The real flavor of old-school oats.
By Ari Weinzweig
The colonial oats we cook up at the Roadhouse for breakfast every day are another great product—like the grits, Carolina Gold rice, and polenta that we get from Anson Mills. As with all the Anson Mills offerings, these are new crop oats—the seasonality means fresher, more flavorful product. Anson Millsalso toasts the oats, which founder Glenn Roberts says, “produces a burst of spicy caramel alongside a light, clean backdrop of fresh oat flavor.”
Unlike commercially available oatmeals, these old-school oats still have natural oils intact, increasing the flavor. Hulled, toasted and hand-milled the same day they’re shipped—they’re stone milled, or as Glenn says, “stone-cut,” because the old-style mill stones actually cut the grain, not crush it. The oats are sent to us on refrigerated trucks, then stored in the freezer until we cook them. This variety of oats and the approach to milling them dates back to colonial times. These old, pre-industrial varieties are much taller than modern ones—industrial growers prefer short stalks, which are safer in windy weather, but the taller, older varieties contribute more to soil health and produce much more flavorful oats! They’re very much what an artisan American miller in the 17th-century would have had for his own breakfast.
Generally, we offer the oatmeal with traditional, soft, full-flavored Muscovado brown sugar, but raisins, milk, or sorghum syrup are great, too!
If you want, though, you can take a bit of a different route when you come in. Being more of a savory eater than sweet, I got a lot more interested in eating oatmeal when I learned about the Ojibwe style of eating it from my friend Meg Noodin. Skip the brown sugar and ask your server for some bacon fat and chopped bacon!
Whatever you put on top, it’s a special way to start the day. As the folks at Anson Mills say, “behold the phenomenon of real fresh oats.”