Let them eat porridge

Growing up in NZ, porridge seemed a very Scottish breakfast to me, thanks especially to a young boy on TV telling us we were making it all wrong.

So I was surprised to hear how popular porridge is in Finland and that it is considered a traditional dish.

Made with oats or barley it’s not unusual for people to visit cafes daily to get their porridge fix, often served with a spoonful of jam.

Apparently you can also buy it at some gas stations and of course, from the porridge truck.


Elovena seems to be an iconic brand, with a range of flavours available at stores.


At Christmas it’s traditional to eat rice porridge, cooked with milk for a long time over a low heat. Similar to the coin in the British Christmas pudding, the person who finds the single almond in their porridge is considered the lucky winner.


Today we visited Seurasaari to walk the Christmas path and knew from last year to take along a bowl to be served some Christmas porridge. My friend’s mother told me that as rice is imported it was considered very exotic years ago and so this dish was traditionally eaten only by the rich.


Although popular in NZ, I’m not sure we quite match the Finns in our love of porridge – although this bizarre news story suggests some of us may know of the place it holds in their hearts.

New Zealander feeds Finnish hostages porridge


12 thoughts on “Let them eat porridge

  1. Oh yes, we do love our porridge. I always eat mine with some berries! However, I do understand how someone might not like the stuff and never assume that my foreign guests will share my love for it 😉


      • I am Mel’s Dad and loved the Finnish porridge ! Quite unexpectedly and yet delightedly !
        My wife too enjoyed it every day we stayed in Helsinki in June this year.
        We have it for our breakfast here at home in Auckland NZ and enjoy the options
        of Rolled Oats or Wholegrain Oats OR a mixture of the two yet our fond memory
        of Finnish porridge lives on …..


  2. I am a 4th-generation American/Canadian, and 3/4 of my descendants were Swedish, Danish or Norwegian. (Regrettably, none were Finnish as far as I know.) Maybe that is why I grew up eating porridge, which my family called “oatmeal.” Now my husband makes some for me every morning, mixing it with whatever local fruit is in season. To limit my sugar intake, I sprinkle it just with cinnamon. It’s a great way to start each day! And on Christmas, our brunch consists of a Christmas porridge made from rice slow-cooked with milk and various spices and topped with a raspberry “sauce.” And yes, a blanched almond always magically appears in one person’s Christmas porridge. Our relatives never served that brunch to us; we found the recipe in a Christmas cookbook (which labelled it Norwegian). We love resurrecting and teaching our children what may well have been a tradition discarded by our immigrant-descendants in their determination to “become American.” Hyvää Joulua!!


    • Lovely to read Leslie, thank you. How nice that you’ve held onto those traditions and are passing them on. Your favourite ways of having porridge sound delicious. I also think it’s nice your husband makes it for you every day!


  3. You were really quick to take a picture of your rice porridge!
    It’s really fun to read your posts, you are absolutely right about this one too, but it required a foreign point of view to get me thinking of all the aspects of porridge.


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