Thursday, June 28, 2018

Oats in Scotland

Long before the Scots, Neolithic farmers cultivated oats and prepared porridge. Porridges were an easy way to cook the grains. The grain only had to be cracked, not completely ground into flour. Evidence of these porridges suggests it was a very dense food.

Oatmeal is widely identified with Scottish food and indeed is its culinary leit‐motiv for the many tourists who visit a proud land. Scotland is thought to be where the trend of eating oat porridge for breakfast began.

Oatcakes are by many considered the national bread of Scotland. They are made almost entirely of oats. They were even baked by the Romans in Scotland in the 1st century. In the 14th century Scottish soldiers carried a metal plate and a sack of oatmeal. They would heat the plate over the fire, moisten a bit of oatmeal and make a cake.

Until late in the 19th century, oats was a basic food mainly in Scotland and Wales, in other parts of the world, the majority of crops produced were fed to animals. In Samuel Johnson's dictionary, oats were defined as “eaten by people in Scotland, but fit only for horses in England”.

Scottish settlers were credited with bringing oatmeal to North America. During the early nineteenth century, most oatmeal was imported from Scotland and sold primarily in pharmacies. U.S. cookbooks from that era either omitted oatmeal recipes or suggested it as a food for the infirm.
Oats in Scotland