Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Say Porridge...You Say Whatever

I eat porridge.

It's the stuff with large flakes made from the Quaker Oats package. Well, not the package exactly or it would be called a veggie burger. It's made from what's inside the Quaker Oats package...the one with the pilgrim on it. No wait, it would make more sense if he's a Quaker. The package with the Quaker on it. As you can see, I like it so much that I even have a much coveted collector's item cannister wherein I store my precious fodder.


Porridge is what you cook into a glob and then, depending on your preference, add to it milk, yogurt or nothing. It's the stick to your ribs warm, cereal mush, which you eat in a mounds in the winter time. It's the crowdy which can have fruit flung on top if that's what you want. I personally prefer berries, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Porridge originated in Scotland and has been around forever. Children's stories such as "The Magic Porridge Pot" abound. I know because I've read porridge stories and poems to hundreds of youngsters. In fact, I've even explained that people used to own pots particularly for the purpose of cooking porridge correctly. I must admit, however, that I neither own a specific porridge pot, nor do I have a "spurtle", the proper utensil for stirring the gruel. I do use a wooden spoon and I do stir the mass in the correct, clockwise direction before adding a sprinkle of salt at the very end. My mother taught me well. In fact, when I was a child, this was sometimes a dinner substitute for meat and veggies. I thought it was quite the treat, not knowing that my parents were in fact somewhat low on funds when serving up this offering.

Now that we're clear what I'm speaking about, why do people look at me as though I have horns, when I say, "porridge"?

Case in point. Since this stuff is now available in individual serving pouches where you just add water, it's a perfect emergency item for taking on trips "just in case". Most hotel rooms provide some form of water heating device. Last year, I put a few packs into my luggage and headed for the airport, Las Vegas bound with my daughter. The young U.S. border agent asked whether we were carrying any food items. I responded with "just porridge". He raised his eyebrows curiously. I repeated, "porridge, you know, a few of those pouches where you add water."

He responded in his best invented British accent (either hoping I was a casting agent or trying to impress the cute girl I was with), "Porridge? Porridge? Porridge like the three bears?"

"Yes exactly," I answered, resisting the temptation to elaborate on my history with Goldilocks.

He chuckled, winked at the girl, told us to have a great trip and we were on our way.
Recently, my gourmet chef American hubby asked what I wanted for breakfast. My response? "Porridge", of course. As he proceeded to remove a cream of wheat package from the cupboard, I yelled, "No, no, not that. I want porridge!"

He seemed baffled. "It's the same thing, hot cereal."

A short conversation ensued. We discussed the differences between oatmeal, cream of wheat and grits (don't get me started on cooked sandpaper). He understands now, that not all hot cereals are created equal. When I say "porridge", I mean my favourite flakey, globby, mush.

I recently saw the following shelf in a store. I had to take this photo. I feel vindicated.

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