Breakfast cereals come and go and there’s always some revelation about the amount of sugar ,and strangely salt contained in these cereals making more than an appropriate contribution to the Government daily recommendations. Porridge however is pretty well ‘naked’ , that is until we adulerate it with excessve amounts of sugar . Over the years through the ‘fears ‘ of high cholesterol and the food ‘life quest’ Ive been on, Ive tried many types of oats , from jumbo , to finely milled, and different supermarket versions from Sainsbury’s Own to Marks and Spencer’s Best . For me the porridge that wins hands above the rest is the pre prepared PRET version . No day is the same without this wonderfully creamy and perfectly viscose preparation of Oats , the Americans have GRITS which I believe is Maize based – no match !!!
The PRET version is perfect , it never feels too little and never too much , the taste is perfectly bland a bit like a wonderfully made (lighty sweetened) custard . I actually prefer mine with a light red berry compote as supplied by PRET . I wonder sometimes is it the wonderfully low fat but creamy porridge or the enthusiatic and attractive staff in beautifully whitened shirts and blue jeans , surely I am not flattened by their attention and friendly smiles ? Is this a question of serious middle age and not serious cereal??
Think what you like !! all I know is I must get to town every morning force my poor bunioned feet up the hill to where the PRET outlet is located and get porridge and a white filter . I can’t imagine my reaction if I ever arrived and found that it had become too popular or that the milk delivery had failed that morning .
Porridge in general is amazing stuff ,its well known that it provides energy at a slow rate , because it has a medium Glaecemic Index of 58 ( this is the absorbtion rate as compared to Glucose which is 100 per cent ) , and so can keep background energy going throughout the day. It is known to be high in B vitamins , vitamin E ,and Zinc (41% rda) in fact it may even contain around 10mg of protein for every 100g . This along with its ability to reduce cholesterol which may then prevent heart disease . Its a super food !!! I read the slightly contraversial home training exercise book by the famous Inmate ( and author) Charles Bronson ,of Her Majesty’s prisons and he absolutely advocated the intake of porridge. He attributed regular servings as a main contribution for his training in record endurance feats like the world ‘press up’ record. It somehow creates a strange association with its colloquial meaning of ‘doing time’.
So back to my favorite High Street pit stop – PRET , how do they make their porridge so good .? An online search suprisingly reveals the main ingredient is Jumbo Oats . These are basically bigger and a little rougher than their more refined and smaller opposites. If you’ve ever bought these and made porridge, chances are you never finished the packet!! , so how can they make what seem to be the ‘worse oats’ into the creamy wonderful glutinous mix?? Well the answer they give ,is that the milk should never be boiled and the oats should be cooked slowly . I’m dying to try this and would invite any readers to see if this works and you are indeed able to replicate this ‘commuters delight’ . I have kindly asked my wife to include the ‘jumbo oats ‘ in the next shopping trip. One problem I can forsee is that if I am simmering milk I will have to ditch the convienience of a three minute ‘whizzed up’ porridge in the microwave , there’s always a downside!!. Should I even bother waking up earlier , and just bite the bullet and pay my two pounds or so for the prepared stuff? I may be able to get the porridge right but will my wife meet me every morning in a lovely white shirt and blue jeans with a smile and enthusiasm ? In her own words ‘ I’m not a morning person’!! . Maybe I’m middle aged after all , more PRET porridge please!!