We are a house divided on a very important issue. Porridge.
How do you make your porridge? What do you call porridge? Maybe you’ve never considered that there’s more than one way of making it but then maybe you do feel that your way is THE way.
The problem is when two people whose tastes in porridge are at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum get married and want breakfast on a cold wintery morning. Porridge obviously will fit that bill but what does either one of them mean by this term? Domestic bliss is not likely to ensue when one party makes the other their version of porridge according to their own taste and their own laws of the universe as that other party is not even going to consider trying the offensive article contained within their bowl however lovingly made. It’s not even porridge!
To me porridge is made from oats. OK, you’re probably still with me on this point but let’s clarify a little further. Oats as in the flaky things that you make flapjacks from. (Yes that’s what’s in flapjack if that’s a further revelation to you). You then add milk to taste and cook it over the hob until you have the desired consistency. Now my desired consistency is what causes further contention. I like it stiff enough for a fork to stand up in. Yes, I did say fork. My porridge is thick enough for whatever piece of cutlery I grab first (but I’d rather not have a knife!) to stand up in. Why is this such a problem? The idea of runny mush makes my stomach turn. No, porridge has to be thick and solid enough that if you took it outside and started throwing it around the police would have you up under the offensive weapons act. I don’t add sugar or even salt (yes, you can do that, honestly) but have it plain with a wee drizzle of maple syrup (for preference) due to my American tastes.
My husband has a very different idea of what porridge is. His comes in a box and is best known by a certain brand name. To me this stuff is very suspicious as it contains more than one ingredient and is dusty enough to be MDF sawdust. Why would you eat this stuff?! He then adds milk, fair enough, but enough milk so that this pap is runny enough to be drunk from a mug. (He might not actually agree with that but then he does have issues with cup-a-soups never mind the alien concept of cup-a-porridge). I think this is what the Americans call instant oatmeal. I do not deem it worthy of the title ‘porridge’. It’s a nauseating sludge. The next thing that I find totally ridiculous is that although this dusty powder has already been sweetened he has to add a ton of sugar to it before considering whether or not to add syrup. It’s a breakfast not a dessert!
There is definitely more than one way to eat the stuff, whether or not you see it as actually being ‘porridge’. For the sake of diplomacy and to save on further etymological debate we now call my version ‘porridge’ and his by that well known brand name. Although we have now persuaded him that the supermarket (ie cheaper) version is just as good.
Oh and you can make both versions with water if you’re desperate (cue horrified expressions all round).