Englishman Dr. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary once slammed porridge by defining oats as ‘a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ Obviously he never had a good bowl of hot porridge with apple sauce mixed in, as I have quite often once the weather turns cold here at this Scottish Estate.
Porridge is quintessentially Scottish, with its roots in the simple fare of crofters, the tenant farmers. Since those beginnings centuries ago, it has spread as a result of Scottish emigration to kitchens way beyond those folk. And in the past years, it has become a cool thing to eat among the culinary taste makers always looking for something old made new once again.
Now most of you might think of porridge as something relatively plain that’s served hot with milk. Well it can be but there are ways to make it quite interesting. And so I wondered what our porridge fans did to jazz it up. Not that all of them did so — Mackenzie likes his every time just with some unsweetened apple sauce and warm milk.
So what did I find for interesting porridges? How about finely chopped smoked bacon and cheddar added in? Or perhaps with strawberries and cream? I’m fond of just warm milk and honey, but my wife, Ingrid, likes hers with blueberry preserves.
Finch, my Assistant Pub Manager, says she once ate it with our Estate smoked salmon and Riverrun stilton as a very early morning meal while helping Gus, our Estate Gardener, out by taking a turn watching the ewes during spring lambing. She said it was quite filling, along with strongly brewed Darjeeling tea.
So what’s your favourite way to have porridge?