We’re spending more time in our homes than ever before. In “There’s No Better Time To…” we’ll share the little projects we’re finally getting around to. This week: Brown butter makes it (a.k.a. everything) better.
I recently made eye contact with the white-haired guy on the Quaker oats canister. My whole body shuddered. I rotated it to have his smug smile face the backsplash. “You’re not better than me!” I hissed at the mystery man, a generic conglomeration of features that are supposed to insinuate “honesty, integrity, purity, and strength.” YOU ARE A MAN OF OATS. Chill!
In a fit of unsubstantiated breakfast malice, I set out to show him. (Even if he couldn’t see me, because he was facing the wall. And is a cartoon.)
Next to the pan of burbling oats, I melted three-ish tablespoons of butter, and kept melting it, until it turned foamy and brown. A-ha! And then, once the oats got to my desired state of mush, I added some brown sugar and cinnamon, stirred in the brown butter, and portioned out bowls for me and my companion. He was in shock. “Why is this oatmeal so fucking good?” he said, using an expletive my editors prefer to avoid unless absolutely necessary. IT’S NECESSARY. THEY WERE AMAZING OATS. The brown butter gave it this caramelized, restaurant dessert flavor—like bananas foster without the bananas, or the scent of torched crème brûlée at the table next to you. I’d even say the butter took that edge off the sharp, expired cinnamon I was using.
I’ve never been good at math, but I’d say the otherwise boring, blah, ho-hum oatmeal was 1000 percent better. There was no fruit in the house, no nuts, no tahini. It’s hard to improve on oatmeal without those accessories. But we had butter. Oh, we had butter.
That was a dramatic over-telling of how I added brown butter to my oatmeal, something hundreds of thousands of people have probably done before. Whatever, I’m a genius! Try it, you’ll like it! Mornings keep cracking, days keep beginning, you’ll have plenty of chances.