As the Fashion Editor of a daily newspaper, I’ve encountered many fashion writers and lovers of fashion and I’m always amazed at how much they love food. Love to talk about it, sample it, experiment with and devour it. Even models are surprisingly hearty eaters.
Not hearty by typical American standards but passionate about food. It’s a great common denominator, even if the topic of green smoothie recipes rambles on for longer than my enthusiasm can sustain.
Anyway, our food writer recently resigned and left a void. His replacement has arrived but in his wake, the section editors asked if any of us had an idea for a food cover. I love to cook quirky things so I rattled off three ideas and my boss liked my suggestion of savory oatmeal.
Everyone else said, “say what?” I explained that I recently started putting curry and garlic in my oatmeal and preparing it for dinner.
This was greeted with silence but everyone’s face was scrunched up in a manner that led me to believe that they wouldn’t be accepting invitations to dinner at my place anytime soon.
I was undaunted. Not because I’m such a great cook, but I do simple and tasty very well. And savory oatmeal is fabulously simple.
In my first-ever food cover, “The Secret Savory Side of Oatmeal” (it’s really rare, but I came up with the headline before I started the story), I began with this confession:
It takes a little courage the first time you sauté onions with Indian spices and mix them into your oatmeal, but the queasy feeling passes. I promise.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t an instant convert. It felt like sacrilege. Violating your childhood treat with veggies and soy sauce still feels a bit … well, unsavory, but I’d like to change that. At a recent dinner, I served a curried steel-cut oatmeal dish with chicken and mixed peppers, but I waited until everyone applauded the texture and flavors before I confessed that “oh, by the way … that’s not quinoa.”
No one complained, but there was a momentary look of dread in which you could see them pondering the question of whether to feel sick.
Suggesting roasted meat, red peppers and oatmeal to the uninitiated can seem as far-fetched as recommending spinach on a PB&J. However, despite its distinct breakfast connotation, oatmeal is just a grain.
Correction: It’s one of the least expensive whole grain options you can buy. And now you can buy bulk because you can use it sweet or savory. Oatmeal pancakes today, oatmeal jambalaya the next. To read the rest of the story and see recipes click here.
The reaction to the story was shock and awe. My favorite comment came from one of our sports editors with a manly man palate who said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever eaten oatmeal with a fork. It was really good. Who knew?”
I was happy to rest my case for savory oatmeal on my laurels. Who says fashion and food don’t mix.
Photos by Stephanie Cordle
Note: It should not go without saying that this was the yummiest photo shoot I’ve ever taken part in. I prepared the food, but Stephanie styled all the ingredients to compliment the dishes.
Afterwards, we ate and shared the leftovers and I am proud that everyone became an instant savory oatmeal convert. In the weeks following the story, at least two co-workers called me genius.
I posted this on Facebook with the retort, “you’re welcome Oatmeal Council of America.” If there was such a thing, I think I’d probably get a reward.
Click the pages below to enlarge or read the story here at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Detroit Free Press, The Sacramento Bee, Providence Journal (R.I.), The Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada), Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.), The Buffalo News (Buffalo, N.Y.), Times Herald-Record (Hudson Valley, N.Y.), The Press of Atlantic City, Aberdeen News (South Dakota), Monterey County Herald (Calif.), Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.), Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.), The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.), Standard-Times (San Angelo, Tex.), Reporter-Herald (Loveland, Colo.), Lima News (Lima, Ohio), The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.), The Ledger (Lakeland, Fl.), Abilene Reporter-News (Texas), The Sentinel (Hanford, Calif.); Valley News (White River Junction, Vt.), The Olympian (Olympia, Wash.), The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.), The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Penn.), Ames Tribune (Ames, Iowa), The Daily World (Aberdeen, Wash.), Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine), The Jacksonville Journal-Courier (Ill.), Tulsa World (Okla.), Sioux City Journal (Iowa), Naples Daily News (Fla.), St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.), The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, Calif.), York Daily Record (York, Penn.), The Grand Island Independent (Neb.), Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Neb.), Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.), Albuquerque Journal (N.M.), Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock, Ark.).