Porridge was a staple of winter breakfasts when I was a child; I’m guessing it was made will whole milk, and we had it with sugar – white or brown and occasionally treacle; treacle to us was Golden Syrup, what others call treacle was black treacle in our family. Sometimes the brown sugar would be a bit lumpy, and for me that was a treat – I’d stir it really carefully trying not to break the lump and then I would have an unexpected spoonful with a lovely dark glisten of melted sugar on my spoon, sitting in the creamy porridge.
Mum used oats in cooking – I don’t remember her making flapjacks, but she made what we called cookies, but most people call melting moments. They are eh easiest and most delicious thing to make, and economical too; if you look at recipes today they use butter or margarine – my mum used lard, and it did give a very crisp and light cookie! People probably wouldn’t like that now but her recipe was flour, butter/marg/lard, sugar, eggs and oats to toll the cookies in and glacé cherries to decorate.
When I had a family we had porridge too, but not as regularly, I guess there were more fancy breakfast cereals on offer when my children were small (I did keep an eye on the amount of sugar even then!) I made flapjacks and oaty biscuits, but for some reason rarely cookies. Flapjacks are actually my favourite bar, square or slice and I don’t care if they are crisp or soft or hard or crunchy or even soggy, I just love the combination of oats butter and treacle! So when a friend posted a picture from an old cookery leaflet using oats, I was immediately interest – old recipe, oats – two favourites! Even more interested when I saw the recipe was for melting moments! The company who produced the leaflet was Scott’s; I had never heard of them, I always think of Quaker Oats or Flahavan’s so Scott’s was new to me and I was intrigued to see how they spelt porridge as porage. In all the recipe books I’ve ever read, I have never come across porage, which sounds very fancy!
Scott’s is an old firm originating as A&R Scott, producing Scott’s Midlothian Oat Flour in Glasgow in 1880. They moved to Edinburgh and in 1914 changed the name of their product to ‘porage’. The company moved to Cupar in Fife to the wonderfully named Uthrogle in 1947. They were eventually taken over by Quaker Oats in 1982. I was interested to find out that the company has a Scott’s Porage Oats Food & Drink Fair during St Andrews Festival in November each year and there is has a Golden Spurtle Award in a porage making competition! A spirtle is a most useful wooden implement for stirring porage/porridge!