It was inevitable, with all the hacking and sneezing and wheezing going on, that yes, I too would get sick. I knew it was coming, especially after adopting such a smug attitude towards all those poor souls whose noses were buried in wads of Kleenex. And with such perfect timing, too, this being the first week of spring semester. So now here I am, following the age-old advice to “feed a cold,” by slamming Airborne and orange juice, popping Advil left and right. My face hurts too much to wash it, the skin mysteriously hyper-sensitive.
The good news in all of this though, is that miraculously, my taste buds are still (for the most part) intact. So when I finally managed to crawl out of bed this morning my stomach, scarred from the acidity of all the citrus juices I’ve been drinking lately, cried out for something warm and soothing.
And that’s exactly what it got.
I decided to make oatmeal, but not just your run-of-the-mill, boring oatmeal. Oh no, this one was made even more soothing with a combination of vanilla bean and maple syrup. The sweet-yet-not-sugary-ness of the maple syrup, plus the smoothness of those tiny black flecks of vanilla proved to be the perfect antidote to the bitter tang of my mandatory orange-grapefruit juice elixir. Just a touch of butter lent a velvety texture as well — when does butter not make things better?
So try this one when you’re feeling sick or just need something warm to counter these still-chilly January mornings.
Soothing Vanilla Maple Oatmeal
1.5 cup oats or multi-grain cereal of your choice
1 cup water
1 tbsp. butter
the seeds from half a vanilla bean
4 tbsp. maple syrup (this is a rough estimate)
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
Combine the oats, water and butter in a small saucepan. On the stove, cook over high heat until the butter is mostly melted.
Add in the vanilla and maple syrup and stir.
Continue to cook until it comes to a boil.
Lower the heat and let it simmer for about five minutes, until the oats are cooked through and soft (the consistency of mine was a little soupy, actually).
Serve with a garnish of the cinnamon and nutmeg.