Sat | Sep 26, 2020

World porridge day: creating memories

Published:Thursday | October 10, 2019 | 12:18 AMDanik Frazer/Gleaner Writer

Thanks to the initiative of one charity, Mary’s Meals in Scotland, the United Kingdom, children across the world today are fed with the aid of contributors like yourselves and the work of affiliate charities in the locales they aim to aid. This and every year since 2009, Mary’s Meals has impacted the lives of children and communities in a way we here in Jamaica can truly appreciate with their World Porridge Day initiative. Of course, there are outliers who abhor porridge, whether it be the texture or the trauma of having to eat it every single morning thanks to their mom or good ol’ granny.

There are those who love porridge like, well, cooked food, and nothing makes them happier or brings back good memories like waking up to a hot bowl of cornmeal porridge with a thick slice of ‘hardo bread’ or crunchy water crackers on the side waiting to soak up the sweetened goodness. For some, it’s the early-morning trips to ‘country’ where you stop to get a cup of hominy or peanut porridge to bouncily devour on your way.

No matter what you think about porridge, it’s a staple of our culture in more ways than one. Oftentimes, for many Jamaicans, it’s a quick and cheap way to feed their children something they know will be filling and satisfactory in preparation for a long day at school. Local brands like Foska and Grace Foods even recognised a market for those on the go who don’t have the time to “throw down” in the kitchen expanding into “instant porridge. We all have a porridge story, and for this upcoming World Porridge Day, Food asked moms what stories they’re helping their little ones create.

Shernett Reid (St Elizabeth):

I loved Porridge growing up, so when my son turned out loving porridge like me, I was happy. I give him porridge often, not every day, but when he wants it, I make him oats and hominy. Porridge is a great meal. It’s healthy, filling, and easy to make when you’re making it for someone you love.

Claudette Daley (St James):

I make my grandchildren porridge every Sunday like a routine. I wake up early to make cornmeal, plantain or banana porridge, they don’t really like oats. I grate the plantain or banana and cook it for them then make them breakfast separate. Porridge is like my special thing for them.

Donna Moodie (Portland):

I make a mean oatmeal. My daughter always wants it whenever she’s sick. She’s big now, but I still make it for her. To spice it up, I put cinnamon leaves while I’m cooking it.

Marsha Leslie (Westmoreland):

My oldest son is pretty sickly with asthma, so I love to make him cornmeal porridge, that’s his favourite. This may be a little strange, but he only likes it on Friday nights, so I make it something between the two of us. Everyone else gets some, too, but I make it specifically for him. He’s in his twenties now, but I still want him to know I love him in a small way, and I know he loves Friday night porridge, too.

Judy-Ann Dixon Mullings (St Ann):

I made my son cornmeal porridge as a baby. He was fed on cornmeal, and that’s why he was so chunky! He doesn’t like cornmeal anymore, he prefers plantain now, but it has to be smooth. No lumps allowed. To get it right, I blend it smooth with coconut milk and add it to cold water and never stop stirring. If you stop stirring, it’ll turn out lumpy, and no one likes lumpy porridge. You’ll have to prepare your additional ingredients beforehand to add while you’re stirring. It’s really quite easy and tastes yummy!