Why eat porridge for breakfast?
Granny often said start as you mean to go on, and she usually said it at breakfast time as she set a bowl of porridge in front of you. So why eat porridge for breakfast? Well I can think of quite a few reasons.
A good warm start
The weather in Scotland can sometimes be challenging, to say the least. In the Western Isles it can rain for weeks at a time and the wind cuts through you. On a cold winter morning a steaming hot bowl of porridge sets you up for the day and keeps you full until lunch time.
Granny’s porridge was made with pinhead oatmeal also known as steel cut oats, but she would just say oats. Come and get your oats I would hear her shout in the morning. Running into the kitchen I would find her dishing out steaming bowls of freshly made porridge. These days I make my porridge with rolled oats not pinhead oatmeal. It is quicker and you get good results without soaking them overnight. If I get my life organised and become a perfect housewife I will use pinhead oats. They have a nuttier taste and give more texture, but I am not going to become organised any time soon and so for now rolled oats is what I use.
Health on a budget
I am always reading these days how you should have more fibre in your diet and eat less processed food, but this can be a challenge when you are busy and lack motivation. But with porridge it doesn’t matter if you use instant porridge, rolled oats, or traditional pinhead oatmeal they are all wholegrains which is something health experts agree is a good thing.
Porridge is cheap to make, at its most basic it’s oats and water. You can add all sorts of things but it still costs very little for a warm and filling plateful. Oats are currently touted as a super food they are frequently mentioned in the media and are in many of the latest diets. They are full of vitamins and minerals and contain lots of fibre which can help lower your cholesterol. Oats aid digestion and some studies have shown they help prevent heart disease. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language from 1755 gives the following definition of oats:-
A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.
Generations of Scots have grown healthy and strong eating oats. Granny was right you can’t do better than a bowl of porridge.
Ring the Changes
I’m not going to tell you how to cook porridge, do it your way. Use the microwave, use instant oats, soak pinhead oatmeal overnight and cook it in a pan, or use rolled oats. You can make them with water, milk, coconut milk, almond milk, it’s up to you. However you cook them, here are some of my favorite ways to serve oats.
- Stir in a pinch of ground cinnamon and top with blueberries
- Topped with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey
- Stir in some chopped walnuts and drizzle with maple syrup
- Stir in a spoonful of peanut butter
- Add some frozen raspberries while cooking then grate over a small amount of dark chocolate
- Sprinkle with muscovado sugar and serve with a little cream
- Topped with seasonal fresh fruit
I like to alternate plain porridge one day and a topping the next. I feel virtuous because I am eating a healthy breakfast and I enjoy the variety. How do you like your porridge for breakfast?