1936: Oatmeal Porridge

Today, March 7, is National Cereal Day! I love cereal of all sorts, and love to mix cold cereals together for a unique combination. In winter time, though, we have a steady diet of blueberry oatmeal cooked overnight in the crockpot (trying it yourself? use steelcut oats and frozen blueberries). Top some maple syrup and maple sugar on top with some milk in the morning, and YUM.

So in honor of National Cereal Day, I bring you these oatmeal porridge methods (requiring slightly more effort than our trusty crockpot) from the classic Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management. My edition is from 1936, and I bought it years ago when visiting London. At 1680 pages plus advertisements, it was a bit challenging to carry home, but worth it. Happy cereal eating!

Ingredients. Oatmeal, salt, water.
Method. There are several ways of making porridge. The one generally adopted ~ although by no means the best ~ is to sprinkle the oatmeal into boiling, slightly salted water with the left hand, meanwhile stirring briskly with a wooden spoon or spatula. When the porridge is thick enough, the stewpan is drawn to the side of the fire, and the contents slowly cooked from 20-30 minutes, being occasionally stirred to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. A better method is to soak 4 ozs. of oatmeal in 1 1/2 pints of cold water overnight, and in the morning strain the water into a stewpan, and when boiling add the oatmeal, and salt to taste. Twenty minutes’ gentle simmering will sufficiently cook it, and it must be well stirred during the process. Probably the best plan of all is to use a water-jacketed saucepan for making porridge, for it is always desireable to have oatmeal thoroughly cooked, and as the water in the outer pan obviates the necessity of frequent stirring, the porridge may, with little trouble, be cooked for 2 or 3 hours on the previous day, and reheated when required; a pinch of salt should always be added to the porridge. Fully and partially cooked oatmeals can be prepared in a few minutes. Full instructions are given on the packages.