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CULINARY SOS

Oats a la Grandma

January 28, 1998|ROSE DOSTI

DEAR SOS: Several times while having oatmeal for breakfast in a hotel dining room, I noticed that it was absolutely delicious. It does not taste the same when made at home according to box directions. I have tried toasting the oats first, adding to the water before and after boiling, but to no avail.

MRS. C.C.

DEAR MRS. C.C.: I posed this seemingly simple dilemma to a group of savvy members of the Flintridge Women's Auxiliary at a speaking engagement in La Canada Flintridge. The overwhelming consensus was that Marston's restaurant in Pasadena served superior oatmeal.

We wrote to owner Sally Marston and found, to our great surprise, that the oatmeal everyone raved about was as simple as the directions on the box of oatmeal, with a crucial difference. The oatmeal is made, not with water, as called for in most packaged oatmeal instructions, but with low-fat milk and half and half, giving the oatmeal its creamy richness.

Sally's husband, Otis, credits his grandmother with the recipe on the menu, where it is listed as Grandma's Hot Oatmeal "like you've never had before." Here is Marston's recipe, the kind of oatmeal we can now make at home.

OTIS' OATMEAL

1 3/4 pounds (3 1/2 cups) old-fashioned oats

2 cups low-fat milk

3 cups half and half

Whipping cream, optional

Raisins, optional

Brown sugar, optional

Do not use instant oats for this recipe. Oatmeal can also be topped with sliced bananas, strawberries or mixed unsalted nuts.

Cook oats, milk and half and half in heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until oatmeal comes to rolling boil. Stir and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until oatmeal is desired consistency, about 5 minutes.

Serve with whipping cream, raisins and brown sugar as desired.

6 to 8 servings. Each of 8 servings without whipping cream, raisins or brown sugar:

283 calories; 74 mg sodium; 36 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 31 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 0.39 gram fiber.

* Plates and tea towel from Bristol Kitchens, South Pasadena.

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