The Silver Palate Thick + Rough Oatmeal
At first glance, the burgundy-red box of The Silver Palate Oatmeal doesn’t seem very compelling. The front of the box includes the logo, the name of the product, a brief description, and a photo of The Silver Palate shop window, wrinkled awning included. All of this seems cluttered and unpolished, as if it has been on the grocery store shelf a little too long. The Silver Palate’s logo appears to be the only well-designed aspect of the composition, and it seems someone who was simply fond of the product, not specifically a designer, could have applied the rest of the images and text around the sides and back of the box.
Stop for a moment and consider that these qualities say something different than expected; these are marks of an honest product. This product must be so delicious and healthy that the company doesn’t need flashy fonts and graphics to sell it. The Silver Palate name is enough to speak to consumers who just want a good oatmeal, not the kind that comes in individual packet servings. This oatmeal seems untouched by the same level of industry as Quaker Oats or even Nature’s Path; it feels local and even traditional. Perhaps the likes of John Ruskin would eat this oatmeal (although he might gravitate toward McCann’s Irish Oatmeal first).
At the bottom of the back of the box is a photo of The Silver Palate product line. As a group, the line is quite compelling, with it’s glass jars topped with red and white cloth and labels on every bottle and jar sharing a logo and layout. It looks like the Thick + Rough Oatmeal is the odd one of the bunch. And somehow, this irregularity is still compelling.
Although it is extremely fair to suggest that The Silver Palate consider re-designing the box, and perhaps they should, there is an enjoyable quality in the lack of design on this product. Nevertheless, if The Silver Palate is having any trouble with sales of Thick + Rough Oatmeal, they should consider a re-design. After all, these products are by the same ladies, Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, who brought us The New Basics cookbook, which is a great basic cookbook, perhaps even a replacement for The Joy of Cooking for today’s market.
On the taste: this oatmeal is incredible! It’s fluffy and, just as the label says, thick and rough (get your minds out of the gutter!). It’s so tasty that sugar or honey or any other toppings just aren’t necessary and even might distract from the almost aggressive goodness. It takes longer to cook than instant, but it is so worth it. Slow down your morning and try it!
Also worth noting, The Silver Palate has new ownership since 1988. Take a look at this nytimes article from when the company was sold. Also, pay respect to Sheila Lukins, who died this year at age 66. Listen to this NPR Morning Edition story for more info.