“You are at the point in your life where fiber is your friend,” said Laura, the dietician.
At what point in your life do you really want to hear those words?
In my early twenties, every time the family would gather, the generations above me would discuss their ailments and the efficiencies of their bathroom habits.
I wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and say, “la, la, la, la, la, la…”
Can we ignore genetics?
Laura handed me a list of high fiber foods and discussed the difference between soluble and non-soluble fiber. Since my mind slipped into the fog of denial after the fiber is your friend statement, the brochure came in handy.
“So how did it go with the dietician?” asked Richard.
I handed him the brochure.
“That well, huh?”
“Richard, we need to go over the list and agree on what we will both eat then go to the grocery store and stock up.”
With my mind fogging over, I missed it when Laura said, “Increase the fiber over time and drink plenty of fluids.”
Let’s just say, experience remains the best teacher.
Our breakfast now revolves around oatmeal. Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, not just for cookies anymore.
A few weeks later, some friends of ours invited us for a weekend of fishing in Canada. We rented a quaint hunting cabin circa 1950 in the hamlet of Harvie Heights outside of Banff National Park. When we arrived we met at Safeway and purchased our groceries for the weekend.
In Canada, they sell Quaker Oats by the kilo wrapped in paper bricks not our traditional cylindrical box.
Our domestic oatmeal cooks in just five minutes.
The kilo brick’s cooking instructions said, “cooks in 10 to 15 minutes”.
We tried it.
As the oatmeal cooked, the cabin filled with the aroma of roasted nuts. By the end of the requisite 15 minutes of cooking, four hungry souls consumed oatmeal. Not even the famed steel cut oatmeal could come close to the flavor or texture.
Before we left town we purchased every bag left on the store shelf.
It was on sale, two for four dollars with our Safeway club card.
When we started to run low, we went online to Quaker’s website, http://www.quakeroats.com, and asked if we could purchase the Canadian version in the U.S. We never received a response.
We searched all of our local stores. We tried every long cooking oatmeal we could find, nothing approached the flavor or texture.
Thus began our clandestine quarterly oatmeal run over the Canadian Border. We felt like the rum runners from prohibition days. Each time we passed through customs, the agents would just laugh at us.
“Do you have anything to declare?”
“Oatmeal, that’s it?”
“Here is the receipt.”
Handing the receipt back to Richard the custom agents would say, “Have a nice day.”
We even made the watch list.
After two years, we made friends with the manager the Tillicum Safeway in Victoria, BC. We would place our order a week ahead of time. They would have a case or two waiting for us when we got there.
I called them two weeks ago.
The Manager said, “Fannie, I am so sorry. Quaker has discontinued the 10 to 15 minute Oats. They are replacing it with the four to five minute oats. We only have one bag left of the 10 to 15 minutes, do you want it?”
I felt as though he told me the rabbit died.
“No, that’s okay, thanks for letting me know.”
We ate the five minute oatmeal. By this time, it tasted like home made paste.
Last Sunday we went into Trader Joe’s on a whim. There in the breakfast cereal aisle sat a “New Item”, Trader Joe’s 10 to 20 minute cooking oats. We read the package. In the middle of the back panel it read, “Product of Canada”.
Could it be?
Once home, we pulled out our designated oatmeal pan, brought the water to a boil, added the oats then waited for the smell.
The air filled with a faint hint of cinnamon. Not what we expected.
While not the nutty flavor we craved, the hint of cinnamon complimented the richness we missed with the home grown version.
Thank you Trader Joe’s, because flavorful fiber is our friend.