The excitement of life, including porridge.

Yes, with the years passing, robust health for the aged goes out of all proportions. I had a scare when playing croquet a few days ago and had to be helped off the greens. Fellow players reckoned it was due to dehydration. The elderly simply don’t drink enough water and the dehydration made me almost faint. Having low blood pressure as well, I discovered that eating bananas are not good because of the b p lowering potassium. I did not know that fact. A banana was the first thing that I would greet and eat each morning.
I am now having acute banana withdrawal symptoms which I was advised to counter with morning porridge. I try and remain excited about life.

My first porridge.

Memories of porridge go back decades and I can still see my mother making the porridge each morning in a large heavy enameled saucepan, green in colour and with two handles. At one stage this saucepan sprung a leak but, in those day a man on a bicycle would go around fixing leaking enameled saucepans of any size or colour. I think a little metal plate would be hammered into the leak and it worked!

Our milk was delivered daily, and the milkman had a one litre scoop which he would dip into a large container and deposit it into our enameled bucket. Again, from memory, we ordered roughly 4 litres daily or perhaps it was once every two days. Anyway, enameled kitchenware was to last decades and became part of our furniture, living equipment and my memory.

But going back to the porridge, my first effort in cooking it was yesterday but it failed and even though I ate some of it, it needed improving, I asked my kind neighbour for advice, and she gave me the proportion of rolled oats in relation to liquid. This morning I reheated yesterday’s failed mixture but added some water to make it at a bit more viscous. Even my dog Bentley walked away!

The reader must realize how porridge had been embedded in my life in those early years. They are somber being tainted with war and dreadful hunger. Porridge in mornings cooked by mother on a kerosine cooker in winter’s darkness with dad assisting in giving light. Bombed Rotterdam had no power nor running gas, but dad did have a bicycle with a dynamo fixed to the back wheel which would give light from the front wheel when pedaled on its stand. The porridge was fantastic and often our only meal of the day. And now some eighty years onwards I have to really not be fussy and eat my daily porridge irrespective of its viscosity or lumpiness.

I owe it to my memory.

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25 Responses to “The excitement of life, including porridge.”

  1. catterel Says:

    I use Jamie Oliver’s recipe for porridge: 1/3 cup of oats to 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and honey (or sugar or syrup or jam) to taste. Stir constantly while heating. It boils up quite smooth and creamy and doesn’t stick to the pan. Add milk as desired at the end, plus any fruit you fancy. Easy peasy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s the recipe that I used at my first attempt, see photo. I could only muster a couple of teaspoons.
      I was advised to grate some fresh ginger with powder turmeric and fresh berries.
      I might have another go after a good rest.

      Like

      • catterel Says:

        Tip from my daughter: Keep ginger root in the deep freeze, much easier to grate! You can also add a sprinkling of cinnamon to the porridge for more flavour. Bon appetit!!

        Like

  2. Robert Parker Says:

    Sometimes I’ll buy a can of McCann’s oats and then just soak a bowlful overnight, way better than the instant microwave packets that are like wallpaper paste.
    That’s something, to eat porridge with someone pedaling a bike for light.
    One of my grandmothers was friends with some families in her village, who’d emigrated from N. Ireland in the ’30’s I think. Mr. Greer was in England with the AAF during WWII, and when she asked if he’d had a chance to visit his hometown, he told her he hadn’t & wouldn’t. He said Antrim to him meant oatmeal for breakfast, going to school with oatcakes in his pocket for lunch and as likely oatmeal for dinner.
    I did not know there were still tinkers going around when you were young.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I know there must be many ways to skin a cat or make good porridge. I have fond memories of my mum’s porridge which was driven by sheer hunger.
      Yes, that kitchen and the kerosine cooker bathed in the yellow light of my dad’s bike pedaling with windows blackened out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Porridge memories. AH! šŸ™‚ and Aw! šŸ˜¦ (And Aw šŸ˜¦ on bananas.)
    HA! “viscosity or lumpiness”. šŸ™‚ And “even Bentley walked away”.
    I grew up on porridge. Yes, I have porridge memories, too…not all of them good. But, it was and still is a good hearty hot meal that I enjoy.
    (((HUGS))) and keep safe and PATS and RUBS for Bentley!! ā¤ļøā¤ļø

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, a good bowl of porridge is hard to beat. I am sure I will get there eventually. Can’t eat bananas anymore as they lower blood pressure which I wasn’t aware of. Odd how at the advancing years one still has to learn so much.
    I am going to have another go later on and I will let you know.
    Hugs and pats allround.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    My dad cooked porridge/oatmeal everyday right up to the day he passed on at 89, Gerard. He also told me that his mother always had a large pot of oatmeal on the stove when he was growing up, in the early 1900s. I cook McCann’s Irish steel cut oats here once a week. It’s the five minute version and I use 3/4ths of a cup of water to each quarter cup of oatmeal. Quite tasty. I add a little half and half plus a touch of brown sugar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Curt. Longevity and porridge are the secret of ageing nicely. Hand in hand they strive to survive. I suppose the craft of making good porridge should be handed over to generations to come.
      The bitter enemies of course are the merchants of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Pop and Crackle and all those kinds of instant foods.
      Glad you are sticking to porridge, Curt.

      Like

  6. shoreacres Says:

    I love oatmeal now that I’ve found a good way to cook it. If you’re into experimenting, try this:
    Bring a cup of water to a boil.
    Add 1/2 cup oats, then turn the heat down immediately to keep it from boiling over.
    Let it simmer for a while on low heat — do not stir!
    When it seems to be thickening up, give it a stir to be sure it’s not sticking to the pan.
    Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc., and some fruit or nuts. I like chopped apple and raisins, or blueberry and pecans.
    Stir it all up, add a bit of brown sugar and milk, and enjoy!

    It comes out not at all gummy, which is what I never liked about the stuff when I was a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh yes, I am all for experimenting with oats and porridge, Linda. I have only made it twice so far, but I am really impressed with my second effort. I grated fresh ginger with a sprinkling of turmeric and topped with fresh raspberries and blue berries, created a really spectacular porridge.
      Your idea of adding cinnamon and nutmeg will expand it even further.
      I took photos of my second porridge.
      So happy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Dora Jahnes Says:

    Oh Gerard…..that makes me sad. Brings back memories of mum telling me her experiences of the war, never far from my mind..it was always looking for food in garbage bins to feed the boys.

    Like

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    They were sad years, Dora, but we overcame. But, talking about food in garbage cans. Have you looked at what gets thrown out now in garbage bins?
    There are some rich pickings there now. Three quarter pizzas with cheese still almost dripping. Mouthwatering hamburgers WITH crispy bacon and eggs, just half eaten. Such riches now for the hungry, it is criminal. I sometimes get tempted!

    Like

  9. freefall852 Says:

    Nothing like a good, solid bowl of stodge to start a winters day!!….puts a lining on the gut and powers the bod till around smoko…then drops you like a ton of bricks!…love porridge! (w/spoonfull of honey).

    Liked by 1 person

  10. rangewriter Says:

    I did NOT know that enameled pots could be repaired. Back in the day, everything got repaired, I guess. Nothing tossed out. A much better lifestyle, actually.

    I’m not a huge fan of porridge, although I don’t suffer the dark connotations associated with it that you do. But it’s so bland. Gaaa. I like to add some interest. Some nuts, or raisins, or strawberries, or Oh horrors, peanut butter chips!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh yes, pots were fixed, and the same man also sharpened knives. The basic porridge is healthy, but we can now garnish it with all sorts of goodies. I prefer blue berries, raspberries and dried currants. Not sure about peanut chips (or potato chips).

      Like

  11. algernon1 Says:

    Mrs A eats porridge most days, doesn’t matter time of year. Unfortunately for me, I’ve developed an intolerance to oats and can no longer eat anything with oats in it. 30 minutes is all it takes and a day of regular visits.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Just stopping by with (((HUGS))) for you and gentle PATS and RUBS for Bentley!
    šŸ™‚ ā¤ļøšŸ˜Š ā¤ļø

    Liked by 1 person

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