18 July 2014

Friday's Literary Feast

Quotes from The Virago Book of Food:  The Joy of Eating


Do you ever think of your childhood?
  I think of it when I smell porridge.  Sometimes after I've been by the docks I walk into town and use my nose tracking fresh bread and bacon.  Always, passing a particular house, that sits like the others in a sort of row, and is the same as them, I smell the slow smell of oats.  Sweet but with an edge of salt.  Thick like a blanket.  I don't know who lives in the house, who is responsible, but I imagine the yellow fire and the black pot.  At home we used a copper pot that I polished, loving to polish anything that would keep a shine.  My mother made porridge, leaving the oats overnight by the old fire.  Then in the morning when her bellows work had sent the sparks shooting up the chimney, she burned the oats brown at the sides, so that the sides were like brown paper lining the pot and the inside slopped white over the edge. 
  We trod on a flag floor but in the winter she put down hay and the hay and the oats made us smell like a manger.
  Most of my friends ate hot bread in the mornings.

The Passion

Breakfast Piece by Herbert Badham (1936)


  1. What a lovely quotation -- "the slow smell of oats" -- brilliant. I enjoy these -- keep them coming!

  2. Glad to hear, Harriet! As someone who quite enjoys a bowl of oatmeal every morning, this quote hit home in the nicest way.