Posted by: lornasass | January 6, 2009


Mark Bittman’s book, FOOD MATTERS, was published less than a week ago and is already a best-seller on This is great news as far as I’m concerned since Bittman has the attention of millions of Americans and many of them are clearly ready to pay attention to the beautiful symmetry that eating more whole grains and vegetables is better for us as well as the earth.

What especially delighted me about this book was to learn that Bittman lost 35 pounds and lowered his cholesterol and blood pressure by eating vegan breakfasts and lunches and then having whatever he felt like for dinner. Bittman discovered that even at dinner time, this new way of eating left him craving more vegetables and whole grains.

I had the same experience when I became a vegan and discovered the world of whole grains about 25 years ago. White rice goes down easier, but it’s not as interesting to eat as chewy wheat berries or light and fluffy quinoa.

When I wrote RECIPES FROM AN ECOLOGICAL KITCHEN in 1992, a vegan way of eating seemed radical and most people didn’t even know what the word vegan meant. In fact, we decided to change the title to LORNA SASS’ COMPLETE VEGETARIAN KITCHEN for the paperback edition.

Now, thanks to Michael Pollan’s IN DEFENSE OF FOOD: AN EATER’S MANIFESTO, Marion Nestle’s WHAT TO EAT, and Bittman’s FOOD MATTERS, Americans seem readier to explore the intriguing and tasty wonders of whole grains and vegetables–not necessarily as an occasional side dish, but in the center of their plates.

To celebrate, and to demonstrate how easy it can be to incorporate more whole grains into your diet, here’s a recipe for Thermos Oatmeal from my latest book, WHOLE GRAINS FOR BUSY PEOPLE. It’s a great option for people who run out of the house on an empty stomach because they don’t think they have time to eat a healthy, wholegrain breakfast.


It’s easy to make your own oatmeal-to-go if you have a small wide-mouthed thermos. Just put the mix listed below into the thermos and pour boiling water over it. Screw the cover on and, by the time you get to work, your oatmeal will be ready to eat.

To make a batch of mix in advance, just triple or quadruple the recipe and scoop out 3/4 cup of dry mix for your daily portion.

Serves 1

images21/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
1 heaping tablespoon raisins
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
Combine the oats, almonds, raisins, sugar (if using), cinnamon, and salt in a small, wide-mouthed thermos. Pour in 1/2 cup boiling water (for firm oatmeal) and 2/3 cup (for soft, loose oatmeal). Immediately screw on the top and shake gently.


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