“Eat your porridge, Marjie.
Daddy does, Mommy does
you need it too!”

“Eat your porridge, Marjie.
Teens are so active, so busy
you’ll need good food to stay well.”

“Eat your porridge.” The refrain rings
in my ears.
The microwave is fast, still time to walk
to work along the river path, so beautiful right now.

“Eat your porridge.” Now I’m the one
throwing out the old refrain.
My children, they must learn. Many of the simplest habits
pay great dividends through the rest of life.

“Eat your porridge.” It is part of the rhythm
of my life. Around our breakfast table, I join my friends.
A different group of souls, we share one trait,
we all are old. Life is lived and enjoyed from a different view.
We appreciate –

Porridge – served with coffee, laughter, and toast.
Porridge – dished up with world events and doctors’ appointments.
Porridge – with grave concern for friends ill or suffering, mixed with cheers for the birth of someone’s great-grandchild!
Porridge – accompanied with “Pass the salt, please” and “Who’s heard the weather forecast?”

Porridge – a lifetime – and still with joy I hear
a loving voice calling:
“Eat your porridge, Marjie.
Daddy does, Mommy does,
you need it too!”


Filed under Poetry, Prairie Childhood

14 Responses to Porridge

  1. Yes. Porridge. In my family, it was called “mush” (sometimes Cream of Wheat but mostly Oatmeal, made from scratch in a double boiler) and every morning we girls had it for breakfast: something warm & “solid” in your tummy to sustain you till we opened our metal lunch boxes at school.

    I still like it! But make it in the microwave and add fruit juice (no milk).

    In John’s family…his mother served it only once and little John said, “If you make me eat THAT, I will throw up! ” and she did and he threw up. He still can’t stand all white foods like mushroom soup… And when very little, his mother laughingly told me, John would smear his warm mashed potatoes all around the back of his neck. (Sounds quite nice, actually.)

    • Marjorie

      Barbara – Childhood memories – suspect this blog will stir up a few. One of my dear friends here has confessed that she has never tasted porridge! It was not a dish common in the Netherlands apparently. I’m trying to get her to at least taste it – so far, no luck.

  2. Linda LeDrew

    In my family, I remember sitting around the stove with my feet on the oven door mom would serve my brother and myself fried egg sandwich , porridge or cream of wheat for breakfast.
    I have fond memories of mom getting up at 4 am to make me a bowl of porridge – the last breakfast before leaving the family home for nurse’s training at The Moncton Hospital School of Nursing. We had a four hour trip to Moncton.
    Thanks for bringing back those memories. By the way I loved the fried egg sandwich and the porridge but couldn’t stand cream of wheat.

    • Marjorie

      Linda – I had forgotten that you came from the Maritime area, not Newfoundland. You are another reader whom the blog took back to your parental home – and breakfast. I agree with you about cream of wheat! Keep well.

  3. Ian H.

    I have teased my Dad about this. He used to make porridge at night, with the result that by breakfast time the oats had turned into a glutinous mass that came off the bottom of the pot with a sucking noise when he added water and began to heat it up. The thought still makes me gag.

  4. Kate

    Hi Gram
    Maybe that’s the secret to your excellent health – oats! Google them and you can read all about the wonderful health benefits, cardiovascular benefits, etc to eating oats.
    There’s a lot to traditional diets.

    • Marjorie

      Kate – that’s one of the things I was plugging! It is surprising what effect even the smallest good habits can have on your life – often unanticipated.

  5. I remember being told by a Mennonite girl that when she was young her impoverished mother expressed her worry to a doctor. He said that a bowl of oatmeal with milk in the morning could carry most young people through the day. I believe the Scottish survived on such fare for centuries.

    • Marjorie

      Laurna – The Mennonites are among those people I think of as “survivors”. Reading their history builds a respect for them. The same is true of the Scottish – remember the “Clearances” – a sad chapter in their history. Interesting that porridge crops up in both cultures.

      • I used to have the greatest of respect for Mennonites until John and I were driving in Pennsylvania, going very slowly on a country road to pretend we were in a horse and buggy. A few miles of this and we were settling into the lovely pace … when suddenly we were passed on the left by a horse and buggy! The driver, a dark, bearded figure, turned to look at us and gave us the Stink Eye, shaking his fist & whipping his horse who bucked a little, perhaps as surprised as we were.

        We did laugh until the car behind the Mennonite buggy also passed us and THEY threw an ice cream cone at our windshield!