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What is oatmeal?


oatmeal, oats, history, cereal, grain, recipes, receipts


© 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Question: What is oatmeal?
Oatmeal was once considered suitable only for animal feed.
Answer: Oatmeal (Avena sativa) comes from oat grains, a cereal grass. Oatmeal is most commonly consumed by humans as a cooked cereal. Raw, harvest oats are used as feed for animals, but for human consumption, the oats are processed to some extent.

There are many different forms of edible oats and oatmeal. It is important to know the differences (see below) before selecting oatmeal products for your recipes.

Today, oats and oatmeal products are touted as a natural wonder food because of their high water-soluble fiber content, but oats have only become the darling of doctors and dieticians since the 1980's. Prior to the 1800's, oats were considered horse and cattle fodder while oatmeal was considered a food for the poor.

Samuel Jackson's "Dictionary of the English Language," written in 1755, defines oats as "a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people." Oatmeal has come a long way, baby!

Learn more about oatmeal, and get some cooking tips before delving into the oatmeal recipes.

More About Oats, Oatmeal, and Oatmeal Recipes

Oatmeal Types and Varieties
FAQ: What is oatmeal?
Oatmeal Storage, Cooking Tips, and Equivalents
Oatmeal Recipes
Oatmeal Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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