Saturday 24 February 2018


Here at Tense Towers, the weekday breakfast cereal of choice is porridge. The raw ingredients are oat flakes and water in roughly a 1:2 ratio. There's really not much that can go wrong with the recipe, as long as one of us is about to give the mixture an occasional stir as we blunder about the kitchen in a semi-awake state.

With a fresh packet of our chosen cereal just opened, Tuesday produced a sense of puzzlement to our breakfast ramblings. There was a distinct aroma in the kitchen as the oat flakes cooked, not unpleasant, just not expected.

On sampling the end result, we discovered that the porridge had a distinctly nutty flavour, again not unpleasant, just not expected. Our Lass wasn't keen to repeat the experience, however.

A gentle enquiry to the oat flake manufacturer asking if they had changed their 'recipe', and quoting the batch number reference, produced a response that could be either fact or flannel, who knows? Apparently...

'On checking our records we did have an issue with the kiln during the manufacture of this batch  where it recycled more than once, which would have caused a toasted effect to the oat flakes, making them taste more nutty as you have described.  Although the taste, texture and appearance will be affected the product is still safe to eat.  As a corrective action if this issue re-occurs we will look more closely at the finished product by taking more samples throughout the run to assess if the taste, texture and appearance are acceptable to be packed into our finished product.'

We gratefully accepted their offer of a replacement.

Wednesday morning saw us opening another packet, from a different batch, and normal service was resumed. The other bag is now in the dry baking ingredients cupboard awaiting the opportunity to be recycled into a crumble topping or some flapjacks where, at least, the nutty flavour will be more acceptable to discerning palates.

Come Friday morning and I was doing porridge alone, in a cramped cell. Well, I say 'cell', it was a cabin on the overnight ferry to Shetland. As befits my grumpy nature, I can't be doing with socialising at that time of day, never mind the queueing and buffeting at the buffet of communal eating. Instead, I had brought along a couple of small pots of 'just add boiling water' porridge, to be consumed in the tranquility of my own company. That's external 'tranquility', rather than in the sense of filtering out all the inconsequential fluff that pings about inside my head.

For the avoidance of doubt, no, we don't use milk, don't stir it with a spurtle or put salt on the finished article. Our Lass will use a peedie bit of sparingly-sprinkled sugar, but I usually just eat it as is, although lately I've been trying to use up a jar of bramble jelly that's too runny for jam sarnies.


Spadger said...

Brilliant Mr N S Fletcher!

I take it the packaging doesn't sport a chap in a kilt?

Imperfect and Tense said...

Correct, JD, not the be-kilted one.