THE HISTORY OF PORRIDGE
Porridge – the silver lining when summer is over.
- We are proud of our porridge, and we are proud that Britain is proud of its porridge. But porridge has been around for much longer than us.
- It’s been providing our people with a brilliant bowl of sustaining energy for thousands of years.
- It’s been trusted for this long and this thriving and sensual bowl should continue to glisten under the spotlight. It blows our pyjamas off, every time.
Where did it come from?
- We go way back. Before the introduction of baking ovens and unleavened bread, porridge was one of the most important staples in the British diet – if not it’s greatest culinary achievement.
- We like to think of it as our own, but a similar dish has also been enjoyed cross-culturally for thousands of years too. Originating from Northern Europe, it was traditionally mostly enjoyed savoury.
- In terms of defining porridge, it boils down to gruel made with oats (pun intended). It’s a mushy bowl of soaked grains used to pre-digest or release nutrients. Polenta, barley, buckwheat, millet, or rye have been used as well as oats.
Oats in the modern day
- Until the early twentieth century, porridge was made with oatmeal (cut or ground dehulled oat seeds).
- Since then, oats have been industrially steamed using a high-pressure roller, meaning they are thinner, part-cooked oats and so can cook in minutes.
- Porridge hasn’t always had an easy ride. It’s been slopped into horse troughs and prisoners bowls. Cheap and filling, not a glamorous winner to serve up on a first date. But the tables are turning and porridge is coming out on top. It helps when you’re a nutritional powerhouse full of sustaining energy.
- Think a CV packed with antioxidants and a better balance of the good stuff like fats, carbohydrates, and protein than their other grain buddies. See you 11am munchies. You’re hired.
- Despite its complex benefits, porridge is a simple food. The oats are made purely by stripping the outer husk of the oat grass, leaving the wholegrain oat.
- We now don’t just need it, we want it.
What’s our secret?
- Pre-soaking your porridge overnight means you’re in for a more gentle and easy digestion ride. That means it does more good, more easily. Win win.
- For ultimate creamy texture, cook your oat slowly by simmering on low heat.
- If you’ve only ever made porridge with milk, try it with water. Pinch of sea salt? Compulsory. We big ourselves up, but it’s really quite simple.
- If you’re more maximal than minimal, porridge oats are a wonderful base for nuts, fruits, seed and a blob of cream.
- Ultimately, You make it how you want it. This is what makes it good, its ability to be totally personal. Vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits, sweet, savoury, crunchy, creamy – whatever floats your oat.
- For more recipe ideas, visit here.
I bet you didn’t know…
- Traditionally, it was considered respectful to eat porridge standing up, and superstition believed it must always be stirred clockwise to ward off evil spirits? All seem a little sorcerous? Even more so when the instrument (spurtle) used to stir the porridge was shaped suspiciously close to a wand.
OVER N OAT.