“I can’t believe how good this oatmeal tastes,” I said enthusiastically yesterday at work.
“Ooh, what did you put in it?” Lauren asked.
“Nothing,” I shrugged. “I just followed the directions on the box for the first time.”
OK, let’s back up.
Typically I eat cream of wheat or oatmeal everyday for lunch at work because it’s instant gratification and I can barely handle much else, other than slopping some fruit salad (pre-made by Henry) into a tupperware thing and praying that it doesn’t leak in my bag on the way to work.
If I’m feeling particularly whimsical, I will add some sprinkles to it. If Gayle has honey at work, I might add that too. Usually I have a bruised banana that will find its way into the hot slop, too.
I always tell Henry when it’s time to buy me more instant cereal for work, but sometimes — this is going to be hard to fathom for some so make sure you swallow first if you’re eating or drinking — I will go to CVS during my lunch break and buy it myself.
I CAN DO THAT!
Recently, something crazy was going on with me and I tagged along with Henry to the boring grocery store (as opposed to the magical Asian markets, which I happily visit every weekend). I knew that I needed to restock on my work lunch stash, so I bought kids oatmeal (complete with dinosaur eggs, thank you) and some healthy oatmeal thing that had flax seed and whatever in it.
Turns out, that healthy oatmeal is a kind that I’ve bought before and I HATE IT! It turns out so watery, basically just warm cloudy water with grain things floating in it. Disgusting! Two days in a row I suffered through this sad-sack lunch, complaining about it at length to Glenn who had the Don’t Care glaze over his eyes, until something occurred to me yesterday.
“Maybe I should try to make it the way the box says to make it,” I said mostly to myself, reading the directions at my desk.
“Well, how have you been making it?” Glenn asked hesitantly, probably wishing he could recall his question.
“Well, I dump it into my mug and then fill it up with the hot water from the spout on the coffee maker,” I said. “But then it just stays watery! Nothing happens!”
“Oh my god,” Glenn mumbled, and I couldn’t tell if that meant he was shocked my method didn’t work, or if he had just looked at a really great picture of G-Dragon.
So in the kitchen, I followed directions. I dumped the oatmeal into my cup. I filled the now-empty paper oatmeal pouch up to the line with water (not from the hot water thingie though – I’m not that dumb, you guys! Plus there is a warning sticker on it). Then I poured it over top the oatmeal and baked it in the microwave for two minutes.
And it exploded like a fucking 5th grader’s volcano science project. I had to take the glass thingie out of the microwave and clean it, ugh! Aaron walked by when this was happening and I sheepishly said, “I made a mess…”
“Is that your banana tea?” he asked, because one time he saw me cutting up a banana in the kitchen (with a plastic knife, don’t worry) and putting it in my coffee cup and then for the next year, he secretly thought I was literally adding bananas to my tea and expressed his concern (and disgust, probably) to Jeannie, who later told me about it and we had a great laugh.
Ugh, yes it’s my banana tea.
After I cleaned up the mess (burning my hand in the process), I took the remnants back to my desk and was amazed at how wonderful it tasted!
Glenn said I should have taken it out of the microwave every 30 seconds to stir it.
“Well, how would I know to do that if it doesn’t say on the box?” I cried, and he went back to trolling comment sections on fake news sites.
Later, I struggled to get the burnt oatmeal off my Goonies mug and considered just throwing it out and getting a new one, but then Gayle was like, “Just soak it….?” and hello, I know about that dish-washing secret, but the oatmeal was caked to the OUTSIDE of the cup too. I ended up just scrubbing it really hard and now my wrist hurts and I need to blame someone for this but I haven’t decided who yet. Probably Henry for not training me to be a grown-up, which by the way, he threatened to do over the weekend “in case something happens.” Something happens? Like he grows a pair and leaves?! Monica said she always just assumed Chooch and I would just move into Chez Chronica if that happens, kind of like she and Chris are our godparents.
I still should just get a new mug though. A G-Dragon one!
Today, I remembered Glenn’s sage cooking advice and stalked the microwave, stopping it every thirty seconds and giving the oatmeal a good stir.
With 45 seconds to go, I had a bad feeling. I could sense something wasn’t right, so I stopped it before the timer got to 30 and IT HAD OVERFLOWN AGAIN!!!!
Another day of cleaning the microwave! UGH. Where is Barb when I need her?!
Still though, it’s amazing how wonderful food tastes when you follow directions.
“Did the instructions give you options based on the microwave wattage?” Henry asked me on the way home from work, as we sat in traffic for an hour and he tried to resign from being my chauffeur.
“Huh?” I asked, scrolling through my Spotify kpop playlist.
“Never mind,” Henry sighed. But then he had the audacity to ask me if I was trying to microwave the oatmeal IN THE POUCH, like I’m so dumb that I didn’t know to dump everything into a cup or bowl first, I AM SO INSULTED.
“It was so weird, it looked like it expanded somehow!” I gushed, as though I was telling the Story of Oatmeal for the very first time, to a bunch of pioneer people sitting on logs around a cauldron.
“That’s because it literally did expand. It absorbed the water, you idiot,” Henry sighed.
WOW. No need for name-calling!
“Anyway, who knew oatmeal needed to be baked. I guess I’m a baker now.”
“You’re not a baker. You cooked it in a microwave.”
I’m going to try and bake other things in the microwave this weekend. Baked beans, probably.