more women from Cream of Wheat.
But enough of such fantasy. You ask me
why I don’t love you, why you can’t
live with me. What can I tell you? If I
can make a woman out of oatmeal, my friend,
what trouble could I make for you, a woman?

~ from Heat Death: Poems (Atheneum, 1980)

Laura Walls Taylor

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🍰 CAKE FOR BREAKFAST! 🍰

Much as we love our standard bowl of oatmeal each morning, there’s certainly nothing wrong with throwing caution to the wind now and again, and splurging on our own version of Oatmeal Deluxe.

Mr. Cornelius suggested oatmeal cake for breakfast. This sounded very respectable to him (not as naughty as eating oatmeal cookies for breakfast). He found just the recipe at For the Love of Cooking. Apparently the coconut pecan frosting cinched the deal.

The recipe starts out with combining 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 3/4 cup boiling water, then covering the mixture for a bit. Since this was the same thing he usually does every morning, it made him feel considerably less guilty. Oh, a “healthy” cake!

The little rascal didn’t even raise an eyebrow when combining the remaining ingredients (not even for the brown and granulated sugars). Then the cooked oatmeal was mixed in the batter before baking.

The coconut pecan “frosting” is actually a topping consisting of chopped nuts, shredded coconut, brown sugar, melted butter, and a little milk and vanilla. This was spread on the baked cake before putting it under the broiler for a few minutes until the coconut was nicely toasted.

I suppose one could categorize this as a coffee cake, and it would certainly be welcome at brunch or for a quick and easy dessert any time. Still, we enjoyed a piece for breakfast with a tall glass of milk, happy with the thought of giving ourselves a treat. The cake was nice and moist, the added oatmeal gave it a pleasant chewiness, and the topping reminded me of carrot cake without the cream cheese. We have a feeling Mr. Dobyns wouldn’t mind having oatmeal cake for breakfast either. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I used butter)

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Cake:

Mix the oatmeal with the boiling water, stir and cover. Mix the remaining ingredients, then stir in the oatmeal mixture. Grease and flour an 8″x8″ pan. Pour batter into pan and bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes.

Frosting:

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Carefully spread frosting over the top of the cake. Broil until coconut is just brown. Watch very closely — it doesn’t take long. Cool, slice and serve.

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from Christmas Porridge by Sven Nordqvist

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🦋 EMILY DICKINSON BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNER! 🐝

Thanks for all your good comments here and on Facebook! So nice to hear from so many Emily fans. Monsieur Random Integer Generator, who has been enamored of Ms. Dickinson for years and years (he can’t resist a woman who bakes good gingerbread), was honored to pick the winner for this giveaway, who is:

🌺 ROSI HOLLINBECK!! 🌺

👏 👏 CONGRATULATIONS, ROSI!  🎉 🎉

Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com so we can get your prize out to you lickety split.

Thanks again to everyone for entering!

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poetry fridayKatie is hosting the Roundup at The Logonauts. Scamper over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy your weekend!

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wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food related posts. Put on your best aprons and bibs and come join the fun!

 


Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

82 thoughts on “friday feast: “Oatmeal Deluxe” by Stephen Dobyns (+ a recipe)

  1. Absolutely delicious. Every. single. bite. I enjoy what you bring to Poetry Friday….and all days, really. Your passions for good taste and story are inspirational. Thank you, Jama!

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  2. Dear Jama – I am not a hot oatmeal fan, but I’m certain I could do this oatmeal cake! I also very fond of using “just right” in real life to express my pleasure about random things… the 3 bears are with me all the time! Thank you. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL. I’ve never been one to have big breakfasts — would you believe I’ve never had loco moco? I don’t seem to miss Portuguese sausage either. Been away too long I guess.

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  3. I am definitely an oatmeal fan (and a cream of wheat one too). I love mine with fresh berries and/or bananas, and milk. It’s definitely a comfort food for me. I don’t make it often enough for breakfast, though sometimes I make it for lunch, or when I’m dining sans famille. The cake looks yummy too. Thanks, Jama!

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    1. I like cream of wheat too, but recently I’ve been going more the gluten free route at breakfast — this enables me to have wheat things (like cookies) later. 🙂

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  4. So many delicious treats! I have on occasion enjoyed oatmeal for breakfast. My favorite is overnight oatmeal (in the fridge with yogurt, milk and fruit) on a summer morning. This morning I fixed cinnamon oatmeal for my hen’s breakfast. In return, they leave me a dozen eggs a day for my breakfast and more. And my favorite homemade playdough also incorporated oatmeal for texture.

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  5. I am a Red Mill nine grain fan, but like the Irish oats too. What a delicious post, and that Dobyns poem, a wonderful one for Valentine’s Day, isn’ it? My daughter made oatmeal pancakes recently for a brunch, and they were great. I’ll pass this oatmeal cake on to her. Thanks for that, and for the pictures, Jama. I love seeing them.

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  6. Love your post on all counts! Enjoyed the poem’s humor. I’m going to try that oatmeal cake… perfect for my weekend breakfasts! Your photos, as always, are lovely! As for a bowl of oatmeal: My husband cooks and eats one bowl of steel-cut oatmeal –decorated with brown sugar and heavy cream– every morning.

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  7. Hahahaha. “Oh, healthy cake!” Dream on, Mr. Cornelius.

    That oatmeal woman poem also cracked me up. Breakfast is considerably a rosier shade ’round here – cake and ladies!

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  8. I have such a soft spot for oatmeal, too – when I was growing up, my grandparents lived on an island, and we would often take a ferry to see them. We would always have breakfast at the ferry cafeteria, and my mother and I loved the oatmeal! Funny how foods can immediately take you back in time to an experience or a moment so many years ago,

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    1. What a wonderful memory — it reminded me of visiting Cape Cod once with my parents. There was an inn we stayed at in Sandwich that served delicious oatmeal which my mother loved (she was an ardent oatmeal fan too).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks to my friend from Ireland introducing me to Flahavan’s Oatmeal, I now have oatmeal at least 5 times a week, sometimes more. I mix it with multigrain cereal, ground flaxseed, ground chia seed, wheatgerm, wheatbran, walnuts, almonds, turmeric, cinnamon, assorted fresh fruits, beets, and molasses. Instead of a milk, I use an herbal tisane for the liquid.

    Now I’m going to go looking for the recipe for that “Barrel-Aged Oatmeal via Serious Eats”.

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    1. Wow — is there any room left in your bowl for the oatmeal? 🙂 I’ve never heard of anyone adding beets to oatmeal! You’re pretty hardcore. Thanks for the tip on Flahavan’s Oatmeal. Must research.

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      1. The beets add sweetness that also adds nutrition (I don’t use sweeteners that lack nutritive value) and count towards the five servings of vegetables I aim to get each day

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  10. What a positively delicious post! I was delighted by the Oatmeal Deluxe poem and the bottle of Maker’s Mark certainly caught my eye. Nothing like a bit of good bourbon. Thanks so much for picking me for the Emily Dickinson book! I will be in touch.

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  11. Love the poem…and the recipe, too! Will have to make that one of these days with my 3-year-old. By the way, while at a Highlights workshop, those of us in attendance were enjoying some oatmeal for breakfast and none could believe how delicious it was…so we asked the chef how he prepared it. He said instead of using water to cook the oatmeal, he used apple cider – and omigosh, you can’t imagine how good it was!!

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  12. I have been absent from the PF rounds for too many weeks, Jama. Happy to be welcomed back to Alphabet Soup in such a tasty way—feels like I was never gone! Love how Stephen Dobyns swirls such passion into his poem. And as for oatmeal, I’m not an everyday oatmeal eater, but I do like to make it in a big pot on weekends with different combinations of fruits and nuts and sweeteners. Yum!

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  13. I, too, am an oatmeal girl, Jama, even on the hottest desert summer mornings. (and some evenings, I’ve been known to eat oatmeal for dinner). I may become an oatmeal cake girl, too. Thanks, Cornelius! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, to sit at the table in Alberto Marco’s painting with a bowl of oatmeal! My toppings of choice include brown sugar, dried cranberries and walnuts, but blueberries are a nice when they’re in season. The oatmeal cake also sounds delicious. And that poem! Trouble, indeed! Thank you for sharing, Jama!

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  15. Appreciations for sharing this chuckle of a poem, Jama. Wildly inventive Stephen Dobyns is new to me, so more thanks.
    And I’ll have seconds please of this sweet & chewy, creamy & gooey, artistic & aromatic, post.

    As it so happened, today I ate oatmeal for my 2nd breakfast, out in the world,
    after my pecan granola, at home.
    Oatmeal vs. granola?
    I’m with you.
    The oatmeal won my vote.

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    1. Oh, I like the idea of a second breakfast. Are you a hobbit, by any chance? 🙂 Good to hear the oatmeal topped out the pecan granola (which does sound good too).

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  16. I’ll eat a couple of bites of hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat, etc) but it’s still not something I like at all. (Much to my father’s dismay – he’s definitely an Oatmeal Devotee.) I prefer my oats to be IN things – like the oatmeal pancakes. *g* Or oatmeal bread, oatmeal cookies, as part of granola, etc.

    But my daughter and I still absolutely adore those oatmeal pancakes you posted about several years back. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I should send the three bears over to your house to convince you to eat some porridge. Good to hear you and your daughter still like the pancakes — I still make them every now and then and continue to pass on the recipe to friends, all of whom end up loving them too.

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  17. We call it porridge. 🙂 And love it – especially made on milk. But we enjoy our rolled oats so much that we mix our own topper (with nuts, bran, coconut, assorted fruit & seeds etc) to enhance our staple wheatbix every summer morning, too. Oooh… But Debbie mentions oatmeal pancakes. I can see I need to do a scrummage around your blog. They sound lovely. As does this cake! Simmering summer or no, I think the time is right to try it. 🙂

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  18. I couldn’t quite concentrate after the 300 (!!!300!!!) bears…

    But back to the oatmeal…I think I’ll use ours for apple crisp topping this weekend!

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  19. Those Too Hot, Too Cold bowls are so adorable! I’m not a big breakfast eater – mostly because I’m barely functioning in the morning and the idea of doing anything more than pouring coffee in a cup is hard to handle! I’m a big fan of breakfast for dinner though and I love the idea of this Oatmeal cake! I’m a big fan of anything with pecans.

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    1. Wish those bowls were still available for purchase. Love them too! I’m not a morning person either which is part of the appeal of oatmeal — easy and satisfying. 🙂

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  20. Love the poem and all the discussion of oatmeal. My husband is fond of quoting the Galway Kinnell poem about eating oatmeal for breakfast. He and I disagree on how we like our oatmeal, though. He starts with the oats in cold water so the oatmeal is mushy, while I toss the oats into already boiling water so they keep some of their chewiness when the oatmeal is ready. As a result, we rarely have oatmeal for breakfast any more! Maybe the oatmeal cake will be a good compromise. Worth a try, anyway! 😉

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    1. Must say I’m with you — don’t like mushy oatmeal (is that an oxymoron?) 🙂 When you add the oats to cold water by the time it’s cooked it also gets a little pasty.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I grew up with slow cooked oatmeal, love it still occasionally, and usually get the Scotch Blend, mostly for granola though 🙂 Definitely want to make that cake! Your post is a lovely ode to oatmeal.

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  22. Well, I didn’t expect the direction that poem went – Ha!
    Oatmeal is such a wonderful comfort food. I can’t wait to try Mr. C’s cake! Yum. And I do love McCann’s Irish Oats – mmmmm.
    Re. Bear dusting, seems you could do one a day, weekends off, and they’d each get dusted once a year? I think. (English major…!) Valentine XOs to you and all bears.

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    1. Too bad bears can’t dust themselves. Many of them are in storage in the basement — this cuts down on my workload. Mr. C is lucky he’s small and rarely gets dusty because he’s handled so much.

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  23. Oatmeal cake and that photo of bourbon and oats caught my eye. I love oatmeal and have it most mornings, too — though poached eggs are a current obsession.

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  24. We start our mornings ha with oatmeal 5 days out of 7 on average. Love this post and the portraits are lovely. Thank you for your nice comment on my blog 😘

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  25. I am baffled about all the breakfast cereal comments when clearly the main topic here must be the slightly shocking, slightly perverse molding –and then licking–of a woman made of oatmeal! Perhaps she is the counterpart of such bog mummies as the Lindow Man–and yet the poem ends with a clear emotional message. Nicely done, weirdo Mr. Dobyns. : ) Nice find, Ms. Jama.

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  26. Great post! I am a latecomer to enjoying oatmeal, starting with overnight oats but I do have it now fairly regularly and always doctored up with lots of fruits and nuts and alternative milks. 😉 Your cake looks delicious and I adore that Greg Abbott ‘Porridge’ picture–so cute! 🙂

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