In New England’s icy winter, you can’t underestimate the importance of oatmeal. It warms you up inside and lowers your center of gravity for safer transit across unscraped sidewalks and unplowed streets. I was pleased to note the addition of oatmeal to the Starbucks breakfast lineup. In addition to the basic mush, you can add dried fruit, nuts and/or brown sugar. You can’t add the things I would most like to add, but I might not be very typical here. Those things are salt, butter and/or sharp cheddar cheese if you’re keeping track. Or maybe broiled salmon. I ordered up a cup of plain to check it out.

I saw the barista dump the contents of a paper packet into a cup and add hot water. I guess I shouldn’t have expected a ladlefull from a crock. I was advised to let it sit for a while. I’m not sure why or just how long a while is in this case. I gave it a teabag-like three minutes and popped it open. Looks good. Smells ok. Could be hotter – maybe I let it sit too long. It passed the first spoon test – the spoon stood up – but failed the second when the oatmeal dribbled out of the spoon like thick soup. Texture-wise, I would have preferred something you could eat with a fork. It tasted good enough, but I couldn’t shake the desire for some salt. De gustibus, you know.