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Making Sure Your Porridge is Just Right

 I have tried to find the recipe for porridge – the sort of one that's in the three bears. Have you got the recipe for it?

 How will you know if we are telling the truth? We could give you any old porridge recipe and say it was the original.

The story of the three bears has been around in some form for a very long time. In 1837 Robert Southey published a story of three bears, but the bears were all male (although in the three expected sizes) and the human being was not Goldilocks, but an old lady. Three-bears stories were clearly around before that earliest publication, but if the first written stories are so far from what we expect today, how in the world do you expect us to come up with the original recipe?

Indeed, we have found porridge recipes with rye, oats, millet, brown rice, cracked wheat berries, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, any variety of nuts, raisins, apples, and many other ingredients. We have seen it made with water, milk, or coconut milk. Our dictionary defines porridge as any food of cereal or meal boiled in water or milk until thick, or an obsolete synonym for pottage (a soup or stew of vegetables or meat and vegetables), and says it comes from the Latin word for leek broth or simply leek.

A scandal! – to think that the three bears may have been preparing to eat leeks for breakfast! Or that Goldilocks was lured to climb through their window because of the wafting aroma of leek soup! An outrage!

For the record, we are of the opinion:

  • that the porridge of the three bears was oatmeal,
  • that the daddy bear was himself a miller and stone-ground their oats,
  • that the mama bear was a banker, but this being her day off, she brought 4 cups of water to a boil and sprinkled 1-1/2 cups of rolled oats into the oatmeal, stirring all the time,
  • that she brought it back to a boil, and covered and simmered it for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally,
  • that she added a teaspoon of salt, which she stirred in thoroughly,
  • that she served the porridge in three different-sized bowls,
  • that there was already a pitcher of light cream and a bowl of brown sugar on the table to dress the porridge,
  • and that because bears would want nuts and berries in their porridge, she suggested they go foraging in the woods nearby while the porridge cooled down slightly.

That's when things really got out of hand.

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