Season Straddling

I love the shoulder seasons — the transitional time between one season and the next. In terms of traveling, it’s when hotels and restaurants discount their rates because traffic is slower.

In the food world, it means you can combine the last of one season’s gifts with the next season’s emerging bounty.

That’s why you see a bowl of steaming oatmeal (what, you don’t see the steam?) topped with juicy, ripe, end of season peaches and plump blackberries. The toasted walnuts and oatmeal belong to the fall.

I like instant oatmeal because it only it takes an instant instead of minutes to make. Instant oatmeal is whole oats that have been cut finer to cook quicker. Although I’m splitting hairs here: it doesn’t take much time to cook either.

Nutritionally, they are the same. Where things get off kilter is buying the flavored instant oatmeal packages, (like my favorite, maple & brown sugar) because these flavored ones have added sugar, salt, and other natural and not so natural additives.

If you buy plain old-fashioned oats, or plain quick cooking oats, there is no difference in nutritional content. (Before you dietitians jump on me, telling me that whole oats are in fact better than chopped-up whole oats because by definition they take longer to digest, I say: prove it.)

But I’m getting off point here. My point is that this is a wonderful time to mix summer with fall ingredients, and get the best of both seasons.

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