Take a closer look at porridge, a breakfast dish with a rich history and countless different varieties, both sweet and savory.
If you’re a fan of a hearty, filling breakfast, you’re probably familiar with porridge – at least what it looks like and how it tastes.
But what is porridge, really, and what’s the story behind this age-old breakfast staple?
We love increasing our knowledge on the most important meal of the day! Let’s find out more!
Porridge: The Basics
Porridge refers to any ground-up grains that you eat hot. It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast and paired with toppings that make it either sweet or savory. Common sweet toppings for porridge include honey, fruit, maple syrup, and straight sugar. As for savory porridge, you might find this dish made with cooked vegetables, broth, meat, salt, and pepper.
Before we take a look at the different types of porridge and the ways to make it, let’s first look back through history at the origins of this simple breakfast.
The History of Porridge
As is the case with so many parts of life, the best place to start with porridge is the very beginning. The history of porridge traces all the way back to the paleolithic era during the earliest stages of human cooking. Over time, eating bowls of hot grains became a common breakfast around the world.
One of the most commonly eaten types of porridge is oatmeal, which has its roots in Scotland centuries ago. The Scots were some of the first people to eat cooked oats in a way that is similar to modern bowls of oatmeal. The English, meanwhile, primarily fed oats to horses.
The Many Types of Porridge
People enjoy porridge for breakfast around the world, and that means there are countless types of porridge made with a plethora of different grains. From atole to zganci, let’s look at the many types of porridge eaten worldwide.
Atole is a Mexican porridge made with corn flour mixed with either water or milk. This type of porridge is technically a drink, and it includes sweet ingredients like chocolate and vanilla, along with spices like cinnamon and panela, a type of raw sugar. Many Mexicans love drinking atole during the Day of the Dead.
Champurrado is a thicker type of atole that usually includes anise seed, nuts, orange zest, and eggs. It’s a classic Mexican breakfast that pairs perfectly with steaming hot churros.
Grits are a dish made with ground hominy. Served with either sweet or savory toppings, grits come from the Southern United States – they’re actually the state of Georgia’s official food. You’ll often find them served with cheese, butter, salt, and pepper as toppings.
Millet porridge is popular in several parts of the world, including northern China and southern Japan. In parts of the Middle East, a traditional millet porridge gets its sweetness from honey and extra flavor from cumin.
Oatmeal, also known as oat porridge, is the most popular type of porridge in the United States, the UK, Germany, and Scandinavia. While some people enjoy savory oatmeal, it’s typically served sweet.
Try some of our oatmeal favorites:
This is not to be confused with Mexican champurrado! In the Philippines, many cooks enjoy making champorado, a rice porridge sweetened with chocolate. The main ingredients in champorado are cocoa powder, sticky rice, milk, and sugar.
Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat gained popularity around the turn of the 20th century in the United States. First created in North Dakota, Cream of Wheat still has some loyal fans today. Some people enjoy eating it with added salt and hot sauce, while others mix in a bit of brown sugar and butter.
One of the most popular types of porridge in Norway is potato porridge, which is just a little bit thinner in consistency and texture than mashed potatoes.
Sweet Potato Porridge
In Nigeria, some families eat sweet potato porridge for breakfast. This dish is sometimes called pottage. While it’s often eaten at breakfast, pottage is also a typical lunch or dinner in Nigeria.
These are just a few of the most popular types of porridge eaten around the world. The full-length list of porridges is too long to include in this post, but there are countless other recipes made with different grains like barley!
If you’re ever feeling curious and want something new for breakfast, try making one of the types of porridge that isn’t common where you live. If you’re from the United States, for example, and want to swap your oatmeal for something different, try making potato porridge or champorado instead.