Holy crap, guys. Turn off the power for a day and a half and watch an upper middle class town in New England go insane. Seriously. Last thing I remember is buying this oatmeal in a coffee withdrawal daze and next thing I know, it's six at night, pitch black, and I'm crying under the covers and screaming at the general concept of candles, wondering if Yankee Candle has power or if they have to burn their remaining stock for heat and light.
And now everything is okay. And I have oatmeal to show you. Today's treat features the greatest collaboration this side of Lazy Town and Lil' Jon, Ocean Spray's Cranberry Orange Muffin Oatmeal! This stuff is delicious, but I say this with the disclaimer that at the time, I ate four packets of it lukewarm to build up strength and bulk in the hopes that it would aid me in hibernation through difficult times. Its flavor scarily mimics St. Joseph's Baby Aspirin, down to the creamy, medicinal tang. Luckily, that happens to be one of the best things ever, and helps wean me of my dangerous Flintstones Chewables kick in the process. Aside from the strange flavor, it's like regular oatmeal in consistency.
The tastiest thing here is the cranberries. These are honest-to-god dehydrated pieces of cranberries that rehydrate surprisingly well in the cooking process. They have pieces of skin and ample amounts of pulp, with each packet containing a fairly generous portion. Unfortunately, the amount just isn't enough to balance the overpowering glutenous surge of oatmeal intensity, and ends up getting lost in each bite, unless you're OCD enough to pick out each individual berry slice and eat it separately. It should go without saying that the Ocean Spray scientists have not managed to make this mimic a muffin, and for good reason. I was bracing myself for a fake-butter, "freshly baked" aftertaste that never came. While I did buy it in the hopes that it would deliver that baked good charm (another lost George Harrison hit, CC) I felt better knowing that it stuck to a simpler formula and delivered good, if not great, results. Oh, and Happy Halloween.