The Suitcase Lady


September 8, 2009, 10:41 pm

It was the ultimate irony. My husband and I just spent a night sleeping across the street from an oatmeal factory. Our aversion to steamy bowls of oatmeal is no secret.

Returning from a wedding, we had booked a nice high rise hotel in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The computer booking site did not mention that the rooms of the hotel had panoramic views of the towering grain elevators and red neon sign atop the Quaker Oats factory across the street. Nor was there any mention of the long trains hauling oats.

Our mutual oatmeal dislike started early in life. I still have a vivid memory of the day my grandmother said to a bunch of us grandchildren, “I have a special treat for you.” Big bowls of oatmeal were set in front of each of us. I eagerly ate the melting pat of butter and brown sugar off the top. Then, I stared forlornly at the gray, lumpy, soggy, gooey stuff that remained in my bowl. Miles away in northern Wisconsin, my future husband’s mother was pulling a similar oatmeal scam on him.

Our room in Cedar Rapids included breakfast. “I bet they pipe the oatmeal directly into this hotel in big tubes,” I predicted.

Before all of the oatmeal lovers out there accuse me of hurting oatmeal’s feelings, let me state that a large box of Quaker Oatmeal is in my kitchen cupboard. That oatmeal guy knows how to make great cookies, cakes and muffins. We just don’t let him go near any of our cereal bowls.

A serious note: We were happy to bring our travel dollars to Cedar Rapids. The town is still struggling to recover from the devastating flood of 2008. Happily, the Cedar Rapids Art Museum (which houses the world’s largest collection of Grant Wood’s art) and The Grant Wood Studio on 5 Turner Alley have both reopened.

9 Comments for this entry

  • Naomi

    Well said. I wish I liked (or could tolerate) oatmeal. But it does make a good apple crisp topping. :)

  • LoieJ

    Oh, funny. I similarly hated oatmeal and don’t cook it, but actually, my husband does a good job of cooking it, so I’ll eat half a serving if he makes it. It is better with fruit or raisins. I figured out that I disliked it when mom made it because she made it for dad and I got mine about 1 1/2 hours later. gag.

  • Noreen

    I have to laugh because I often eat instant oatmeal for my mid-morning snack or even lunch.

  • Lynn

    I am so with you.  The heavenly parent created oatmeal for cookies, facial masks and an alternative filling for meatloaf!  I prefer my cereals cold and crunchy. And the boxes come in handy for craft projects!

  • Sandra

    I am so not with you on his one. I think I must have been behind the door when oatmeal desserts were created. Not my fave, but breakfast is another story. Oatmeal–not just any old oatmeal, but a bowlful accompanied by fresh peaches or apples or raspberries, vanilla, cinnamon with a touch of vanilla yoghourt–is my favorite.

  • Mary

    Hi Sandra, Try it without the “fresh peaches or apples or raspberries, vanilla, cinnamon with a touch of vanilla yoghourt” and report back! :-)

  • Jen

    I was not fond of the gloop passed off at camp as breakfast, but I love oatmeal now, especially with dried fruit (apricots anyone?) and walnuts or pecans. And yup! I like it without the “stuff” too… But it is admittedly better with!

  • Evie

    Dear Mary–That’s quite amusing. And guess who LOVES oatmeal? sturdily, miss eve

  • Judith

    Ok, Ok,Ok! But it is still comfort food to me!