It seems November has arrived for good. The light is different, suddenly, the trees stark, the sky a bleak, gray blanket over the woods. The chimney churns out smoke at a steady pace, filling the neighborhood with a thick, cozy, scent.
It is time to buckle down. The forays of Indian summer are past; the weather is contemplative, stern. The oats have bidden their time through strawberries and peaches, melons and apples, and this morning, finally, I returned for them.
They were patient grains—still sturdy and whole after a season's rest, still good from the 20 pound bag I bought last February by mail. They came from a farm in Maine, Wood Prairie Farm, along with the beans and flour and a few packets of seed. They were round, robust, the kind of oat with chew and a resonating wholesomeness of sorts. We ate them nearly every morning last spring, cooked in milk and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and then out the door to another frosty day.
Today, I managed to make them while holding on to the season. I cooked them in milk, gently, added cinnamon and nutmeg, and finally stirred in a good dollop of homemade applesauce to the cooling pot. The fruit blended seamlessly into the porridge, and I sat down to put in a good day's work.
APPLESAUCE & OATS
Heat up 1 cup milk until hot and steaming (do not boil). Add 1/2 cup oats, and stir, bringing to a gentle boil. Let cook 5-10 minutes, or until oats and milk become a thick porridge. Turn off heat, and stir in a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, and 1/4 cup applesauce. Top with cream and cinnamon sugar to taste; enjoy hot.