In the half light of early morning, at the first blush of the eastern sky, stand in the kitchen in slippered feet and hold a kettle under a stream of ice cold water. Flip the whistle-lid in place and set it over the blue back-burner flame.
Here sets the day in motion. Here it begins. No place for fancy or complicated, here's for stretches and yawns, for wholesome and simple and good.
At the pop and hiss, at the sounds of heat rising through water, scoop coarsely ground, dry rolled oats into a bowl. Pour over them steaming hot water. Stir for a moment until all clumps are gone, then place a saucer-as-lid over top and leave it be while you honey and cream your tea (or froth the milk for coffee?)
In a handful of minutes, a bowl of hot, creamy oatmeal will be waiting just for you.
Into its middle, plunge a honey-dipped spoon and, if you're feeling fancy, let a curl of butter melt on top. A drizzle of cold milk, stirred in with a spoonful of chia seeds and a handful of dried cranberries finishes it just in time to begin. The word instant comes to mind, but seems too artificial to describe it. Maybe prompt, swift, or speedy would be better. Or how about quick?
Quick Creamy Oatmeal adapted from The Homemade Pantry
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Preheat oven to 325°. Spread oats on a baking sheet and toast for 20 minutes.
In the bowl of a food processor,* combine the toasted oats and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse powder.
Pour mixture into an air-tight jar or container and top with the lid.
To make oatmeal, pour 1/2 cup dry mixture into a cereal bowl, add 3/4 cup boiling water, and stir. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Remove cover and add a drizzle of cream or milk, a small pat of fresh butter, dried or fresh fruit and nuts and your sweetner of choice.
Oatmeal mix keeps in a covered container at room temperature for 4 weeks, in the refrigerator for 3 months, or in the freezer for 6 months.
*If you don't have much experience with one, the idea of owning a food processor can seem daunting, confusing, or maybe even unnecessary. I understand. But, I have to say, when I made the list of what kitchen tools would remain in my repertoire here in the little house, my food processor made the cut without hesitation. If you're curious, this is the one I've had for 15 years and highly recommend. My humble opinion: anything smaller, and it won't be as widely useful.