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Porridge is a traditional Scottish breakfast dish that is now popular throughout the whole of the United Kingdom. It basically consists of crushed oats1, mixed with milk and/or water and boiled to produce a thick sludge. A variety of toppings can be applied; the Scottish traditionally prefer nothing but salt, which is an acquired taste. Most people sprinkle sugar on top, or add extra milk.
The fact that porridge is a breakfast dish tends to confuse visiting foreigners, who often assume it is a strange English pudding, therefore consuming it at the end of the meal out of politeness2. Porridge oats can also be used to make biscuits and a variety of baked foods.
How to Make Porridge
The Quick and Easy Way
Allow 50 grams of oats per person. Put oats and milk (and/or water) in a non-stick saucepan; two parts liquid to one part oats. Boil for five minutes, stirring frequently.
Pour into bowls and add sugar and extra milk to taste.
How to Prepare Perfect Porridge
Buy some good quality Scottish oats, and some full cream milk. The amount of porridge cooked depends on the number of people to be fed, but more is better as this stops it drying up. About 50 grams (2oz) per person is adequate. Put this in a non-stick saucepan if cooking on a cooker top or a non-stick cake tin if cooking in an oven. It is vitally important that you use a non-stick pan. This will become apparent when you wash up: porridge will weld itself like concrete to a steel pan, but will slide off a non-stick pan with a simple rinse.
Add two parts milk to one part oats. Porridge can be boiled for as little as five minutes on the top of a cooker, but the best tasting porridge is cooked in the bottom of a very low oven for a long time; overnight is fine. This takes some practice but is recommended.
When ready, pour the porridge into preheated pudding bowls. Make sure the porridge is very hot as it isn't nice when lukewarm or cold. When the pan is empty fill it with water and leave to stand, as this makes washing up considerably easier. Surround the porridge with extra milk and sprinkle demerara sugar3 on top. If you are new to porridge, more sugar will be needed than you think; but you can always add more milk and sugar as you eat it. Eat (with a spoon) while hot, with the drink of your choice4.