Photo by The Bitten Word/Flickr CC
For a taste of history take note that the mill in which this Macroom oatmeal is made was built in the 1800s, back when the Cork Butter Exchange was near the height of its influence. And the way it's made isn't a whole lot different now than it was then. It's not hard to imagine that along with potatoes, porridge of this sort provided regular sustenance for farmers, millers and butter makers almost every day of their lives.
Back then most of them I'm sure ate it because, along with potatoes, it's what they had on hand. But today you and I can opt for Macroom oatmeal for pretty much every reason you could want: it's good for you, it tastes really great, it's traditional, it's slow food at its sweet and savory best. A big bowl of it, topped with plenty of good Irish butter, is as terrific today as it was then.
I first tasted Macroom oatmeal on that a trip to Ireland when I stayed at Ballymaloe House for the first time. Compared to the oatmeal I'd always been served--the same sort of commercial stuff most everyone else in America has had--porridge made from Macroom's toasted and stone-ground, totally traditional oaten meal is almost another product all together. Eating it for the first time is like taking a stroll in Paris, France, when all you've known is Paris, Texas. You taste the toastiness. You taste the oats--I only had to taste it once to know that I'd never go back to the commercial stuff.