[Sca-cooks] Buttered wortes/oatmeal

Claire Clarke angharad at adam.com.au
Tue Feb 9 02:45:08 PST 2010

Message: 7
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 2010 10:57:03 -0600
From: "wyldrose" <wyldrose at tds.net>
To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Buttered wortes
Message-ID: <2FB850297C5945EA8981B3A91833A582 at OwnerPC>
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I suspect the oatmeal thing is cultural.  Many older Native Americans put 
oatmeal in all their soups as a thickening agent and just love it.  (you 
don't add a lot just a little and you don't really taste  it.)   When I 
lived on the Rez I got over my  bias and had lots of pot luck dishes that 
had oatmeal hidden in them.   The Native Americans began their love of 
oatmeal  in the 1600's when fur traders brought oatmeal along as a staple 
food when trading.  The oatmeal is fairly quick to cook and can be added 
into the  other foods (usually salt pork)  for a quick high calorie meal. 
For the fur traders the food  was easy to transport on the long routes and 
was taken every where the traders went.
   Another thing to think about is that oats are a quick and easy crop and 
can be harvested in multiple ways to get different  taste and textures. 
They usually grow faster than the weeds! A good farmer could easily get  at 
least 2 crops of oats a year,a great farmer  could get 3 or  4 in the right 
climate, and the grain when for human food and the straw as bedding or food 
for the animals.  Most wheat is more temperamental than oats for growing and

takes longer for maturity.  In the  British Islands I suspect the cooler 
wetter weather was more suited to oats than to  most of  the wheat of the 

I wish I could get Outlook to do the insetty arrow thing when quoting other

I have no particular objection to oatmeal - I actually really like porridge
- but I do find the idea of using it to thicken things a bit unusual. It has
a lot more texture than flour, for instance, and I can't see it going as
soft or smooth as breadcrumbs do when used for thickening. But then I
haven't used it for cooking much - just in parkin, and a few strange
experiments putting it in pancakes. 
As a matter of curiosity, when Americans say 'oatmeal' do they mean
porridge? This is the impression I have. For me, raised in England, and
living most of my adult life in Australia, oatmeal is the finely ground
stuff, and porridge is a breakfast cereal made with rolled oats. 


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