Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oat and About Chicago...

Whatever you think of the name, keep in mind that choice B was “Bloatmeal.” I actually love it, so thanks to my friend JD for coming up with that one. (He originally suggested “Oat ‘n’ About Chicago,” but I am a Grouchy Grammarian—which will make it very embarrassing when I make the inevitable grammatical error.) But my English Lit major/fellow bibliophile/dear friend EH has graciously volunteered to proofread everything, so please address all complaints to her. She doesn’t like oatmeal (I KNOW!), so she claims that fact will make her “objective.” I think that just makes her “soulless.”

Anyway, the story behind this blog is this: I started eating oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day about 8 months ago. I work at a desk job in downtown Chicago, so I need something that can be easily transported and quickly made, while still being fairly inexpensive and filling. I originally started with Quaker Instant Oatmeal (linked for the no one among you who isn’t familiar with it), but I found that I ate one serving in about 12 seconds and was hungry again 20 minutes later. So then I bought a big ol’ can of this stuff (except I got the generic brand…hey, I’m on a budget, and our sales tax is about 97%), and I started making a big batch on Sunday nights, dividing it up into little containers, and then grabbing one every morning. I have alternated between adding peanut butter, Nutella, dried fruit, and nuts, among other things (because, let’s face it, oatmeal on its own is generally rather bland), but about 95% of the time I go for a little brown sugar and roughly 57 teaspoons of cinnamon. I had been doing that for several months when I realized that many quick-service restaurants in downtown Chicago ALSO serve oatmeal, so I started trying them, too. Once I had sampled about four different locations, I realized that there was no definitive Ultimate Oatmeal: each had some pros and cons, but none stuck out as The Best and Fairest of Them All. So the accountant nerd in me decided to make a spreadsheet breaking down and comparing all of the different elements of each oatmeal offering (obviously by establishing some sort of overly complex logarithmic point system), thereby proving infallibly which was the Greatest Oatmeal Ever and winning my $3-ish every once a week or so. Then my friend JM, who has been telling me I should start a blog for at least a year (because I’m “so weird”), suggested I blog about it, because everyone wants to read about oatmeal at least once a day. A quick Google search for “Oatmeal Blogs” determined that no one has (yet) done this SPECIFIC thing, so three months later I finally worked up the courage to fill this blogging void, and here we are.

What I will do is try lots of different oatmeals and then grade their various aspects on what will probably be a ten point scale (but it’s my blog, so that’ll change at my whim). I will be critiquing the following factors (components? elements? finer points? who cares?):

  • Price (I’m cheap.)
  • Size (I’m hungry.)
  • Toppings (What is available, how much, etc.)
  • Temperature (My early analysis has determined that this is a significant problem, surprisingly…apparently keeping oatmeal hot is very difficult.)
  • Texture (Not like snot, please.)
  • General appearance/presentation (No one wants their oatmeal to look like a horse just puked.)
  • Nutrition information (if available).
  • Intangibles (Potential for major pointage here.)
  • (I use parenthetical expressions too much.)

I currently have a list of about 8 or 10 places I want to try, so suggestions for more are welcome. I probably will also try oatmeal-based recipes (baked oatmeal, etc.), so those are welcome too. I promise I’ll actually write something about oatmeal soon, but in the meantime…I hope your day is a little better than this guy's.


  1. omg the poor CAT!!!!!!! PS Mary, you are hilarious.

  2. I would have gone with "So weird" :)

    Keep the sarcasm coming.

  3. Agreed, Mary is hilarious! I'm very excited about this blog. :)

  4. this blows. i hate oatmeal.