When I stayed with my friend Lin in Colorado for Thanksgiving break, I discovered a little known truth about oatmeal.
--- Nov 26, Lin's Kitchen in Colorado ---
The sun has risen above the tallest window panes. Yet it is still early and the only sound from the rest of the house were the occasional hum of the heating vents.
Lin is cleaning and preparing for our trip today. Something is simmering on the stove, the kitchen filled with its gentle aroma, sweet but not overpowering. I stop myself from checking it out and talk to Lin about the plans for the day.
A soft hiss beckons me from the direction of the aroma source, and I finally walk up to see it was a pot of oatmeal. Picking up a spatula I stir the content, or I tried. Lin dived and declared louder than I am accustomed from her:
"It will stick! Don't stir it!"
Well that was kind of my point really. Puzzled, I remind myself this is not my kitchen, nor my oatmeal. I relent to lay down the spatula and walk back to our conversation. Lin see my face and explained, in her normal voice this time:
"With oatmeal, if you stir it, it will stick to the bottom. So just don't stir and it will be fine."
"I thought it was the other way around..." I add a smile to soften my contradiction.
"No, it will stick if you stirred." She nod for emphasis, proving in the face of stubborn resistance there is just no better strategy than consistent messaging. We switch our conversation back to fun places to hit today.
--- Present Time, My Kitchen in California ---
I get up this morning with a taste for oatmeal. I boil water in a pot and remember my conversation with Lin. What the hack, it is just one bag of lousy oatmeal, I could afford to experiment, couldn't I? I push away any further doubts and steel myself to watch those little flakes swim around in the heat for just seconds before sinking resolutely to the bottom. I look for dirt on the floor or dishes to wash but everything seem miraculously clean for the first time in years. Even the bunny is off duty from her morning patrol of making troubles, sitting contently in her condo nibbling hay. The house is quiet except for the soft hiss of the simmering pot beckoning for me to stir, louder as time dragged on, seconds at a time.
After an eternity (5 minutes) I check on the pot. The oatmeal has melted nicely into a caramel colored goo with cream and brown colored specs. I tentatively touch bottom with my spatula, and found nothing. Everything is in suspension, free from the law of physics as I thought I knew, obeying instead the timeless truth of "if it ain't borken, don't fix it."
--- Back Story ---
I make a second pot later, thinking that worked nicely but surly an occasional stir won't change anything. Suffice to say once I started, I was stirring constantly. In the end I find myself scrubbing a horribly sticky pot pondering the irony of blessings in disguise.