Oatmeal is said to lower cholesterol after daily, extended use. Many claim that it can increase the production of breast milk in lactating mothers, although this has not been medically proven.
Oatmeal has been around for as long as recorded history. The Chinese wrote about it as far back as 7000 B.C.E. The ancient Greeks made oatmeal into a hot cereal thousands of years later. In American history, oatmeal is the product of several milling companies that combined to create a brand that would later be called "Quaker Oats." Quaker Oats is the most popular oatmeal, and it was created in 1901. It uses oats that, when added with boiling water, become a porridge.
There are four types of oatmeal, all of which are ground. The first type is regular oats, which are oats with the hulls removed. The second type is steel-cut oats, which are oats that are cut into halves. The third type is rolled oats, which are steamed and rolled slightly. The fourth type is quick rolled oats, which are steamed, rolled and cut into halves.
The most popular use for oatmeal is as a porridge, but it can also be used as the main ingredient in cookies. Another popular use for oatmeal in the kitchen is as a thickener. Many people grind up the oatmeal even further and add it to meats as a flavorful substitute for bread crumbs. Wet oatmeal can also be rubbed on the skin as a smoother, and oatmeal is used as an ingredient in exfoliators.
Oatmeal has a long history in Scottish culinary tradition because oats are better suited than wheat to Scotland's short, wet growing season. Oats became the staple grain of that country. The Ancient universities of Scotland had a holiday called Meal Monday to permit students to return to their farms and collect more oats for food.
Samuel Johnson referred, disparagingly, to this in his dictionary definition for oats: "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people." His biographer, James Boswell, noted that Lord Elibank was said by Sir Walter Scott to have retorted, "Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?"
A common method of cooking oatmeal in Scotland is to soak it overnight in salted water and cook on a low heat in the morning for a few minutes until the mixture thickens.
In Scotland, oatmeal is created by grinding oats into a coarse powder. Various grades are available depending on the thoroughness of the grinding, including Coarse, Pin(head) and Fine oatmeal.
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