"A grain, which in England is generally given to horses,Â
but in Scotland supports the people."
Dr Samuel Johnson's famous definition of oats
The Scots' consumption of oats is legendary. Oatmeal was often called meat and porridge is meal thickened in a pot of boiling water. Porridge even has different names potage, parritch, parridge, porritch, or in Gaelic, brochan. Gruel, brose and sowans were also made by mixing oatmeal and water, as were some regional variations with strange sounding names like blerie, bluthrie, gogar, lewlands, milgruel, willins and others.
Porridge is found in the cuisine of almost every country but the Scots have pulled off a remarkable trick by getting the rest of world to recognise oatmeal porridge as the one true porridge, and to regard it as uniquely Scottish.
Guthrie Hutton has looked into his bowl of porridge and come up with a fascinating history of this humble and nutritious dish, with relevance for todayÂ¹s health conscious palate.
Guthrie Hutton worked as a set designer for BBC Scotland. In recent years he has written numerous successful books and is a freelance author and writer. His subject matter ranges from local histories to the history of mining. He is the author of a book on the Forth and Clyde canal.