Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Porridge

Porridge is a dish made by boiling oats (rolled, crushed, or steel cut) or other grains or legumes in water, milk, or both. It is usually served hot in a bowl or dish.

Other grain meals boiled in water, such as cornmeal, may also be described as porridge, but more frequently have other names, such as polenta or grits... Gruel is similar to porridge but is much more like a drink; it has a very thin consistency and is made with water. It was served in Victorian workhouses as standard meals.

... Until leavened bread and baking ovens became commonplace in Europe, porridge was a typical means of preparing cereal crops for the table. It was also commonly used as prison food for inmates in the UK's prisons and so "doing porridge" became a slang term for a sentence in prison.

In many modern cultures, porridge is eaten as a breakfast dish, often with the addition of salt, sugar, milk or cream. As the traditional breakfast of Scotland, it is made with salt. Some manufacturers of breakfast cereal such as Scott's Porage Oats sell ready-made versions. Porridge is one of the easiest ways to digest grains or legumes, and is used traditionally in many cultures as a food to nurse the sick back to health...

Oat porridge can be made with steel-cut oats (traditional in Ireland where it is known as pinhead oatmeal, Scotland and the Isle of Man) or with rolled oats (traditional in England and the United States); known simply as porridge in Ireland and Great Britain; in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as porridge or oatmeal; as oatmeal or oatmeal mush in the United States... In Scotland porridge oats is traditionally prepared using a spurtle...Pinhead is more nutritious than flattened oatmeal but requires longer cooking. It is often pre-soaked overnight. - Wikipedia


Betty Keira actually made this porridge. We were in Idaho for a few days, and I picked up some steel cut oats in the bulk section of a local grocery store. I was going to make it - but my efforts in the microwave were thwarted by a broken appliance (there was no way to reduce the cooking power). Since I had to leave to pick up my son, I gave her some cooking hints:

The instructions said one cup of oats to three cups of water. Cook it like you would rice - bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 2o minutes.

Betty Keira decided to up the ante by putting 2 cups of oats in a pot with six cups of water. Way too much porridge for two people - but other than that, and the fact that we ended up cooking the oats for at least 30 minutes, it worked fine. We ate ours in the traditional Hanna manner - lashings of brown sugar on top with a dash of milk.

Cooked porridge is probably the most common breakfast food in Neeldom. The characters in Heaven Around the Corner ate copious amounts.