On a cold and frosty morning...

I love my mother’s porridge, despite the fact you can fill the cracks in your walls with it. She uses a generous pinch of salt for flavour and cooks it with water alone (milk can be added by Philistines later, she says). She often burns it. In fact, I remember — as the youngest of five — learning to eat quicker than my siblings to avoid being the last at the table and therefore the chosen one to wash up. Once I dawdled and was given the task of scrubbing the pan. It took me an entire weekend to get the bugger clean.

But, in the end, no matter its culinary deficiencies, it was my mother’s porridge and it kept me full and warm on those relentless London winter days and, to this day, I love it.

As the irony of global warming hits home, and most of the northern hemisphere shivers under layers of ice and snow, I think it’s time the uninitiated turned to the benefits of a porridge breakfast. It’s healthy, nutritious and can centrally heat a young child for a day at least.

There is, of course, much debate surrounding the perfect bowl of the good stuff. Porridge oats come in many shapes and sizes. Cooking time can vary from a few minutes (don’t ever microwave!) to several hours.

I recommend a little over double the fluid to the oats (add more fluid as it cooks if necessary), stirring regularly, and then allowed to rest — covered in the pan — for a few minutes before consuming with a little milk or cream, a dusting of sugar and a shot of whiskey on the side.

Children under the age of 8 can forgo the whiskey.

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