Porridge, my Ugly Duckling

On February 1, 2005, I arrived in Ireland with a work permit in hand and a single connection who was gracious enough to meet me in Galway city and show me around. Soon I was situated in a house ten minute’s walk from the City Centre, my connection went home to Limerick, and I set about trying to find a job. But first, I must have breakfast!

I had bought a package of Flahavan’s oats, eager to ‘do as the Romans do’ – plus, I knew porridge is nourishing and hot, and my housemates seemed to think nothing of going a few days without heating oil. Alas, when I heated up the flaked oats and water as the package directed, I created a bland sort of paste. Unappealing as it was, I choked down about two thirds of the bowl.

Next day, I approached breakfast much less eagerly. But my housemate, a student at NUI Galway, opened up her cupboard and recommended I stir in some cinnamon, honey, and sunflower seeds; that made all the difference.

These days, I eat porridge in all weather and for any meal, not just for the sustained energy it gives me, but also because it’s so adaptable. Some days, my porridge is practically a binding agent for fruits and nuts, and some days, it’s a breakfast sundae with yogurt and honey – which goes to show that even a homey sort of breakfast can be a creative endeavor.

(Click here for recipes and ideas.)

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