A slice of porridge has always been top drawer

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IT HAS to be said that Robert C Walker must have led a sheltered life ('Porridge drawer smells suspicious', Letters, January 22). Porridge in the drawer was certainly a staple in some east of Scotland agricultural communities.

I am "only" 42, but can remember getting a "slab o' parritch fae the drawer" as a youngster. Served with homemade jam it was ambrosia.

The practice was certainly not unhygienic as the drawer was scrubbed scrupulously after it was emptied and lined with baking paper or greaseproof paper before being refilled.

My father was from a family of 12 and this practice was I'm sure as much to do with time saving as anything else; those who liked it could help themselves without grannie having to cook for all at breakfast time.

I am sure that not everyone used a drawer and that other containers were used, but I can say that porridge was most certainly kept in a drawer in some houses and bothies, and no shame on them for it.

Rodger Caldwell, Auchtermuchty

THERE really was a porridge drawer. I spent much of my childhood days on a farm in Aberdeenshire. There was a chest of drawers with three drawers, the top of which was full of oatmeal. The second was full of cooked porridge, which we could eat cold or heat up. I never tried it myself. I preferred my porridge freshly cooked along with a bowl of milk straight fae the coo.

Bob Gibb, Aberdeen

ABOUT 20 years ago I went with a fellow falconer to view an eagle's eyrie in the Perthshire Highlands. We called on the estate gamekeeper who invited us into his cottage for a cup of tea. In the single room there was an open fire with a cauldron hanging over it which contained broth. He claimed that his aged mother, who lived with him, "just kept topping it up".

When we prepared to leave, he said: "Would you like some porridge to take with you?" He went to a dresser and opened a drawer. It was about a foot wide and two inches deep and contained an inch-thick layer of congealed cold porridge. He proceeded to cut off two wedges, about four inches by three, which he wrapped in greaseproof paper and handed to us.

When we ate it later I have to say it tasted awful. Obviously, it was made without sugar or honey, quite unlike the porridge which, as an Englishman, I was accustomed to. It was quite dry and of a consistency somewhere between a hard biscuit and flapjack.

I hope this will scotch any idea that the porridge-drawer only existed in mythology.

Michael Treece-Birch, Fleetwood