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A Brief History of Porridge

A Brief History of Porridge
25th March 2016 FUEL10K
In Blog

Some of us have porridge for breakfast, some for lunch, some for dinner and some for all three. It can be a different meal each time you have it, spice it up with some cinnamon, put some summer into your bowl with berries and fruits – it’s versatile and easy and that’s why we love it! We might recall being forced to eat it as children as it is nutritious, quick and normally within a reasonable budget. Oat porridge is rich in good stuff like zinc, iron, magnesium (which is a great stress reducer!), calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin E and tons of great bacteria for the stomach – so it makes sense that humans early on appreciated its use in kickstarting your day! As we’ve said before, a good protein breakfast should include between 20-30 g of protein, and rolling oats contain 17 g out of 100 g, which means you’re nearly there with just the oats!

Bowl of oatmeal porridge with banana and honey on rustic table

Porridge has not always been perceived a food worthy of human consumption, although always healthy and nutritious enough for our horses. Porridge was for a few centuries, much thanks to Master Dickens’ Oliver Twist, viewed as a sign of poverty and deprivation. Somehow, it has after that developed such a place in society that we proudly post pictures of it on social media (a lot of the time look pretty tasty!) saying “Hey, look how healthy I am”. What’s changed?

Although porridge colloquially refers to oat porridge (at least in the UK), porridge really is any grain (rice, quinoa, semolina, wheat, grits, barley, you name it) being mixed with either water or milk – or even a type of sour cream, as used in Norwegian Rømmegrøt. Historical accounts say that people in East Asia have been eating rice porridge for over 4000 years whilst other types of hot cereal have been consumed in Eurasia for over 2000 years.

The Porridge Evolution

Growing grains really is a very revolutionary concept, once we look beyond the bowl of delicious goo. Having food made from grains demonstrates human settlement, going from being hunter gatherers to living together in one place. A sense of security was born and we no longer had to spend our days thinking about the next meal would be and how it would be sorted. Albeit, some of us still do, but not because we have to. When you think about porridge from that angle and it’s importance to our ancestors, it’s quite spectacular.

A British study in 2013 showed that consumers are becoming more health conscious about their breakfast’s nutritional values. This mindset has helped porridge to peak and become a daily routine for many! The less orthodox porridge-eaters now have a variety of options out there, from protein boosted insta-porridge, where only hot water or milk need to be added, to the endless flavours and toppings. Porridge has gone from being a catalyst in human development, to being something the English could use to look down upon Scots, to now being the food of the active and nutrition conscious!

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