As a society, we’ve been trained by the power structure to accept certain norms and maxims as absolute truth. The phrase “It’s just the way we do things around here” is one of the more dangerous on the planet, meant to keep us, the unquestioning masses, submissive while our powerful masters consolidate control.
It’s more than a little weird, for instance, that we simply agree with statements like: exercise is good; school is a useful preparation for adult life; perpetual swiping on Tinder leads to happiness.
One seemingly benign but no less insidious "truism" is the practice of using water to cook instant oatmeal. There are many delicious hot beverages in this world — why would we use the most tasteless version of them all? Feels like a dirty trick.
Luckily, in today’s internet age, we have a platform for speaking truth to power: Twitter. And so a post last month on the microblogging network suggesting a potential break with tradition yielded a spirited discussion. Many lifelong water-oatmealers agreed that coffee would do the trick equally well, or better. Those unconvinced seemed to believe the coffee + oatmeal combination was at least worthy of a try.
Which is why this past Friday was a monumental day. Inside BuzzFeed’s San Francisco office, the theory was put to the test. And oh, did it yield results.
As any student of science knows, preparation is half the battle. Which is why the experiment began with a stop at Chai Bar, a local sweet beverage establishment, where a so-called Dirty Chai (espresso + chai latte) and a hot chocolate were purchased as second and third variables.
Then, after a fresh cup of coffee was brewed in house, the experiment began.
Coffee + Oatmeal
To claim there were no nerves before trying The Cowboy would be disingenuous. After weeks of anticipation, the moment of truth arrived like a swarm of butterflies trying desperately to free one’s stomach. If this new combination tasted good, it would be right up there with the first moon walk in the hall of human discovery. If it tasted bad, it would bring lifelong shame to its inventor, likely leading to years of solitude on some mountain in Marin County. At the crowd’s urging, it was go time. A spoonful was devoured, and it was good! Real good!
The coffee flavor blended seamlessly with the oatmeal oats, creating a tasty, caffeinated superfood beloved by all three judges. A mild celebration spread through the room; this was wonderful new territory and the sweet thrill of discovery was relished by all.
The Chai Mule
Dirty Chai Latte + Oatmeal
One beautiful thing that emerged from the coffee + oatmeal Twitter discussion was a participant's suggestion to try the oatmeal with chai as well. A trip to Chai Bar revealed this was once an official dish at the establishment, called the “Chai Mule.” For some reason it was discontinued, a questionable business decision for an otherwise reputable establishment.
The Chai Mule, back from the grave, turned out to be a delicious combination as well. Each judge was euphoric upon consuming it, surprised at the magic of the food’s complex flavors. At this point, the delivery of caffeine from The Cowboy and the Chai Mule began kicking in, making the experience even more enjoyable and the celebration more vigorous.
The Untitled Unmastered
Hot Chocolate + Oatmeal
Finally, it was time for one more suggestion from Twitter. A hot chocolate + oatmeal combination. The mixture at first seemed a bit gross, but turned out to be tasty as well. It did not live up to the high bar set by the previous two caffeinated giants — “Too sweet,” said judge Brendan Klinkenberg — but nonetheless it was deemed edible. A dessert food, if you will.
- Coffee and oatmeal is a delightful combination long overlooked by the world for no apparent reason
- Questioning existing power structures may lead to positive culinary experiences
Watch the full experiment, recorded via Facebook Live, here: