We've run out of oatmeal. Normally not a big deal, but this was really good oatmeal and we can't get it anymore because the four-hundred year old water mill that made it is closed for the winter. These oats were ground on a big-ass millstone powered by the stream that ran past the mill. We even got to watch the oats being ground and bagged. The miller would scoop them into each bag, carefully apply a bead of Elmer's glue to the opening and hold it shut for a few moments before moving on to the next bag. I'll say it again. It was good oatmeal. The bar has been set very high.
So now we're oatless, as I said, and we're at the grocery store. I left Brenna in the wine aisle and ran over to the oat aisle. Remember, this is Scotland -- I had choices. Many, many choices. I stood back and surveyed, but each time I thought I'd made a decision, I would remember the sound of the water driving the millstone and the smell of the oats and grain hanging in the air of mill. No one lovingly scooped any of these oats into any of these bags. How could they possibly be as good?
My kitsch factor fave was Scott's Porage Oat's. On the box is a drawing of a shot-putting kilt clad Scotsman. The problem was that there's no way we would have finished the huge box before we left Scotland. I thought of dumping out one of Brenna's toiletry kits and filling it up with the leftovers. They probably would have lasted until we hit Italy this spring, but I figured a smaller box might be a better idea.
I zeroed in on a candidate and was about to pick up the box, when I heard a Scottish voice say to his wife, "Is this the one?" as he grabbed a bag of oats. I recoiled from my obviously inferior selection and pretended to be reading the tampon box in my cart while I peered over to see what brand he'd picked. He's a Scotsman, it had to be the right choice.
I'd no more than reached for the bag when a woman, obviously confident in her oats, rolled past me to pick out a different brand. Again I quickly stepped back. Now what the hell do I do? I kid you not, I had oat anxiety. Before I could choose again, a scrum of oat buyers pushed through. There was a run on oats in Tesco. I waited until they cleared the aisle -- I just wasn't confident enough in my choice and I didn't want to look like an amateur. Again, this is Scotland and oats are not to be trifled with.
About now I was wishing I had an iPhone. I could have hidden in any of the pickled onion aisles while I Googled, "Best porridge oats review."
I finally grabbed a bag without looking and moved back to the more familiar wine aisle with Brenna. My oatmeal is the Tesco store brand.
When I got home I did that Google search. I should have gone with the Scott's Porage Oat's.