Waste not want not. Just eat your lumpy Porridge.

 Some time back

Some time back

I was abused from an early age by having to eat lumpy porridge. It has left its mark and no psychologist or therapist has given me any insight into how this continues to shape me into the present dysfunctional personae, still grappling with life so fraught with fits of uncertainty as to its real meaning or purpose.(Phew)

The weeks just prior and after the end of WW 2, Holland was on its knees. Oats, Biscuits and Spam was fought over by people running towards the US, Canadian and English Lancaster bombers overhead, dropping food parcels. I remember my dad running on a field towards one and bringing home a huge metal box with rock hard but very nutritious English biscuits. The sky was dark with food being parachuted , raining down on Rotterdam. How glorious a liberation it was! Dancing in the streets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operations_Manna_and_Chowhound

untitled food at last

Despite the biscuits saving us from starvation, I still remember being very churlish about having to eat porridge with lumps and preferred the biscuits soaked in water. It was years later, when ‘easy oats’ came into being that could be cooked with milk without resulting in uneatable lumps. The porridge cooked by my mum then became silky smooth and with the Golden Syrup was delicious, a real delectable food. Even so, I have hardly touched porridge ever since. The lumps left their mark. That’s what a war does to you.

Walking around, pondering and practising a pensive thought or two is now a well earned pastime in advancing years together with offering adages and words probably so wasted on the much better informed. Together with Helvi and Milo, I traipse through our town forever hoping to find solutions to life and purpose. How this can be found by walking with a dog, hand-scooping his toilet habits in plastic bags, and drinking a latte in between is questionable but probably as good as studying Plato or taking Prozac.

images Food drops

But going back to lumpy porridge and hunger, we are surprised how much food can now be found just on the streets and parks. A half eaten hamburger here, bags of chips there. I sometimes, much to the horror of Helvi, lift a lid on public rubbish bins to see what has been discarded, much the same as I am curious about peoples washings on the line. Don’t ask, why? There is no hope. There is so much that can be gleaned from washing lines. Is the husband an office worker or tradesman? Are there children? How lithe and slim (or large) are they? What are the favourite colours etc. (Even that little joy is getting less with so many now lazy and using a cloth-drier).

But for discarded food…Only last week an entire ‘meat lover’s’ pizza in its specially designed aerated box was thrown out in the bin. Half full drink bottles, chips, steaks, even calamari rings, all gets thrown out.

It is nice to know that if ever I became destitute and homeless, food will not be a problem. I could probably make a living as well from sitting near a supermarket with Milo at my side, a cap with a few coins next to him and holding up a sign. “Help, I have still not found the purpose of life.”

There is hope where there is life!

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33 Responses to “Waste not want not. Just eat your lumpy Porridge.”

  1. Silver in the Barn Says:

    Oh, Gerard. This post reminds me so of all the stories my mother has told us about her war years and the never-ending feeling of hunger. She particularly remembers craving fat. Anything with fat. Butter, bacon, pork fat. Seeing such terrible waste of food is really upsetting but we are hopeless throwbacks, Gerard, I guess.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes Barbara, they were hard times,
      This from the above link;
      “Operation Manna then began in earnest.[5] British aircraft from Groups 1, 3, and 8, consisting of 145 Mosquitoes and 3,156 Lancaster bombers, took part, flying between them a total of 3,298 sorties.

      These bombers were used to dropping bombs from 6,000 metres (20,000 ft), but this time they had to do their job from a height of 150 metres (490 ft), some even flying as low as 120 metres (390 ft), as the cargo did not have parachutes.[6] The drop zones, marked by Mosquitoes from Squadrons 105 and 109 using Oboe, were: Leiden (Valkenburg airfield), The Hague (Duindigt horse race course and Ypenburg airfield), Rotterdam (Waalhaven airfield and Kralingse Plas (nl)) and Gouda. Bomber Command delivered a total 6,680 tons of food.

      The idea was for people to gather and redistribute the food, but some could not resist eating straight away, which caused some people to get sick and vomit, (and some died) a result that fatty food can have in starved bodies. On the other hand, distribution sometimes took as long as ten days, resulting in some getting the food only after the liberation. Nevertheless, many lives were saved, and it gave hope and the feeling that the war would soon be over.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Carrie Rubin Says:

    I hate wasting food, which is why I always have a leftover night for one of the week’s meals. Of course, my kids hate leftover night. Such a conundrum…

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  3. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    I’m quite moved reading about your WW 2 experiences with food drops.
    There is a TV doctor here who was a young hippy in the 60’s and said he ate very well “dumpster diving”. People throw away so much that is good. I am frugal too.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you kayti.
      They were hard times and those who survived would not ever do what happens now. I am amazed how much food gets left on plates in cafes and restaurants. Mind you, the servings are elephantine.

      Helvi and I creep into a dark corner and just order one serving. Even then, enough for Milo, wrapped up, when no one is looking, into a serviette. On homecoming Milo knows and sniffs into Helvi’s handbag.
      Good boy Milo!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. M-R Says:

    Gerard, ANYTHING is better than taking Prozac. Anything at all. Having bamboo splinters driven under your fingernails, for instance …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    So you don’t buy the old statement that ‘you have to take your lumps’ eh Gerard. Those sound like very tough times indeed, and they were. But back to porridge, my dad was raised on oatmeal, and he could never get enough. I found some cooking on his stove when he passed away in his late 80s.

    Peggy and I really like leftovers. Almost everything we cook is designed to be eaten over several days. Today’s lamb roast becomes tomorrow’s lamb curry. In fact I had lamb curry for lunch. Mmm, mmm, good. –Curt

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I did take the lumpy porridge but under protests. I have no other foods I can’t eat, except that dark brooding vegemite.
      I love curries and raw herrings fresh from the North sea. ( with onions)

      Like

  6. Red Hen Says:

    Porridge is a big hit here in Ireland too. So is food waste too though.

    Your war time memories, though difficult I am sure to return to, make for fascinating reading.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the Irish look as if they like porridge. That ruddy complexion says it all.
      The lumpy porridge gave me a gagging response. I can’t help even now reacting just by remembering it.
      Yet, dumplings in a hearty soup gives me great fortitude and courage to keep going. Figure that one!

      Like

  7. auntyuta Says:

    What about semolina, Gerard? Where you served semolina at http://www.wordwebonline.com/search.pl?ww=7&w=Bonegilla

    When I was little my younger brother and I had either semolina or oats every morning. This was always our breakfast, always the same. We loved semolina mornings, but we hated it to have to eat oats every second morning: They had these awfully hard pieces in it! These days I like properly cooked porridge very much.🙂

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      No , semolina wasn’t at the Oosterman household. Porridge and sometimes , when finances allowed, a boiled egg on bread. After arrival in Australia, corn flakes came into fashion but my mum soon found out that corn flakes was mainly fried air and expensive. There were continuous battles between the corn flake and porridge breakfasts. Later on toast and jam became normal as well.

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  8. roughseasinthemed Says:

    I never had porridge as a kid, bacon for breakfast every day (my parents sold bacon and ham and cheese), but I did start cooking when I got older. Very nice in the Rayburn overnight. Had some terrible porridge at a youth hostel once. Put my husband off porridge after that, just like your lumpy porridge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Never had porridge as a kid? Now that was a loving upbringing and…bacon every day…halleluja. Every child’s dream come true.

      Lumpy porridge has a lot to anser for. Many a marital battle was fought out to the bitter end, often floundering on hard lumpy porridge.
      Golden syrup sometimes saved the day but only for the most hardy and determined partners, hell bent on making a go of it.

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  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    What will happen when our generation, with it war-time or at least rationing memory have gone? I had lumpy porridge at boarding school…

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I can just imagine lumpy porridge at boarding schools. Helvi had something similarly vile at her school in Finland. She used to spoon it back into the milk bottle. The cook found out and was mean to her since. She is now fiercely independent but fond of porridge.

      Like

  10. Lilith Says:

    Reblogged this on The Eloquent Garden and commented:
    Oh, I just love this blog! His alliterative talents “practicing a pensive thought or two’, deep philosophical wonderings as to the discarding of meatlovers pizza, marriage tips and so much more..hope you enjoy also.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lilith Says:

    I love your blogs…I am always keen for marriage tips, who knows when i may succumb again. And deep philosphical wonderings about discarded Meatlovers pizza…perhaps the sudden realisation that date and potential new girl/boyfriend is a Vegetarian? I have reblogged it, hope that’s ok?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Lilith Says:

    Seriously. I laugh out loud. Now there’s state of confusion, no wonder i find your deep psychology helpful.

    Like

  13. Sarah Potter Writes Says:

    There are people who call themselves Freegans and, indeed, live off thrown-out food that they’ve reclaimed from supermarkets and restaurants.
    Oooo, lumpy porridge. I remember it well from boarding school, and lumpy custard, too.
    I do get upset with people throwing out food and it must be particularly galling to people who lived through rationing, or have experienced near-starvation.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Excellent. Did not know they excisted. Freegans are showing the way. I have forgotten the tonnage of food that gets thrown out daily in the western world but I thought it was something like 40%.
      We have reached the stage we wrap up food before going out to visit a restaurant and than add it onto the single plate we have ordered for both of us.
      Of course, there are sourpus restaurants that forbid own food to be consumed on their premises, especially if it overlooks the Danube or situated inside the courtyard of an old Hapsburg castle.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. chris hunter Says:

    Is there room for me on that supermarket bench Gerard? I’m still wondering.

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  15. lilith Says:

    have just revisited and re-enjoyed your blog now I have some time again.

    Like

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