Porridge might be considered by some people to be the ultimate comfort food! Warm, soft and filling, porridge, in its most basic form, can find roots in a wide variety of human civilizations. From Asia to Europe to the Americas, porridge touches people all over the globe.
National Porridge Day is a great time to learn more about this history and celebration of this most satisfying food!
History of National Porridge Day
The origins of porridge can likely be traced back to when people began preparing it from crushed grains, around 12,000 years ago. This may have begun with grains that could be found by hunter-gatherers and would eventually have changed to plants that were cultivated and attended to by farmers.
Some researchers and historians believe that porridge might have been a predecessor to bread. Ancient people are believed to have thickened their porridge and then cooked it into flat versions of bread. This type of baking of dense porridge made the food more portable, which was especially helpful for nomads, travelers and soldiers.
The people of Scotland, who are famous for their oat porridge and oat cakes, probably began incorporating porridge into their culture just after oats were introduced to their lands, some time around 600 AD.
Traditional Scottish porridge is made from oat flakes that are boiled, sometimes with water or adding milk, and then a bit of butter and salt are added at the end. This is often what many people think of when they hear the word “porridge”, yet the word was not introduced into language until much later – around the 17th century.
Other types of porridge have been developed in different civilizations all throughout the world, making porridge a great reason to celebrate!
National Porridge Day Timeline
Rice porridge is documented in China
It’s no surprise that the porridge made in China thousands of years ago would be made from rice.
Oats are introduced in Scotland
The critical grain for what will become iconic Scottish porridge, oats become an important crop.
The word “porridge” begins use
The origin of the word “porridge” is unclear, but it may be related to “pottage”, which is a variation of the French word “potage” meaning soup or stew.
The Great British Porridge Company is founded
Seeing a need for natural instant porridge, The Great British Porridge Company is started in London, UK.
How to Celebrate National Porridge Day
Those who want to celebrate National Porridge Day can come up with many options to enjoy the day with this nutritious and tasty dish. Get started with some of these ideas, or come up with some of your own:
Eat Some Tasty Porridge
Obviously, the first point of order is to get started by eating a healthy and warm bowl full of porridge for breakfast in celebration of National Porridge Day. Try it with just a pat of butter and some salt, or get a bit more creative and add in some other healthy and delicious options.
Add some berries, a bit of milk or a dollop of cream. Try out raisins and cinnamon, chia seeds, sliced almonds, or chopped dates. Walnuts, pears and ginger make a tasty combination, or add some low fat Greek yogurt and pile on some blueberries and sunflower seeds.
Learn About Porridge from Different Countries
Scotland is just one of the many countries that offers a traditional taste of their country through porridge. In fact, a similar dish seems to hail from all of the various continents, with the main difference being the grain that it is made from.
Here are a few porridge options that have traditionally been enjoyed in different places:
In Poland, Ukraine and various Central-European and Eurasian countries, this porridge called “kasha” is standard in households. It is made from buckwheat, either the whole grain or the groats.
Polentina or Grits
In Italy, it’s known as “polentina” and in the southern USA, it’s called “grits”. This porridge is made from finely ground corn and has a slightly creamy texture that may be served with butter and salt.
This savory rice porridge is popular all over China, either for breakfast or as a main meal with some added vegetables or protein. Some flavorful toppings, based on the region, might be pickled vegetables, fermented tofu or pickled eggs. Many people in parts of Asia consider this dish to be a “hangover cure”.
This porridge, served in South India or Sri Lanka, can be made from coarse rice flour or dry roasted semolina. It is eaten for breakfast and may include flavors like chilies, vegetables or oil-fried spices that are boiled in with the grains.
Get Information on Why Porridge is Healthy
Those who are looking to include porridge as a regular part of their diet may be interested in the ways that porridge can be good for their health. The health benefits can change slightly based on the type of grain in the porridge, but oats have the following nutritional value:
- Beta-glucan fiber. Oats contain this type of fiber that studies have shown help to lower cholesterol. In addition, this fiber may also be able to lower the levels of blood glucose and manage insulin.
- Prebiotic fibers. Supporting gut health, these fibers promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria while preventing the growth of unhealthy, pathogenic varieties of gut bacteria.
- Antioxidants. A good source of polyphenols, oats are rich in this protective compound that can help to improve blood flow and lower the blood pressure.
- Weight Management. Porridge can help to promote a sense of fullness which reduces the appetite. The fiber can help to trigger the release of the hormones that tell the brain the stomach is full, which can lower the desire to eat.
Share Some Porridge with Loved Ones
Many families have such busy lives that they don’t necessarily set aside time to start the day by eating a meal together. In honor of National Porridge Day, perhaps one way to enjoy the day might be to get up just a bit earlier in order to enjoy a delicious and nutritious porridge breakfast together.
Of course, this breakfast can include other tasty items, like a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice or half of a grapefruit. One yummy way to help kids to enjoy porridge more is to top it with items such as sliced bananas, blueberries, raspberries, a drizzle of honey or some almond butter with cinnamon.
Porridge is a flexible palette that can be used to support a wide variety of tastes and flavors. Sweet or savory, enjoying porridge with loved ones for National Porridge Day is a great way to celebrate, be healthy and have fun!
National Porridge Day FAQs
Is porridge healthy?
Yes, porridge can contain nutritional ingredients like protein, calcium, zinc and lots of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol.
Are porridge and oatmeal the same?
Oatmeal is a type of porridge made out of oats, but porridge can also be made from grains like rice, corn, quinoa, rye or other types.
Does porridge contain protein?
This depends on the type of grain. Oat porridge contains around 10g of protein per 100g of porridge.
Are porridge oats gluten free?
While the oats themselves do not contain gluten, they are often processed in plants that also handle gluten, making them possibly contaminated.
How to make porridge?
Porridge usually requires simply placing the grains in boiling water or milk – or both – and leaving them to cook (based on the package directions).