Traditional Diets: Scottish Highlander Oatmeal Porridge Recipe
“There is one kind of food,” the distinguished doctor, Sir James Crichton-Browne, writes in 1901 in Stray Leaves from a Physician’s Portfolio, “that is helpful to the brain and to the whole body, throughout childhood and adolescence, and that is oatmeal.”
“Look at the Scotch, with their oatmeal porridge, as robust a set of men as ever lived. A Highlander will scale mountains all day upon a diet of oatmeal stirred in water fresh from a gurgling spring with his finger, in a leather cup.” [Robinson, Solon, How to Live, Saving or Wasting, or Domestic Economy Illustrated, 1860]
To prepare oatmeal the old-fashioned Highlander way:
“Bring the water to the boil and as soon as it reaches boiling-point add the oatmeal, letting it fall in a steady rain from the left hand and stirring it briskly the while with the right, sunwise, or the right-hand turn for luck—and convenience. A porridge-stick, called a spurtle, and in some parts a theevil, or, as in Shetland, a gruel-tree, is used for this purpose. Be careful to avoid lumps, unless the children clamour for them. When the porridge is boiling steadily, draw the mixture to the side and put on the lid. Let it cook for from twenty to thirty minutes according to the quality of the oatmeal, and do not add the salt, which has a tendency to harden the meal and prevent its swelling, until it has cooked for at least ten minutes. On the other hand, never cook porridge without salt. Ladle straight into cold porringers or soup-plates and serve with individual bowls of cream, or milk, or buttermilk. Each spoonful of porridge, which should be very hot, is dipped in the cream or milk, which should be quite cold, before it is conveyed to the mouth.” —The Scots Kitchen
The traditional Scots seasoning for porridge is only salt; sugar, as used by the English, was early on considered deplorable.
How I Prepare Scottish Oatmeal Porridge:
Bring 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of flax milk or raw milk with a pinch of sea salt to a low boil.
Add 1 cup of Scottish Oatmeal. Stir well, making sure to dissolve lumps. Unless, of course, the children clamour for them ;)
Turn heat down to simmer, and cover.
Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Next, stir in berries (strawberries, blueberries, etc.) then put lid back on for another 3 minutes.
Spoon out into serving bowls, garnishing with a sprinkle of turmeric and cinnamon, some pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and hemp hearts (or any nut/seed/spice combination you prefer).
Stir well to combine, and enjoy!
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