staying near (and how to ? make good porridge)
So I am making our Christmas pudding today, on the Winter solstice, as this is when I decide to stop the usual run of things, set homework aside, and dedicate all energy to Christmas preparations. The mince meat will be the next job, the tree has been up majestically for a couple of weeks and apart from a good few handmade finishings the presents are organized already. I’ll get everyone here to stir the pudding mix for luck and it will be cooked tomorrow (there may be enough mix for two, so it may be that we’ll be set for next year too). This year we will all cook Christmas dinner together as cooking is part of the feast and I’m bringing up my children for a hands-on and sharing future.
As breakfasts consisting of leftovers won’t last forever, I thought I would share here the way we make our porridge these days. I came across Sally Fallon’s excellent Nourishing Traditions a couple of years ago but it took me a while to implement in a satisfactory (and delicious) way the guidelines found for eating whole grains. Our porridge now takes three days to make, but there is hardly any work involved. Her reasoning is that our short digestive tract “one stomach and a much shorter intestine compared to herbivorous animals” is well equipped to “pass animal products before they putrefy in the gut” but makes it “less well adapted to a diet high in grains—unless, of course he[she] let’s the friendly bacteria of the microscopic world do some of his[her] digesting for him[her] in a container, just as these same lactobacili do their work in the first and second stomachs of the herbivores”.
I’m sure that does not sound too appetizing, however, I have seen herbivores eating habits up close up, of calling up the cud and chewing it at length, I have seen their long digestive tract which I will have at times used to make sausages and their many stomachs textured in amazing ways which are wonderful if you like tripe, and I know that none of that resembles my inner organs or eating behaviour. Sally Fallon’s recipe for porridge calls for rolled oats soaked overnight in water mixed with added yoghurt, kefir or whey, but after cooking the next morning our kefir-soaked rolled jumbo oats the result was far too mushy for our liking, and the fermented taste was not appreciated by all here. So we now start with whole grains and end up, three days later, with the most delicious morning treat.
(very) SLOW PORRIDGE
Day One a.m. (that’ll be saturday if you want porridge on monday, the idea is that will be done around breakfast time when you mind is set on the subject)
soak 50-60g (2 oz) organic whole oats in warm water with 2 tbsps of organic live yoghurt/whey/kefir (do not use a plastic container).
Day one p.m. (I do this step before going to bed when the thought about breakfast and school lunched is in my mind already) Drain grain and add boiling water to about double the height of grains.
Day two a.m. Pour contents into pot, bring to the boil, take it off the heat, cover and set aside. If you want porridge in three days you can start step one for that batch. At each subsequent cooking cooking stage. you may have to add a little water.
Day two p.m. Repeat last step.
Day three a.m. Breakfast time! Bring porridge to the boil, cook until it has reached desired creaminess, we find here that by the time the tea is made, the table is cleared and laid, the porridge is cooked. Check during cooking that the porridge does not stick to the bottom of the pot stirring with a wooden spoon.
To this we here add a glug of organic fresh cream, agave, date (taste like melted chocolate) or maple syrup.
It is actually relatively easy to get into the rhythm, even in the middle of the week when there are a few porridges on the go (but we always have things on the go here, sitting around doing their job sourdough, kefir, saurkraut. etc.). We rarely have porridge at the weekend as we have more time to sit and eat our bread and eggs and cheese then, so I start every saturday morning for the following week. (Apropos mush, Sally Fallon has a recipe for “fried mush” consisting of left-over porridge mixed with beaten egg, fried in butter tablespoonfuls and served with syrup, nice, that’s a porridge frittatta to me, cold porridge is loved here sprinkled with a little raw cane sugar)
Now that we’re all set for a coming year of healthy and nourishing breakfasts, let’s enjoy the Christmas foods in all impunity, very best wishes.