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Porridge


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The recent discussion about congee, followed by winter finally starting to show here, got me thinking of porridge. So I'd love to hear your favorite ways of eating porridge. 

 

I'll admit I'm not a congee lover, at least not in the format I had it in, which I find too watery / lean. Although I do love rice pudding (as in thicker congee, not the baked kind, though it's also good) made with some milk, cream, coconut milk etc.

 

I tend to prefer sweet porridge, mostly because that's what I grow up with and what I'm used to. Do you have a favorite savory porridge (especiallyvegetarian one)?

 

My default is rolled oatmeal, cooked with half water half milk until it's quite broken up. I'll have it thicker for breakfast or sometimes thin as warming snack. I top it quite conservatively with maple or dark brown sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg. Some raisins or nuts on occasion, but I generally dislike adding fruits (other than bananas).

 

As for grains, other than oatmeal and rice (short grain!) I also enjoy barley and wheat. I quite dislike semolina and kasha porridges (even while liking it in other forms). Have you tried other interesting grains? I wish I could get my hands on hominy - I'm sure I'd love it as a porridge.

~ Shai N.

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Hominy is a chewy chunky not so much porridge corn product. We have wonderful speciality farmers like Anson and Bobs for grits. Not my thing- but I am the oddity who does not like mashed ptatoes or anything resembling nursery food.

Edited by heidih (log)
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13 minutes ago, heidih said:

Hominy is a chewy chunky not so much porridge corn product. We have wonderful speciality farmers like Anson and Bobs for grits. Not my thing- but I am the oddity who does not like mashed ptatoes or anything resembling nursery food.

 

I was impressed by Jamaican porridge recpies that made use of it, granted I can't really tell the texture from videos. I think that I would enjoy grits, but probably not as a porridge, I prefer more texture in porridge.

 

Edit to clarify, by "not as a porridge" I mean cooked thicker, more like polenta. Is polenta still considered porridge? The definition might be a bit of a cultural thing.

Edited by shain (log)

~ Shai N.

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15 minutes ago, shain said:

 

I was impressed by Jamaican porridge recpies that made use of it, granted I can't really tell the texture from videos. I think that I would enjoy grits, but probably not as a porridge, I prefer more texture in porridge.

 

Edit to clarify, by "not as a porridge" I mean cooked thicker, more like polenta. Is polenta still considered porridge? The definition might be a bit of a cultural thing.

Yes I would put polenta in that space except when cooled , sliced and fried ;) I grew up with Cream of Wheat as breakfast I put enough cinnamon in there to bankrupt the Zimt larders... Not  comfort food at all for me.

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I love oatmeal.  Once upon a time a used to buy those instant Quaker oatmeal packets.  Then I graduated to steel cut oats which I still like.  Then I came across a Canadian product called Stoked Oats.  I buy the Bucking-Eh and the Stone Age Oats and mix them together.  They too are an "instant oat" but it isn't gummy and actually has texture.  I really like it.

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I'm in the steel-cut camp; it's my almost-invariable year-round breakfast: I make up a large batch (1 cup oats, 4 cups water) and then reheat a bowlful in the morning. I say "almost" invariable because occasionally I'll forget to make them up in advance, in which case I'll either microwave some quick-cooking oats (which otherwise I keep just for baking) or do without. I don't have the time or patience to wait for steel-cut to cook in the AM.

 

My most common version adds a handful of raisins or other dried fruit while the oats are cooking, and then a goodly shake of cinnamon as well. I eat them with enough  milk to loosen the oats, and a topping of homemade unsweetened applesauce. Quite virtuous, but very tasty.

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“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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My porridges need be savory.    Old fashioned oatmeal, nuked with water and salt.    Splashed with heavy cream.   Oh,yes!   

Corn meal "mush" with salt, pepper and butter.

 

I can't handle sweet cereals.   Nor spiced.   Just salt, pepper and BUTTER or cream, thank you.  

Does reheated mashed potato with gravy count?

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eGullet member #80.

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I've had steel-cut oats but I didn't like the texture. I grew up with what in our extended family was called "mush," which was cooked oatmeal with milk and a little sugar. A big pot every single morning for years.*  Sometimes leftovers were fried in a little butter. This was in the 1940s and '50s so it was probably just whatever regular oatmeal was available then. 

*Edited to add that we did have other things every once in awhile -- bacon and eggs, our version of French toast, etc. But it wasn't usual. 

Edited by SusieQ
Original needed clarification. (log)
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I was raised in such a large extended family that we had several breakfast dishes mornings. My grandpa often got up earlly and had breakfast in the kitchen with one or more of my uncles or great uncles, the farm manager (crops) the vet and an occasional visitor.  The rest of us had breakfast in the breakfast room with food in chafers that kept the food warm.

The cook made grits, oatmeal, semolina porridge and sometimes toasted buckwheat porridge (buckwheat was grown on the farm as a "cover crop" that was plowed under to replenish the soil where tobacco had been grown for years but some of it was allowed to mature and was harvested to make bread, quick breads, pancakes.)

She toasted the buckwheat in a big skillet before putting it through the grain mill the evening before, soaked it overnight and cooked it in the morning.  

We had other things, biscuits, bacon, sausage, eggs, toast, gravy and I am making myself hungry.

We had hand-cranked "flakers" for whole grains.  I still have one and it still works just fine, when I have the energy to use it.

Edited by andiesenji (log)
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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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48 minutes ago, SusieQ said:

I've had steel-cut oats but I didn't like the texture. I grew up with what in our extended family was called "mush," which was cooked oatmeal with milk and a little sugar. A big pot every single morning for years.*  Sometimes leftovers were fried in a little butter. This was in the 1940s and '50s so it was probably just whatever regular oatmeal was available then. 

*Edited to add that we did have other things every once in awhile -- bacon and eggs, our version of French toast, etc. But it wasn't usual. 

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure steel cut oats were not a thing in Philadelphia of the '40's and '50's.  I do remember demanding pie for breakfast.  My mother replied "I am from New England."  "Actually they do eat pie for breakfast in New England."  "But this is not New England."

 

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I certainly classify grits as porridge. Or polenta, although medium grind white grits is my favorite kind of porridgy corn thing. But I'm really beyond lazy at this point and can't imagine stirring a pot for an hour before being able to sit and eat breakfast. If I make grits for dinner I like to put half the pot into a flat form and refrigerate it until morning so I can fry squares in butter, which only takes a few minutes. I don't technically think of that as porridge, but I suppose you could call it "fried porridge." Right out of the pot or fried I'm more likely to want it with hot sauce than a sweet syrup. 

 

The house porridge of choice when I was little was Wheatena. I don't think either of my parents liked oatmeal. I still like the taste and texture of Wheatena but haven't had it for several years. Definitely a nostalgia breakfast. And then there's Cream of Wheat. Also excellent!  I'm sure it was my first cereal. Those were the days before we were scared of wheat.

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1 minute ago, Katie Meadow said:

I certainly classify grits as porridge. Or polenta, although medium grind white grits is my favorite kind of porridgy corn thing. But I'm really beyond lazy at this point and can't imagine stirring a pot for an hour before being able to sit and eat breakfast. If I make grits for dinner I like to put half the pot into a flat form and refrigerate it until morning so I can fry squares in butter, which only takes a few minutes. I don't technically think of that as porridge, but I suppose you could call it "fried porridge." Right out of the pot or fried I'm more likely to want it with hot sauce than a sweet syrup. 

 

The house porridge of choice when I was little was Wheatena. I don't think either of my parents liked oatmeal. I still like the taste and texture of Wheatena but haven't had it for several years. Definitely a nostalgia breakfast. And then there's Cream of Wheat. Also excellent!  I'm sure it was my first cereal. Those were the days before we were scared of wheat.

 

Who is scared of wheat?

 

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4 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

I think nowadays it's pretty common to give babies rice cereal and not wheat at first, no? 

I agree. It used to be you selected what veges and fruit you first started babies on (bland, bland, bland...) but it actually made a bit of sense. It gave time for the immune system (the babies) to develop. Initially babies got their immunity from breast milk and then from slowly introducing other foods. Rice was usually part of the early childhood food because it is fairly benign.

Wheat was given as "rusks" or "crust" because the gluten was mostly transformed with baking.

As a side note if your dog has digestive upsets its normal to feed him boiled chicken & rice because the chicken is easy to digest and is usually free of bacteria, and the rice is quite benign.

 

(and no you cannot infer that I like dogs rather then babies.... though a baby can't fetch and love you unreservedly only if you feed them....)😃

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9 hours ago, shain said:

y default is rolled oatmeal, cooked with half water half milk until it's quite broken up. I'll have it thicker for breakfast or sometimes thin as warming snack. I top it quite conservatively with maple or dark brown sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg. Some raisins or nuts on occasion, but I generally dislike adding fruits (other than bananas).

Exactly the same. 

 

The best oats to be had in my opinion come from the UK and Ireland. I even like the "cheaper" brands of Irish oats better than anything I can get anywhere else. We bring bags back to Italy whenever we go and try to make them last. It's been a while now since we had to cancel our last trip (was going to be to Scotland this time) due to Covid. 

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9 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

I think nowadays it's pretty common to give babies rice cereal and not wheat at first, no? 

Cuts both ways as with peanuts - expose or shield. Opinions vary.  Also rice is considered more easily digested.= oh the dreaded colic. Been there...

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15 minutes ago, heidih said:

Cuts both ways as with peanuts - expose or shield. Opinions vary.  Also rice is considered more easily digested.= oh the dreaded colic. Been there...

There has been finding and discussion of high levels of mercury in all forms/varieties of rice that may not be important when rice is consumed occasionally but that may be unhealthful when a major part of one's diet, particularly infants.

eGullet member #80.

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28 minutes ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

There has been finding and discussion of high levels of mercury in all forms/varieties of rice that may not be important when rice is consumed occasionally but that may be unhealthful when a major part of one's diet, particularly infants.

Why variety is promoted and makes sense.

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Kashi used to sell a mix of whole oats, long grain brown rice, rye, hard red winter wheat, triticale, buckwheat, barley and sesame seeds.

I think it was called a 7-grain pilaf or something like that. 

It took a good while to cook but made a great sweet or savory porridge with a ton of texture. I used to cook up a batch and store single-serving portions in the freezer. 

Sadly, it was discontinued some ago. 

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I'm fond of oatmeal (brown sugar and butter, and of either the steel-cut or rolled variety), and grits (always savory, just butter, salt and pepper for breakfast, cheese and hot sauce added for side dishes). But I think my favorite breakfast porridge is champorado -- rice with cocoa and sugar, cooked in milk.

 

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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