by Gino De Blasio | 5 Minute Read
“Porridge and the urban lifestyle don’t mix well.” Fergus Henderson, chef and author may not be a fan of the instant variety, but the second man on the moon certainly was. Yes, that’s right, Buzz Aldrin. In what is a coup for a porridge company, Buzz Aldrin, the cool astronaut with an even cooler name is a porridge fan; great for another advertising campaign.
Gone are the heady days that oats meant you were a chubby little Scot thrown onto the front of porridge boxes in cartoon form, kilt flapping in the wind and arms like cannons to promote a breakfast treat. No, porridge oats, like Buzz, are fashionable, the lifestyle choice for many and the varieties so awe consuming that each label sounds like some sort of street fighting martial art.
Whilst most 86 year olds have tales of better times, Buzz Aldrin’s quest for humanity and the need to explore beyond this earth is only usurped by the advertisers. Managing to shoe in the fact that he powered himself with oats that morning, and that he still does. Buzz Aldrin, a porridge eating pioneer.
Porridge, like the good old English cup of tea (1) is a staple of the Great British diet. Somehow between the warming properties, the possibility of adding a dram of whisky and the speed to make it (which takes longer than just pouring milk on cereal though) make it one of an array of perfect starts to the morning. Packed with nutrients, carbs and protein, Rocky (2) should have swallowed a hot cup of this instead of six raw eggs to really prove his manliness!
Loved so much, it even prompted a debate on national radio in the UK; instant or, on the hob. What toppings should we have? Is it better to soak the oats overnight and so on. Needless the say, one of the Guild of Food Writers (3) promptly responded, most undoubtedly sparking another debate.
But porridge is now posh. Too posh you could argue. If chia seeds and rosewater dips sounds too far, then you haven’t been on instagram and searched for #porridge, #porridgepassion or more worryingly, #porridgeporn. Never have two nouns been so badly placed together, especially with the inclusion of fruits that have had their own place in the latters realm so vividly.
As with cereal that had its pop up stores (some still exist) porridge has seen a rapid growth thanks to social media and the fact that everyone feels like dicking around with flavours they daren’t stick on a Weetabix (4). Yes, there are porridge cafe’s, porridge stands and now, in London, 36 floors high in the sky, a porridge restaurant.
Apparently the secret to a great bowl is, “the quality of the core ingredients – the oats, the salt and the water or dairy (or non-dairy) elements.” 2013 Porridge champion, Nick Barnard.
Ultimately, it has become a fashionista’s canvas where between the hundred different varieties of lactose free, sugar ridden, fat missing, almond baked, goat churned, double scented milks, abundance of spices that no one can pronounce and seeds that only 30 years ago would have been considered pigeon food, are we looking at porridge, as cool.
That’s great and all, but I’ve been told to eat it to reduce my cholesterol. Where the hell does mango, coconut shavings and gogi berries come into the mix? At 34 I’d be happy for the microwave to work and the best possible treat would be runny honey.
So maybe I, like millions of others just rush to make a simple bowl whilst others craft delectable treats to astound and #porridgeporn us to shame, but there would be one man who no matter whatever it is you do would always be cooler at eating porridge than you, that’s right, Buzz Aldrin. He’s been to the moon… all thanks to some porridge oats.
1) The English cup of tea is possibly the only thing responsible for wars, stopping them and keeping the nation ticking. The varieties in the UK are; with milk, with sugar, without sugar. There is no room for green, red and other varieties. Especially in the North.
2) Rocky is a 1976 film by actor and director, Sylvester Stallone. It’s a tale of a simple man with a simple dream, taking a Muhammed Ali character to the final round. Oh, it’s also a love story, he has a dog called butkus, and he runs up some stairs. It’s a must watch.
3) The Guild of Food Writers is where I personally aspire to end up. I fear the mockery and lack of whimsical writing has stopped me harder than Ed Balls on winning the Strictly Come Dancing crown.
4) Weetabix is a cereal block that requires a stern stomach and an even sterner imagination as something that you’d willingly eat. In the 90’s it was claimed that if you started your day with a Weetabix you could take on the world. You needed to take on the Weetabix first…