Every evening, Grammie Mable would set a cast iron pot on the back of the wood stove with oats and water, a staple breakfast food, especially in winter. They would slowly warm up and sit there softening up overnight until Grammie got the stove fired up in the morning.

By the time we kids got up, she had moved the pan over to the hot lids and cooked the groats into oatmeal “porridge.” My favorite way to eat it was with a big dollop of Grammie’ s butter and a generous pouring of Grampa’s maple syrup.

In the years after being taken off the farm, I found I didn’t care for oatmeal anymore but I never thought about why. Mama made oatmeal. I made oatmeal. We made the ubiquitous “Quakers Oatmeal,” either the slow cook or the instant — steel cut or rolled.

It wasn’t for many years that I learned that Grammie cooked oatmeal groats, the whole uncut, unrolled grain. That kept the full flavor and nutrition in the oatmeal. And groats are full of good things for health and heart, like copper, magnesium, iron, and zinc, all things that the groats quickly lose most of when cut or rolled.

But there are other “groats.” Now our grains, including corn and soy, being sprayed, just before harvest, with GMO chemicals like Monsanto's Roundup (glyphosate), I prefer not to eat them.

We’ve all heard about the dangers of these chemicals.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, an MIT research scientist has studied this subject for years. She strongly cautions eating any of these genetically engineered foods. (Cosco has just announced they will no longer carry the chemicals Roundup and glyphosate. It's a start.)

I haven't eaten oatmeal in years. But I have discovered another "old" traditional hot breakfast cereal, buckwheat groats. First off, buckwheat isn’t a wheat. It’s from the rhubarb family and better for the body than wheat, especially today's wheat.

Buckwheat, known as a superfood, is easy to find in a fine ground form for flour and in a courser ground for cereal. It also comes in "groats" but is harder to find. I can only find it online. Another benefit of buckwheat besides the high content of fiber and antioxidants: It’s gluten-free.

Buckwheat groats are great for cereal but can also be stir-fried or sprouted and are a good substitute for rice.

Cooking buckwheat groats for breakfast (I usually soak for an hour or so first; always rinse groats well with cold water): to 1 cup of groats add 2 cups of water. Put lid on pot and cook on a medium boil for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning, Once the groats have absorbed the water but are not totally dry, they're ready for the bowl. Top with your favorite milk, syrups and or fruits.


Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast schools. She now lives in Morrill.