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Oct 10

World Porridge Day

Oatmeal in a Blue Bowl
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Porridge
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"In boilin' water, salted weel, 'Tween fingers rins the ruchsome meal, While the brisk spurtle gars them wheel In jaups an' rings - Ae guid half-hour, syne bowls may reel Wi' food for kings." ~ Scotch Porridge, Robert Bird

When writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle visited a First World War armaments factory at Gretna on the Scottish border, he gave the nickname of "the Devil's Porridge" to the mixture of nitroglycerine and gun-cotton, resembling a lumpy paste, that was used to propel shells on their lethal mission! For more traditional flavors, on World Porridge Day, the village of Carrbridge in the Scottish Highlands hosts the Porridge Making Championships!  The grand prize for the winner of the World porridge Championship is the golden spurtle! With a tradition of porridge-eating going back thousands of years, some recipes include the admonition to stir only clockwise, as "anti-clockwise stirring will encourage the devil into your breakfast". 

The Scottish Highland village of Carrbridge has teamed up with the Scottish-based charity, Mary’s Meals, to establish World Porridge Day on October 10th.  The mission of World Porridge Day is to  to help feed hungry children in some of the poorest countries across the globe.

On World Porridge Day, Carrbridge hosts the Porridge Making Championship.  Past champions have created recipes for Sticky Toffee PorridgeFruity Date Porridge and Pinhead Risotto with Lemon and Thyme and Parmesan!

 

The grand prize for the winner of the World porridge Championship is the golden spurtle.  

Dating from the at least the fifteenth century, a spurtle is a Scots kitchen tool, a narrow rod-shaped implement, used specifically for stirring porridge and soups.

Although many cultures have their own form of porridge (either sweet or savoury and using a variety of grains or starchy vegetables), the term most commonly refers to oat porridge (called oatmeal in the U.S. and parts of Canada), which is eaten for breakfast either plain with a bit of salt (the classic traditional Scottish version), or with other sweeteners and milkcream, or butter.

 Varieties of oat porridge include:

  • Groats, a porridge made from unprocessed oats or wheat

  • Gruel, very thin porridge, often drunk rather than eaten

With a tradition of porridge-eating going back thousands of years, some recipes include the admonition to stir only clockwise, as "anti-clockwise stirring will encourage the devil into your breakfast". 

This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, marries the deep colours of a ceramic bowl with the soft warm colours of just-cooked porridge.

The classic fairy tale, known as "Sweet Porridge" or sometimes "The Magic Porridge Pot", is a folkloric German fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm which tells of a poor girl and her mother who have nothing to eat. They meet an aged woman who gives them a magic porridge pot and special incantations to make the pot cook (and stop cooking) porridge.  Things work for a while, but then ... 

To hear an audio version this classic tale told charmingly by Danny Kaye, click the porridge!