Porridge is a dish traditionally associated with Scotland. It is made of oats cooked in either milk or water, and is served with salt or sugar and milk.
Neolithic farmers cultivated oats along with other crops in these
northern reions, the damp, cool climate suiting this grain crop. Anglo
Saxon sources describe "briw" or "brewit" made from
rye meal, barley meal or oats served with or without vegetables.
Eighteenth Century cookbooks give recipes for "Water Gruel" made of oatmeal and water, and flavoured with butter and pepper. It could be served with any meal at any time of the day.
Porridges and gruels were an easy way to cook grains. The grain only
had to be cracked, not completely ground into flour. It could be cooked
in a pot at the edge of a fire, while bread required the grain to be
ground down to a flour, then cooked in an oven.
Porridge formed a basis for many dishes, both sweet and savoury. It was served with meat, with vegetables, fruits, honey.
It could be allowed to cool and set in a "porridge drawer", and could then be sliced to be eaten cold or even fried. Often it would be the households meal for the week, a slice cold each day taken to work.
As sugar only became widely available in Britain in the Eighteenth Century, this is probably why the Scots traditionally eat their porridge with salt
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