This page is generally about tasty and rarely about healthy. That’s really weird, when you consider that proper nutrition can contribute a lot to the proper functioning of the body and therefore happiness in life and ultimately enjoying good things like good food. The problem, of course, is that word “correct”. What is the proper diet? What is healthy? As long as scientists keep fighting each other over this, it will be difficult for us simple foodies to set course.
However, there are ingredients that almost everyone believes fit into a healthy diet. Please note this wording, I deliberately do not write that they are healthy. Because that is precisely the difficult thing: healthy food does not exist. Anyone who claims avocados are healthy should try to live off avocados for a few months. Or in chia seeds. Or in turmeric. Also, what is good for one is not necessarily good for another. Healthy differs from person to person.
Well, by reasoning like that, we never got to what I wanted to argue: that oats are a fairly healthy grain, or, more carefully formulated, a grain that most people would not be bad if they ate regularly. You may already be making this in the form of oatmeal or muesli, in the form of oat milk in your coffee, or in the slightly less basic form of Verkades Oaties with a layer of milk chocolate (ahem), but what about? Did you know that oatmeal also makes you very happy? Can you easily bake delicious crackers?
More on that later. First something about the grain itself. It belongs to the grasses, originates from Asia Minor and was cultivated there at least seven thousand years before our era. Sometime in the Bronze Age, the harvest ended in northwestern Europe, where it has always been a less important grain than wheat. Spain, Poland and Finland are today the largest European oat producers. (The largest in the world is Russia).
Only 1,387 hectares of oats are grown in the Netherlands, according to the Central Statistical Office. That was different in the last century: according to Wageningen University, in 1960 there were still about 160,000 hectares of oats. After that, the demand declined rapidly, mainly due to the agricultural conversion of horsepower to tractors. But thanks to the growing popularity of oatmeal drinks as an alternative to cow’s milk and the growing interest in gluten-free cereals, the demand has increased enormously in recent years. So who knows, there may be great opportunities here for Dutch arable farming.
I’m not going to bore you with all the health claims that grain makes, from cholesterol-lowering beta-glucans to high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and the presence of all essential amino acids. This is the point where we go back to “tasty”. So those cookies. Even two kinds of cookies. The first thing we are going to bake is what they do in the UK. oat cakes to call. It is true that they do not taste very exciting on their own, but that is precisely why they are the ideal cookie to top with interesting cheeses.
In the second recipe we simply put the cheese on the cookie. Along with the ground pumpkin seeds, oregano, and a nice dash of freshly ground pepper, that cheese makes for very satisfying snacks. Although they are tasty enough to eat as is, there is nothing stopping you from investing them. Creamy things in particular work well – a soft-boiled egg, hummus, avocado, that works.
Oats are gluten-free, but they often come in contact with gluten-containing grains, such as wheat, during processing. So, if you have a gluten intolerance, use only oat products that have the official gluten-free logo (a corn stalk with a bar).
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on October 30, 2021
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of October 30, 2021.
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