Many sumptuous foods get their day — or month — in the sun by way of some commemoration. But January celebrates a very basic, traditional dish. This is Oatmeal Month, recognizing the long-term favorite for its up-to-date health characteristics — low fat, no sodium, and the ability to help lower the risk of heart disease.

Oatmeal also fits today's time pressures, since a bowl can be made in seconds in the microwave.

And, of course, oatmeal cookies are among the nation's favorites. Oatmeal and other cereal uses of oats are greatly utilized by America's 63 breakfast-food production firms. The industry employs around 11,500 people, with annual sales of nearly $10.5 billion.