Ode to Quaker Oats

In this age when heads of manufacturing companies are apparently gathering around their conference tables and asking one another how they can most effectively screw up their products, I’d like to congratulate Quaker Oats for keeping their integrity and their product intact. The same round box, the same logo, the same oats. They’ve introduced quick-cooking oats, but I still stick to the old fashioned kind. Either way, the box is the same, and it’s that box that takes us all back to steamy kitchens and buttered toast with our morning oatmeal. Some cinnamon sprinkled on top, a little cream, maybe a pat of butter. I now stir applesauce in mine as a sweetener, add some blueberries, top with cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Quaker Oats may be the one thing that has stayed constant in my life.

When I empty a box of Quaker Oats, it’s always hard to toss it in the trash. Somewhere there’s a Kindergartner who may need that box for a class project. I could help him. We could cover the box with fancy paper or we could paint it and put glitter on it. It could be a drum or a crayon holder or a vase for paper flowers. But my kids who once were Kindergartners are all grown up now and I don’t have anybody to play with, so I throw the Quaker Oats box away. But as I do it, I know there are untold numbers of people carefully saving theirs for their kids’ next project, and it gives me a warm feeling that the Quaker Oats people have given us that continuity.

Stonyfield Farms can break my culinary heart by changing their whole milk yogurt so the cream no longer rises to the top — I loved that risen cream! I used it on baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, French toast, and stirred into my Quaker Oats — and Palmolive dishwashing liquid can change its container to a bottle guaranteed to slip out of your hands, and my favorite lipstick shades can become obsolete overnight, and I won’t even mention the horrors Isotoner did to a great line of women’s houseslippers, but as long as Quaker Oats remains unchanged, I have hope that sensible minds will prevail. To all the other companies who ruin good products by tinkering with them, remember this sage advice: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


2 thoughts on “Ode to Quaker Oats

  1. Dear Blaize, I haven’t written for so long as you are ever so busy. I keep waiting for good and happy times so I can be cheerful. But alas things have a way of getting bad and staying that way for a long time it seems. I just lost my father(95) He just had a check up two weeks before with A+ on everything. But he fell against something and fractured ribs. The pain was unbearable, he was so slender, it did him in. My stepmother then died that night.My husband got Mersa someway, we haven’t a clue how, and has been on an antibiotic drip IV at home for a month. But I want to tell you how I LOVE your oatmeal column. I always said you were brilliant! Everything you said was RIGHT ON THE MONEY. I have always used Palmolive dishwashing soap. But I have dropped the slippery SOB(sorry) for the last time. I am changing to one that fits good in my hand when I get to the store. You should be an advocate for consumer products and tell them a thing or two. I think people just don’t care anymore, and are too busy watching smut and working. I love oatmeal so much. We grew up on it. Blaize, I have the dearest thing you can make from the big oatmeal box. You cut in the center enough to slp a dolly in.Like a rectangle cut. It becomes a cradle. Keep the top on. Cover and pad it with pretty material. It is so charming.Well, I hope you are well. I am getting over my grieving somewhat, and worry about my husband, and daughter. Take care and I hope to get your latest book soon. PS I am sad we lost Elizabeth Taylor today. Love, Bonny

    • Oh, Bonny, I’m so sorry! Life has a way of going in waves, doesn’t it? Sounds like you’re in the low part now. I guess the only good thing that can be said about those troughs is that the only next move is up. You’re a great poet, Bonny. Use your grief and fear and frustration to create strong poetry that may give other people hope.

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