By way of a welcoming committee, Edinburgh has taken a turn for ‘frostbite on your nipples’ levels of cold.
This will be the first winter we’ve ever faced in both a single glazed flat and one located on the ground floor, meaning we get absolutely no borrowed warmth. Chatting to the other occupants of the tenement (only two of which have central heating) helped put things in perspective; you fork out the cash or you freeze.
I’m not going to lie, arriving home in the early hours of Saturday morning to a bedroom you could see your breath in left me almost in tears.
Luckily Super Moo was on hand to drive us out to Argos (oh, magical cave of wonders) and buy an oil radiator. Immediate hypothermia threat bypassed I was left pondering two things.
Firstly why I don’t seem to have jumpers thick enough, or in sufficient quantities, to stave off the wind adequately so as to go and buy more (the ultimate vicious knitwear circle).
Secondly, coming from a West Coast household, what I’m going to do in regards to winter breakfasts now I’m living 100% gluten free and that traditional staple of porridge is off the menu.
Admittedly the latter was the most vexing.
For as long as I can remember, when the wind changed and the morning light became diffused with violet, my grandmother would get out the porridge pot. This thing was easily eighty or ninety years old, heavy enough to brain a large tapir and never removed from the stove top (save for a quick rinse) a good six months of the year.
“But porridge is porridge, seriously, how complex is it to cook some oats?”
For my ancestors it was – and to this day remains – a fucking art form.
Nana Grace soaks the oats, good quality and ALWAYS Scottish, overnight in water – the cooking process begins an hour (or two) before the rest of us are even contemplating getting up.
There’s no half and half here, it’s whole milk or you can chuff off, with a good pinch of salt regardless of personal preference. Brought to the boil and simmered once, left to cool and form a genuinely delicious skin, then heated again before serving with homemade preserves.
I’m actually making myself hungry just thinking about it.
We Konrad’s wean our children young so porridge was one of the first things my son ate and is now a firm favourite. Who am I to begrudge him that? Admittedly it’ll likely be of the less fussy quick oats variety but he won’t go without this year.
I, on the other hand, have been left no option but to find an alternative. Preferably one which is compatable with almond milk…this health kick is getting out of hand.
Scouring the shelves in the Free From section of mainstream supermarkets there’s several options – from gluten free oats, for pretend porridge which looks the part, to something resembling pudding rice (I believe it’s millet and buckwheat).
Over the coming weeks I’m going to have a crack at taste testing as many as my wallet allows and report back.
Just don’t tell my Nana.