porridge

Mrs. Bug’s Overnight Parritch from The Fiery Cross

Mrs. Bug’s Overnight Parritch from The Fiery Cross

“Mmmphm!”  said Mrs. Bug’s voice, grimly satisfied at having routed the rioters.  The door closed, and the clang of wood and clang of metal from below announced the commencement of the day’s activities.

When I went down a few moments later, I found that good lady engaged simultaneously in toasting bread, boiling coffee, making parritch, and complaining as she tidied up the men’s leavings.  Not about the untidiness — what else could be expected of men? — but rather that Jamie had not waked her to provide a proper breakfast for them.

“And how’s Himself to manage, then?” she demanded, brandishing the toasting-fork at me in reproach.  “A fine, big man like that , and him out and doing wi’ no more to line his wame that a wee sup of milk and a stale bannock?”

Casting a bleary eye over the assorted crumbs and dirty crockery, it appeared to me that Himself and his companions had probably accounted for at least two dozen corn muffins and an entire loaf of salt-rising bread, accompanied by a pound or so of fresh butter, a jar of honey, a bowl of raisins, and all of the first milking.

“I don’t think he’ll starve,” I murmured, dabbing up a crumb with a moistened forefinger.  “Is the coffee ready?”

Diana Gabaldon, The Fiery Cross (Chapter 22)

Read More

Mrs Fitz’s Porridge from Outlander

Mrs Fitz’s Porridge from Outlander

“Weel now, that’s verra gude.  Now, ye’ve just time for a wee bite, then I must take you to himself.”

“Himself?”  I said.  I didn’t care for the sound of this.  Whoever Himself was, he was likely to ask difficult questions.

“Why, the MacKenzie to be sure.  Whoever else?”

Who else indeed?  Castle Leoch, I dimly recalled, was in the middle of the clan MacKenzie lands.  Plainly the clan chieftain was still the MacKenzie.  I began to understand why our little band of horsemen had ridden through the night to reach the castle; this would be a place of impregnable safety to men pursued by the Crown’s men.  No English officer with a grain of sense would lead his men so deeply into the clan lands.  To do so was to risk death by ambush at the first clump of trees.  And only a good-sized army would come as far as the castle gates.  I was trying to remember whether in fact the English army ever had come so far, when I suddenly realized that the eventual fate of the castle was much less relevant than my immediate future.

I had no appetite for the bannocks and parritch that Mrs. FitzGibbons had brought for my breakfast, but crumbled a bit and pretended to eat, in order to gain some time for thought.  By the time Mrs. Fitz came back to conduct me to the MacKenzie, I had cobbled together a rough plan.

Diana Gabaldon, Outlander, (Seal Books, 1991)

Read More