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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Porridge Tales from Grandma's Kitchen

Many was the happy hour of my childhood which I spent in my grandmother's kitchen. I was fascinated by the tales of her own childhood which she would share with me as I stirred a pot for her, or watched her making scones. The most fascinating tale of all for me was the one of The Porridge Drawer.

Apparently when my Gran was a little girl her kitchen had a special wooden drawer into which was poured homemade porridge. This idea really caught my imagination. I would visualize gloopy oatmeal being poured into a drawer, which was presumably then closed up, hiding the contents from view. In my experience drawers were for keeping underwear in, which made the tale all the more fascinating! I would ask about this over and over. Each time I was told that the porridge was left to cool. Later it was cut into blocks which were given to family members to pack with them for lunch. Frugality was the order of the day; I've no idea whether there was anything other than porridge available at those meals, but I suspect not.

Nowadays I'm not a true Scot. I eat my porridge with dried fruit or with honey, and not just with salt. I'm totally spoiled and always have milk available to make it creamy. I even, more often than not, resort to the microwave to make my oatmeal. I've not forgotten my Scottish roots though and I own a real wooden porridge spurtle, which was passed down to me from an older generation. When the mood is right, I enjoy stirring my oats while they bubble and gloop. With a touch of patience my porridge turns creamy and smooth ready to "stick to my ribs" and keep my appetite satisfied until lunchtime.

Here are some porridge and oat related learning links for you to explore:
Grain mills and oats at Usborne books which contain oat recipes: Starting Cooking contains muesli and oatmeal bar recipes; Children's Book of Baking contains apple squares and cherry crumble cake; Healthy Cookbook contains granola and peachy crumble.


ewe are here said...

We're big on porridge here, too, and definitely prefer the Scottish oats (unless we buy freshly ground ones at a local mill/abbey).

I like to add brown sugar, millk and frozen berries... to cool it down a bit for the boys.

Alison said...

Mmmmm, frozen berries sound good. I have some here. We should try that!

Janet said...

What a wonderful heritage you have with that porridge spurtle! We love oatmeal here - brown sugar and cooked apples.

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