Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What a Scotsman keeps under his kilt...

porridge

This is serious stuff. Wars have probably been started over less. An eternal question, do you have sugar or salt in your porridge? Now, tradition in Scotland dictates that you have salt and that you eat it standing up. As with all things traditional in Scotland I can never tell whether this is simply a ruse to get an Englishman to look like a twat or one of those odd things that only the most rabid of traditionalists actually do. Of course, the answer that most of us side with is sugar simply because we are all southern nancies who don't know a thing about good food, and I imagine they are probably right.

Cooking grains in water or milk until soft is about as basic as cooking ever gets, for a very very long time this is what people ate. Full stop. Unless they managed to kill a mastodon. At this point any paleontologist reading will be reaching for the comments link. It is probably the very first kind of cooking there was, apart from burning meat, which in itself is a noble tradition practiced in my house to this very day

If you look at the Wikipedia link for porridge you can take great glee, as I did, in trying to pronouce the names of the various global porridges, from risgrot to kao dom. Made from grains as varied as rice, quinoa and barley the fact that we are still eating this stuff proves that there is something universally comforting about this food, particularly when we are ill.

The porridge here is made with rolled oats, which is wrong they should be steel cut, and a mixture of milk and water. Salted and a knob of butter added. An addition that I lifted from Russian buckwheat porridge. It's good, it adds a complexity that I liked but one that Lynn Benn wouldn't have much truck with. See, Lynn knows a thing or two about porridge. She's the winner of the 13th Annual Golden Spurtle Porridge Making Championship. Which is a noble institution where the worlds best porridge makers gather to battle it out over the oats. I might have to give it go.

7 comments:

Matt Armendariz said...

Man, who knew? I think I'm going to have to try to make this, but something tells me the intersection of California and Porridge will leave me with something that resembles nothing of your post. And that would be sad. But I'll try my best.

Oh, and by the way, that headline totally rocks.

Hanna said...

I just found your website yesterday, and absolutely love it! It's so refreshing to have a food blog that's a little more manly, sarcastic and not all fuzzy and warm inside. Thank you.

cookiecrumb said...

MG: Where does this put me on your eternal-question scale? I pour buttermilk on my oats.
And, you know what? Steel-cut is "proper" but I love the thin flakes of rolled oats.

ggattoo said...

i have met porridge in Australia, at breakfast, of course, cooked only with milk and eaten with honey. so i assumed that as you get furhter south the more people prefer sweet:)
(btw i am hungarian and i eat sweet -milky porridge as well)

GastroChick said...

Hi
Personally I can only contemplate the sugar option in porridge, salt might be protocal but I need an energy rush first thing in the morning.

Hageltoast said...

I sticking firmly tyo my sweet porridge, oats, milk, and to flavour, sugar, jam, honey or syrup, even chocolate spread will do, anything sweet. And i eat it mostly curled up under a blanket on the sofa. I do now draw the line at microwave porridge.

Wilson said...

mine would be a little adventurous.. i eat my porridge salty, with a miso soup base and added some cooked chicken/mushroom and topped with some dried seaweed. somewhat "japanese" style... :-)