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Every few years, there is a commercial from Cheerios whose purpose is to remind us that the “O” from cheerios stands for Oats. General Mills likes to keep it front of mind – their much loved cereal is made from puffed Oats and not corn or wheat. In fact, they were even originally called “CheeriOats” in 1941 when they were first launched! Oats still are the wonder grain filled with fibre, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and are way better for us than their the more popular cousin: wheat. 
​If you have ever tried buying Oatmeal here in Israel you may have been struck by two things: 
1. It is most commonly sold in supermarkets or specialty shops in large buckets, at an incredibly cheap price, where you can scoop it into bags, tie it, and bring it home. (although it is also available pre-packaged).
2. It is typically referred to hear as “Kvaaker”, and not “shibolet shual” which is the actual hebrew word for oats. ​

If it looks like a duck and Kvaaks like a duck…
So what is Kvaaker? It’s the Israeli pronunciation of Quaker. As in Quaker Oats. But there is no “W” or “Ay” sound here, so it become Kvaaker. Like how a Duck kvaacks, but not really. Oats are basically sold in two varieties in Israel: Thick or thin Kvaakers. The thick ones are what are known abroad as “Old-Fashioned Oats” and the thin ones are what are known as “Quick/instant oats” and they are also similar to “Scottish Oats”. It’s typically these thin ones that you would use to make oatmeal, and what you find in those packets of instant oatmeal in all the flavours (did you also LOVE maple and brown sugar?). What about the “steel-cut oats” that have been getting lots of good press in foodie blogs? They are nuttier, chewier, less processed and require more cooking…but are rarely found here in Israel. I struggled to find even a hebrew term for them…they are just described by the process by which they are made and usually the english word is thrown in.

The Wise Kvaakers
It’s now time to add a word or two about the actual Quakers. They were one of the religious groups that migrated from the UK to Pennsylvania, USA (like the Amish and Mennonites) in the 1700’s. They were hard working, entrepreneurial and had strong family values. They were also known by their distinctive garb, which can still be found on the modern Quaker Oats packaging. They took pride in building a new country under a religious vision. In fact, the Quakers got their name from the religious fervour they had “shaking before G-d” (kind of like the meaning of “Charedi”). Their kindness earned them a footnote in history for their role in helping lobby and assist in the Kindertransport from America and in Europe. So we can thank them for more than just their valient contributions to our world of carbohydrates.​And on that note, I share with you my favourite oat recipe: My Cranberry Cinnamon Almond Granola. It uses the old fashioned oats and can be a great addition to mishloach manot with a little tub of yoghurt too. But as this post is already far too long, you’ll have to click this button below to see it.
My Cranberry Cinnamon Almond Granola​


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