Since late medieval times oats have grown in Scotland as the staple diet of crofters. With no methods of preserving the oats, a thick paste was made, then cooled and stored in a wooden porridge drawer, from where it was eaten over several days. When cold the mixture became thick and solid and useful in thick slices for lunch or fried for breakfast.
Traditionally porridge was cooked in a heavy saucepan and stirred with a wooden spurtle a thick wooden stick. Superstition would have you believe the porridge should be stirred only using the right-hand and in a clockwise direction to ward off evil spirits.
Nowadays, when time is often short, many opt for instant porridge and a microwave; I am not sure that will keep evil spirits away.
Originally only made with water and salt, the paste, or porridge as it became known, bore little likeness to the thick, creamy mixture we know today.
Types of Oats for Porridge
Goldilocks knew what she was doing when she ate the porridge from each bowl, finally choosing the tastiest. This traditional Scottish dish has many tastes and textures. Some like it thick and sweet, some with salt. Instant porridge (frowned on by porridge purists) is often smooth and a lighter consistency.
These variations are all a matter of personal choice and rely on the oats used and the cooking method.
The oats used for porridge determine how hearty the final dish will be and how long to cook; the finer the oats the quicker the cooking time. The oats used for porridge are usually rolled rather than crushed and Scottish oats, also known as "pinhead oats" and are the ones used for Scottish porridge.
Choose rolled oats if you want a smooth consistency and a porridge that cooks quickly. Rolled oats have a medium grain and are used for oatcakes, biscuits and stuffing.
All oats have the same nutritional value so by choosing them guarantees you a hearty, comforting, breakfast to see you through to lunchtime. Oats are a slow release carbohydrate and perfect for a low G.I. diet. Research also shows they are also useful for lowering cholesterol.
Making Porridge is So Easy
All you need is:
110g or 4oz pinhead or rolled oats and 275ml or 9½ fl oz water or milk (or a mixture of both).
Place the oats in a heavy saucepan and add the milk or water. Bring to a slow boil, stirring all the time until the porridge begins to thicken. After approx 7 mins (sooner if the porridge is thick enough and heated all the way through) remove from the heat and leave to stand for 1 min. Why when it is this easy would you ever buy instamt oatmeal?