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Difference Between Porridge and Oatmeal

oat-branPorridge vs Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a kind of porridge. Any grain served hot in the shape of a cereal is porridge. Oatmeal is made by processing oats. Oatmeal could consist of crushed oats, rolled oats, or cut oats in oatmeal cookies, or they could be mere coarsely ground oats. Porridge on the other hand is a basic dish which is made by boiling crushed oats or another meal in either water or milk. Other meals used for porridge include wheat, rice, peasemeal, barley and cornmeal.

Porridge when made with oat is made from cracked but whole oats. Oatmeal on the other hand is obtained by grinding oats into fine flour and removing the bran. The elevation of oats as a preferred food item for breakfast is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the past oats was sometimes thought of being as no better than animal feed. These days it is a much vaunted food item because of its ability to reduce blood pressure, and cholesterol as well as aid bowel movement.

Oats are perhaps more palatable as a porridge because of the milk or cream in it and also because the heating probably makes the oats more palatable. Porridge can contain rice, oats peasemeal, barley, cornmeal, semolina or wheat. Oats on the other hand are simply rolled or steel cut. Quite often porridge is made using oatmeal or the same oatmeal can be baked and made into cookies.

Thus we can see that oatmeal is derived from oats and when it is warmed up with milk, cream or water and served up as breakfast we call it porridge. But porridge of course can use other grains besides oats. Quite often though people use the terms oatmeal and porridge interchangeably, though strictly that is not true.

Porridge has traditionally been a traditional meal of North Europe from very old times and used to be mainly made with barley. Sometimes other grains and yellow peas were also used. Oatmeal too has an old Scottish tradition and was the staple diet of the peaseantry there, often looked down derisively by the neighbouring English. The traditional Scottish oatmeal is obtained by grinding oats into a powder.

Summary:
1. Porridge is made by heating up any grain in milk or water or both. Oatmeal on the other hand could consist of crushed oats, rolled oats, or cut oats in oatmeal cookies. Alternatively they could be mere coarsely ground oats.
2. While oatmeal is obtained by processing oats porridge can be made with oats, rice, oats peasemeal, barley, cornmeal, semolina or wheat.
3. Porridge with oats is made from cracked but whole oats. Oatmeal is obtained by grinding oats into fine flour and removing the bran.
4. Porridge has been consumed in Northern Europe since antiquity while oatmeal has a strong Scottish tradition.


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2 Comments

  1. well this is dissapointing. I hoped that oatmeal would be more unique.

  2. I found this to be interesting; I heard oatmeal and porridge were kinda the same thing-but never completely understood why it was a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on the topic until I read this article. Oatmeal is just one version of porridge.

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