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Archive for December 9th, 2009

I heard this tale many years ago, and want to get it down somewhere before I forget it, yet again.

My husband and I used to enjoy attending the Scottish Highland Games in NH, before they got too commercialized, and one of the chief highlights — for us, anyway — was the minister, Dr. John Turner, who lives somewhere in the wilds of VA.  One year, he treated us to the classic Scottish blessing that begins, “From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties,” and ends, “Good Lord, deliver us” — there’s a good deal more in there, including a reference to “field mice and fairy mice” and the usual “brounies,” who I gather can wreak havoc if they don’t like your housekeeping.  If someone ever comes across the whole blessing, I’d appreciate it if you sent it to me.

But the object of this particular tale is from a sermon.  It seems there was a convocation between the Church of England and the Church of Scotland.  The whole conference went very smoothly while they discussed whatever clerics of these two churches discuss, but at the end, the head of the Church of England couldn’t resist slipping into his blessing:  “And finally, Lord, make us to be, not like porridge:  stuffy, dull, and unimaginative; but like cornflakes:  light, crisp, and ready to serve.”

Now porridge, or oatmeal, being the national food of Scotland, it may be imagined that the Scots didn’t take this too kindly.  But being used to put-downs from England, they didn’t make anything of it, until the head of the Church of Scotland got up to give his blessing, and ended it:  “And finally, Lord, make us to be, not like cornflakes:  noisy, superficial, and cold; but like porridge:  sturdy, warm, and comforting.”

On a snowy day like today — yes, since my last post, we have had two snowstorms, so I did jinx myself — I would like to offer my husband’s particular variation on Sturdy, Warm, and Comforting porridge (which I understand, from having read The Hills is Lonely, would make any Scot blench in horror):

1 cup almond milk (I have no idea what this tastes like with cow’s milk)

2 tbsp. raisins

a dash of cinnamon (I usually just tap the cinnamon container once)

1 packet of sweetener, or sugar to taste

Mix everything into a pot and bring to a boil, then add 1/2 cup oatmeal and cook according to package directions.  When the stuff is done, top it off with cream to taste; because we’re usually fasting at some point during the week, we’ve taken to using non-dairy creamer, and I like the Sugar-Free Hazelnut best.

Beats cornflakes cold.    😉

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