baked oatmeal

Dear People Driving on 95 North over a Holiday Weekend,

I get it.  You’ve spent a weekend down south and it’s time to head home.  So, you’ve loaded up the four-wheel drive sleigh (with the requisite “My Family” rear windshield sticker), packed in your 2.5 kids and the family dog, and turned on those schmancy, built-in DVD players to show Yo Gabba Gabba on repeat.

But, in the interest of humanity, can I make a few simple requests?  (You know, as a person sharing the road with you on said holiday weekends?)

Okay, here goes:

1) Pay attention to the road.  This one seems self-explanatory, but it never fails that as I drive down the road innocently listening to David Sedaris books on tape, I notice more than two or three cars swerve unexpectedly (I’m guessing someone doesn’t know how to drive in a straight line and sneeze at the same time).  Or drift into my lane (texting and driving may still be legal in Virginia, but you have babies on board–is sharing “Lolz, Kayla luvz go-go juice” really worth it?).  Or brake when NO ONE’S stopping.  Please drive predictably so that I can not die in a fiery blaze.  K?

2) Congestion does not equal Armageddon.  95 North is infamous for its congestion.  You’ll be driving along, wind in your hair, only to come upon three or four lanes of red tail lights.  This could be caused by an accident up ahead or tiny pieces of Styrofoam that have fallen on the road (oh, I wish I was kidding about that last one).  The best way to get through the congestion without making it worse is to STOP CHANGING LANES.  Seriously.  Stay in your lane.  Because the more often you change lanes, the more often people will be slowing down or slamming on their brakes to accommodate your whims.  Furthermore, if you MUST change lanes, do it gradually and purposefully with a blinker on the entire time.  Do not jerk your car to the left or right, forcing the car you’ve just cut off to slam on the brakes or, possibly, just slam into the back of your vehicle.  Because then you’ve just made traffic that. much. worse.  And everyone will hate you forever.

3) The shoulder is not a lane.  Situation Number 2 is under way.  We’re stuck in traffic with no relief in sight.  Please, oh, please don’t decide that you are the only person on the road entitled to making it home at a decent hour, thereby using the shoulder or exit/entrance lanes as your own, private autobahn.  Someone might need the shoulder to pull-over during an actual emergency.  Or maybe, just maybe, everyone else on the road has been idling JUST AS LONG AS YOU HAVE and in no way deserves to be bumped back in line because you are just too important to wait.

Bah.  Okay, rant over.

You know what soothes frazzled nerves after a long trip home?  Cozy Baked Oatmeal, courtesy of Ms. Shauna Server.  Warm, homey, lightly sweet and oh, so yummy, this stuff is really good.  And completely comforting as breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

My only suggestion is to add half a cup of brown sugar, instead of the prescribed 1/3 cup.  It might be my sweet tooth talking, but I think it gives this dish just the right amount of sweetness.  Which, goodness knows I needed after my nerve-racking trip.  Next time, I’m bringing this stuff on the open road.

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