I never was a big fan of oatmeal until recently. At a conference last year I tried steel cut oats and found them to be a bit different than the average oatmeal. The flavor is nuttier and the texture to me is less mushy. So what are they? Alton Brown did a nice segment on oats recently and summarized the different forms of oats out there. Rolled oats are what most of us are used to buying in the store in a big round box. Rolled oats take about 10 minutes to cook. When rolled oats are fragmented a bit more they can be purchased as quick oats which cook even more quickly but are a bit mushier. I try to stay away from instant oatmeal as its really mushy, almost pasty and contains all kinds of additives and sugars that you really don't need. Steel cut oats are the oat s prior to rolling them. They look like little nuggets almost, kind of like what the old grape nuts looked like.
You can buy steel cut oats in the grocery store but in bulk at a health food store they are half the price. The problem with them is that they cook up in no less than a half hour so the dish is not easy to pull together if you are rushing off to work in the am. I make a batch the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge, then microwave a bowl each morning with some maple syrup, raisins and cinnamon and a little milk...great stuff and very filling. Give it a try and let me know what you think!!