Monday, 17 March 2014

Traditional Scottish Oatmeal Porridge

FIG. 5. A typical "black house" of the Isle of Lewis derives its name from the smoke of the peat burned for heat. The splendid physical development of the native Gaelic fisherfolk is characterized by excellent teeth and well formed faces and dental arches.

" The basic foods of these islanders are fish and oat products with a little barley. Oat grain is the one cereal which develops fairly readily, and it provides the porridge and oat cakes which in many homes are eaten in some form regularly with each meal. The fishing about the Outer Hebrides is specially favorable, and small sea foods, including lobsters, crabs, oysters and clams, are abundant. An important and highly relished article of diet has been baked cod's head stuffed with chopped cod's liver and oatmeal....... In Fig. 5 may be seen three of these fisher-people with teeth of unusual perfection. We saw them at the fish-cleaning benches from early morning till late at night dressed, as you see them pictured, in their oilskin suits and rubber boots. We met them again in their Sunday attire taking important parts in the leading church. It would be difficult to find examples of womanhood combining a higher degree of physical perfection and more exalted ideals than these weather-hardened toilers. Theirs is a land of frequent gales, often sleet-ridden or enshrouded in penetrating cold fogs. Life is full of meaning for characters that are developed to accept as everyday routine raging seas and piercing blizzards representing the accumulated fury of the treacherous north Atlantic. One marvels at their gentleness, refinement and sweetness of character."

-Excerpt from Nutrition And Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price


From Kasha in Eastern Europe to Champurrado in Mexico humans have since the dawn of the Agricultural revolution been serving chopped grains, cooked in water or milk as a source of nourishment and sustenance. With the variety of porridge products available to us today, numbering into double figures in most supermarkets, and the raging debate currently taking place around the dangers of grain consumption for human health, one can be left confused as to whether something as simple as a bowl of porridge for breakfast is or is not a good choice to start your day. The truth of the matter is that both parties, pro grain and anti grain, are right. Grains can and do have negative consequences on our health. Conversely though they obviously offer key nutritional support, echoed by their long standing use on every continent bar Antarctica (to my knowledge) up to this day. The challenge as I understand it then surrounding grain consumption originates in the way grains are prepared, the varieties used and the frequency with which they are consumed in our culture presently. Essentially the problem lies not with grains themselves but more with how we use and adopt them now in the 21st Century. In looking to the wisdom of our ancestors we see grain dishes prepared in certain ways to minimise health depleting qualities and to maximise health giving qualities. In following this guidance we too can reap the benefits that grains have to offer to our health. What follows then is a recipe based on maximising nutrition uptake to your body using the simple oat; a cereal grass of powerhouse proportions which has offered itself so humbly as a food source to the people of Northern Europe for these past hundred years. 


As always I enjoy adapting and evolving my recipes based on my own ongoing research and experimentation. As a result my recipe differs a little both in ingredients and in process than the original from the Nourishing Traditions cook book. I have included a copy of this original recipe by Sally Fallon in the further reading section at the bottom of the page for those interested.

For reasons why to soak oats and other grains first in acidic medium go here.
Which stevia is best? Go here.

Oats do not contain gluten but more often than not are processed alongside gluten containing plants such as wheat which is why they are sometimes labeled as not advisable for gluten sensitive people. If you are gluten intolerant then either find oats which are certified gluten free or try working with a gluten free non contaminated grain such as millet.

*1 cup organic whole oat groats
*2 Cups hot spring water
*3 Tablespoons of live, unpasteurised cultured liquid. Choose from organic whey, yoghurt or kefir. If not available then lemon juice or organic raw apple cider vinegar can be used as an alternative
*2 Tablespoons sweetener of choice (I used a combination of birch xylitol and Organic Powdered
stevia, raw organic honey is also a good choice).
*2 Tablespoons of raw organic fat of choice (I used udos oil, organic coconut oil is also a good choice)
*3 cups of spring water or favourite raw organic nut/seed milk
*1/4 teaspoon sun dried sea salt


Soak oats, acidic medium and hot spring water for 12-24 hours (overnight is ideal if you desire to have them for breakfast the next morning). When finished soaking drain and rinse oats well, washing until water is clear. Add oats and further 3 cups of liquid (water or nut/seed milk) to blender and pulse until oat groats are broken down slightly (they can be blended less or more depending on preferred porridge consistency). The oats are now ready to eat and can be eaten cold either as a muesli with the sweetener, oil and salt mixed in or they can be heated through in the pot for 5 minutes at a low heat until thickened and warm. If heating through add the sweetener and oil at the end to preserve the delicate heat sensitive nutrients.


Further Reading

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