Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Staring at the soup selection in the cafeteria yesterday brought up this discussion.

“The beef and barley really smells good. It should look better. ”
“Well, someone in the kitchen doesn’t realize that barley puffs up a lot.”
“Yeah, it looks more like beef and barley porridge.”

Do what?

Porridge? Did she just use the word porridge? What is porridge anyway? None of us really knew. We’ve heard the word all our lives, but why would we need to learn the definition? No one ever uses it.

So, after eschewing the beef and barley for the chicken noodle, I took it upon myself to ferret out the definition.

According to Wikipedia, always a trustworthy source, porridge is (drum roll, please)-hot cereal.


That’s kind of a let down. I was hoping for something more exotic.

But, this makes me think. What is gruel? You know-that stuff that poor people in the olden days and orphans and people in dungeons had to eat. It’s another word we think we sorta know but really don’t.

Well-gruel is similar to porridge but thinner. So it was customary to drink it rather than eat it.


Well I guess that’s not too bad. Next time the grits come out too thin, I’ll call it gruel and serve 'em up in a mug.

…or not.

It still sounds nasty. Gruel always sounds nasty. Unlike porridge, which sounds cozy and comforting.

In theory, Cream of Wheat, Malt O Meal, and oatmeal all count as porridge. So from now on I’m going to call them such. It makes me sound worldly and well read. The boys will think they’re dining on the stuff of Fairy Tales.

If it works for Goldilocks it works for me.

Now, let’s discuss Miss Muffett’s affinity for curds and whey.

Cottage cheese anyone?

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