Oat-O-Life Lunchtime Oatmeal

Based in the always-outdoorsy City of Industry, Calif., Command Foods has introduced a line of lunchtime oatmeal—yes, lunchtime oatmeal—called Oat-O-Life Instant Savory Oats. These packets of instant oatmeal are salty, not sweet, with flavors including Broccoli Cheese, Tangy Lemon Chick’n, Vegetable, and Chick’n Soup.

For hikers, campers and backpackers, the instant-cook packets conveniently soften in hot water in about one minute. Easy to make on a camp stove. You add about 7 ounces of water per packet to make a kind of dumpling soup, or add less water for a thick and salty porridge.

I tested the Tangy Lemon Chick’n variety yesterday for lunch, and, well, it’s a strange treat. Upon first bite, my tongue felt the oatmeal texture, and my brain was programmed to think “sweet.” As in a “here-comes-the-sugar, pour-on-some-cream”-type sweet. But then the salty/lemony taste hit, and I did a little shiver.

Made with oats, dehydrated mushrooms, celery, carrots, mushroom extract, whey, turmeric, and sea salt, the Tangy Lemon Chick’n can claim easily to be a unique dish. And it doesn’t taste bad at all once over the initial reaction. I’d classify it in the realm of ramen noodles: Not really good, but reasonable, hot-food filler that’ll nix a salt craving.

Nutrition-wise, the Lemon Chick’n packet gives you only 95 calories, 19 grams of carbs, a tiny bit of fat, and not much else. In other words, Oat-O-Life Instant Savory Oats are kind of nutritionally benign. They won’t be included in my adventure eating diet, that’s for sure. It’s good filler, maybe hot comfort food, though you’d have to eat three packs just to get anywhere on the calories front.

-Worth trying if you’re into new things.
-Easy to make.
-Lightweight packets of dehydrated powder easy to take along in a backpack.
-Good and salty, but initially kind of repulsive, as you’re expecting oatmeal to be sweet.
-Plus, you gotta love that name, “Oat-O-Life Instant Savory Oats.” I can’t get over that.

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Stephen Regenold is Founder and Editor-In-Chief of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for nearly two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of four small kids, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.


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