Saturday, May 26, 2012

Oatmeal, Spurtles, and Wenden, Arizona

Apparently, there's a crisis in the world of bulk organic oatmeal. Our local health food stores haven't been able to get it for weeks. Since I eat oatmeal (aka Breakfast of Champions) nearly every morning, I've substituted Bob's Organic Extra Thick Rolled Oats--a delicious (though expensive) solution.

In fact, these extra thick rolled oats are so delicious that they won the Golden Spurtle Award in Scotland in 2009. I had never heard of a spurtle--turns out it's a Scottish wooden stirring stick, favored for oatmeal ("porridge" to the Scots). Coincidentally, within a week of learning this, we found a genuine spurtle in Wenden, Arizona, made by an artist named Charlie Sandall. That's it in the photo above. It came with a friendly warning: "Stirring counter clockwise is said to invoke the Devil and bring bad luck." Good thing I've always stirred clockwise.

Wenden is located on Route 60, basically in the middle of nowhere. A woman named Bonita Powell has refurbished an old motel into artists' studios called The Courtyard on 60. Turns out there's a whole community of snowbird artists who winter in the area. They come from all over the western states. You'll find friendly people here and lots of fun art--including spurtles! (Note: The Courtyard is closed in July & August)

Our Arizona road trip was also spectacular because the saguaros were blooming along Routes 71 and 60. Route 71 has great forests of them--always a beautiful sight, and more so with their flower topknots.