Saturday 11 October 2014

The Golden Spurtle

Th' warld champion ay porridge is a doctur frae th' granite city. Yesterday Dr Izhar Khan [R with Carrbridge, the oldest stone bridge in Scotland, behind] a consultant kidneyologist from Aberdeen won the 21st Golden Spurtle for making, in the opinion of a judging panel, the best porridge in all Scotland.  Or at least the best they tasted that day. That's a stoatin day fur integratin' fowk frae abroad; if ye'll excuse ma Doric. Dr Khan was on the wireless on Friday talking modestly about his achievement "Making porridge every day is a bit like bird-watching or train-spotting ... but better". We can surely all agree that porridge is better than seeing Turdus merula on the Flying Scotsman. The Golden Spurtle is awarded to the best three-ingredient (oats, water, salt) porridge but there are also prizes for oat-based "specialty" dishes.  The joint first prize went to a recipe for wild mushroom and parmesan porrisotto.  That could work: risotto is basically for people without teeth and substituting oatmeal for a glutinous variety of rice is creative, much cheaper and involves few transportation miles - must try it.

Turns out that World Porridge Day 10/10 is supporting a charity called Mary's Meals, which dishes out nearly a million bowls of porridge at breakfast clubs in Malawi and elsewhere.  I was remarking how cheap it was to feed (and so better educate) an Irish child - 70c a day. It's much cheaper to feed a child in Malawi where you can do the same thing for about 2c a day. At least part of this must be from economies of scale and not using first world prepared food-products. Stirring a few sacks of mealie-meal into an enormous vat with a stick and serving it to children in Ireland would have you grassed up to the FSAI long before the last child had been fed. We live in a grossly unequal world. The "Mary" of the Meals is the BVM, mother of god, so you might make you agnostics leery of supporting their ventures in the third world. And the fact that all the poor African children in their pictures look so clean and healthy might fire up your crap-detector. Then again you might listen first to one of the founders Magnus and Fergus MacFarlane-Barrow, who is at pains to point out that they will take money from people of any faith or none and apply at least 92% of it to the end users, which is better than average.

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