backbone of the Scottish diet over the centuries has been oatmeal,
eaten in its many variations - gruel, brose, crowdie, porridge,
oatcakes and a variety of scones and puddings.
The sound advice from Dr Winifred M Ewing MSP to her younger colleague
Andrew Wilson MSP that "You've got to get a breakfast, eat well
in the morning and get excercise. Swim - that's what I do" was a
timely reminder that this column , to date, hasn't featured the finest
Scottish breakfast feast - porridge ( parritch ). Porridge, referred
to by our National Bard, Robert Burns, as 'chief o Scotia's
food' is still a national breakfast dish, undoubtedly enjoyed by
Winnie Ewing. The auld Scots saying 'A staunan poke fills the fu'est'
is a reminder that in the good old days, porridge was eaten standing
up! Milk to accompany porridge was always served in a separate bowl
and each spoonful of porridge was dunked in the milk bowl. The
traditional porridge stick is called a spurtle or sometimes a theevil
- every Scottish home should have one.
There was traditionally in days gone by a 'porridge drawer' which was
filled with porridge, which, of course, grew cold and solid and was
subsequently cut into squares and could be taken as a travelling
'piece' and eaten out of doors.
Ingredients : 2 rounded tablespoons medium cut oatmeal; 1/2 pint
water; salt, to taste
Bring water to boil in saucepan, sprinkle in oatmeal, stirring
continuously to avoid lumps, over reduced heat until it comes back to
the boil. Let it cook very slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring
frequently. Add salt, to taste, half way through cooking. Pour into a
soup bowl and 'sup up yir parritch' and like Winnie start your day by