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Meet USA WEEKEND's new food columnists: Three Many Cooks

Pam Anderson's daughters, Maggy and Sharon, join her in writing a light and lively food blog. Our first recipe for you: A delicious take on oatmeal.

Jan. 7, 2011   |  
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Three Many Cooks: Oatmeal
Three Many Cooks: Oatmeal: Oatmeal is the focus of this Three Many Cooks video, featuring Pam Anderson and her two daughters.
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Our cooks: Maggy, Pam and Sharon / Blake Robinson Photography

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If you love to cook and eat well, I've got good news. The monthly food feature I've been writing for 10 years is now going weekly — and I've got a lot of help. Say hello to my two daughters, Maggy and Sharon. Together we've been writing ThreeManyCooks.com, a blog about cooking and eating. My daughters grew up in my kitchen, where something is always cooking, and they learned plenty along the way. But now Maggy's a newlywed, living and working in New York, and Sharon's in grad school. They're adults now, with their own ideas and experiences, and that makes for a lively exchange.

We were having so much fun talking about food and what we're eating, we decided to go public with our daily conversation. That's how our blog was born. It's a mother/daughter/sister thing, three women who kitchen-talk every day. And since food is bound up with life's big moments and the family traditions that surround them, our banter is always about more than food. It's passionate, opinionated and usually pretty funny.

Every week the three of us will be sharing our best recipe, along with a video that shows you how it's made. The video brings you right into my kitchen, and right into the fun of Three Many Cooks. So bookmark usaweekend.com so you're only one click from the action.

Here's a quick hello from Maggy and Sharon:

Sharon: I'm a recovering food snob. Working at a food magazine after college broadened my culinary horizons (think mangosteens and baking en papillote), but it also turned me into something of an impractical smartypants in the kitchen. Then grad school happened. And as the student loans piled up and my free time disappeared, so, too, did my upturned nose. In one way, though, I'm still a purist. I'm committed to the local sustainable-food movement. If you're yawning because you're tired of hearing that phrase, that's OK. But hang with me. I truly believe going local (as much as we can, little by little) has the power to transform the way we eat and live.

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Maggy: Food has always been what connects our family. Now that I'm married and living in New York, food is what connects me to friends — trying a new restaurant, going out for drinks or having people over to our closet-sized apartment. I'll try anything —once! I hate food snobs (but I love my sister — go figure). Food can be artisanal cheeses, or a lasagna I threw together with prepared ingredients (as long as I can compensate with a bottle of Chianti!), but it's got to be fun. That's what we'll be serving up from our end, and I hope you'll join the conversation.

Pam: Here's our first recipe for you, a breakfast that's worth waking up for.

Maggy: You've got to admit: Oatmeal isn't the sexiest food out there. Sure it's good once you've topped it with brown sugar, maple syrup, raisins, sliced banana and chopped nuts. But an old tennis shoe would probably taste good too if you topped it with that! What I like about this recipe is it's simple, yet so delicious. I've always liked oatmeal. This is oatmeal to love.

Sharon: Well, Maggy, even though we never got to enjoy this on chilly mornings before school, I bet you're glad Mom came up with this in time for your future kiddies! Since it feels so naughty (and yet isn't), maybe I'll make this for your little ones. I love oatmeal in every possible way, and this recipe is no exception.

Black Forest Oatmeal with Toasted Almonds

While the oatmeal cooks, toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium-low heat, shaking it occasionally, until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. You can substitute light chocolate soymilk, but I prefer the flavor of regular chocolate soymilk.

3½ cups chocolate soymilk
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 Tb. unsweetened cocoa
Pinch salt
2/3 cup dried cherries (or cherry-flavored cranberries), coarsely chopped
Ό tsp. almond extract
Ό cup toasted slivered almonds

Bring milk, oatmeal, cocoa, salt and cherries to simmer in a large saucepan or 5- to 6- quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, to desired thickness, about 5 minutes. Stir in almond extract and serve immediately, sprinkling each portion with nuts.

YIELD: 4 SERVINGS
Per serving: 406 calories, 67 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g dietary fiber, 114 mg sodium

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