Top Pick Of The Week

February 26, 2008

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Ready for breakfast: crunchy, textured oatmeal topped with brown sugar. Photography by Claire Freierman.

WHAT IT IS: “Gourmet” oatmeal.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: A blend of oatmeal and six other whole grains creates great texture and flavor—a world apart from Quaker Oats and other brands.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The texture and the taste— Cranberry Almond Oatmeal, for example, is not redolent of cherries and almonds. There’s just a nice, subtle touch.

Holly’s Oatmeal:
Perfect Porridge

CAPSULE REPORT: Some foods are thought of as commodities—they all taste pretty much the same, most people think, so it doesn’t matter what brand you buy. Of course, there are big differences in everything, from water to cider vinegar to mustard. That’s why we were so happy to come across Holly’s Oatmeal, which has replaced the other oatmeals in our pantry (conveniently during February, National Oatmeal Month). Those people who are always looking for the next tastiest oatmeal will rush to try it. Those who just feel so-so about oatmeal but eat it for its heart-healthy and whole-grain benefits (it’s a good fiber food) will want to see what “gourmet” oatmeal tastes like.

We eat lots of oatmeal and rolled oats—from the ubiquitous Quaker Oats to imports like McCann’s Irish Oatmeal to products found in the health food aisles. It’s comfort food for us, and with our first bite of Holly’s, oatmeal became even more comforting—flavorful and firm-textured. The secret is the addition of other whole grains to the oats. There are currently three varieties: two with antioxidant add-ins (Cranberry Almond and Goji Berry) and Gluten-Free. The packaging is so cute, you can give oatmeal gifts. If your mother made you eat oatmeal and you didn’t like the mush, try Holly’s. Read the full review below to learn more, including how you can eat healthier and happier, plus the difference between crushed oats, rolled oats and steel-cut oats.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.


Enjoy More Whole Grain Foods

The New Whole Grains Cookbook Whole Grains Every Day King Arthur Flour
The New Whole Grains Cookbook: Terrific Recipes Using Farro, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Barley, and Many Others, by Robin Asbell. “No grain is left unturned” in this recipe book, which covers everything from breakfast to dessert. Click here for more information or to purchase.
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way, by Lorna Sass. A thorough primer on whole grains, including detailed profiles and simple cooking instructions for each. Great recipes for soups and salads, main courses, side dishes, breakfast foods and desserts. Click here for more information or to purchase.
King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking: Delicious Recipes Using Nutritious Whole Grains, by King Arthur Flour. The manufacturers of fine flours have assembled 400 tempting, delicious and foolproof recipes with detailed nutritional information. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Holly’s Oatmeals: Perfect Porridge




Oatmeal is a porridge made of coarsely-ground, unsifted oats. Porridge, in case you read through all of those childhood fairy tales without a true understanding of the word, is a soft food made of oatmeal, or other cereals, boiled to a thick consistency in water or milk. Gruel, a word well-known to those readers of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, is a thin, watery porridge fed to those not affluent or deserving enough for the good stuff.

Early in our language, “porridge” referred to a soup of meat and vegetables, from the Middle English porreie (which derived from Old French poree, leek soup, via the Latin porrum, leek). The first record we have that associates porridge with oatmeal is a Scottish reference from 1643. Scotland was a big oat-growing country—the climate favors oats over corn and wheat. Since then, oatmeal has become a favorite breakfast food in the United Kingdom and the United States, although only one in five Americans eat it, according to the NPD Group, an independent research firm. Athletes and diabetics eat oatmeal for its high content of complex carbohydrates and fiber, which abet slow digestion and stable blood-glucose levels. The baby boomer population should be eating more of it—for its whole-grain fiber and heart-healthy ability to reduce cholesterol. Kids should eat it instead of less-nutritious breakfast cereals or childhood-obesity-inducing breakfast pastries. Oatmeal, warm and comforting, can be dressed up in so many ways (see our chart, below).

Yet despite all of these developments, the proportion of Americans who eat oatmeal for breakfast has not changed in 20 years. Holly DiMauro, creator of Holly’s Oatmeal, is attempting to change the tide a bit, by creating oatmeal products that are both tastier and more fun.


Continue To Page 2: Different Types Of Oats

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