Dalmore Daytime

Dalmore Daytime
Sandy Beach

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Ever Seen Porridge in a Drawer?

In most houses in Lewis at that time,there was no need to second guess what was for "brekkers". There was no grapefruit,orange juice,toast,marmalade. Yes,you've got it - porridge - a massive cauldron of the stuff which everyone enjoyed - man,woman child,dog and even the hens. There were two exceptions to the porridge fan club, me and our discerning felines. We could not stomach the stuff,and personally I could not even bear to watch it being consumed. The cats and I had negotiated ourselves out of the porridge contract,and instead, this likely lad was offered a large triangular girdle scone,topped with crowdie and cream. The cats purred over their milk or cream. It was tough going. I used to think that "Philax the Piseag" gave me a knowing wink.( piseag - kitten,young cat )
Before anyone,including the tourist,starts asserting how wonderful is porridge( or porage if you wear a kilt up a ladder ),let me tell you that "lite" (pronouced "leet-ch")as it is called in Gaelic is made from rough oatmeal,and it comes in very large hessian sacks,with the mill's name front and back.
Making "real" porridge is an art,I'm told - blending the raw oatmeal with the hot water,deft use of the spurtle and knowing how much salt to add. All I took in was when the large ladle of spluttering porridge hit the soup plate(no fancy porridge bowls here),there was an immediate phase change from liquid to solid state. Instantaneous,amazing,solid but wobbly "homely fare". Because it is solid,every porridge aficionado must, with their spoon, excavate a hole in the middle of this mass. From here on in, the variety of fillers used would amaze you,or turn you green. I have seen porridge with treacle,golden syrup,fresh milk,thick sour milk and cream,but never sugar.
When people,in times past,were strictly sabbatarian,even preparing food on the Lord's Day was looked on as work,which went against the Commandment forbidding man,oxen and asses from any work at all on that day. So a large batch of porridge would be prepared on the Saturday evening and poured into the "porridge drawer" in the dresser. After church,three times on Sunday,you would be given a large slab of cold porridge,with treacle,if that was your thing. The cats and I might have had a wee problem, in these "good old days".


Shelley said...

That how I feel about grits, which my (late) Arkansas-born father said disqualified me from being a true Southerner. Considering how many Keiths there are in Magnolia Springs, I'll guess that they brought their porridge making skills with them from Scotland, but then switched the recipe to cornmeal which is more plentifully available South of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Shelley said...

From The Scotsman: