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Hard times are good for hard candy and porridge

When I hear the word “porridge” I think of Goldilocks and the three bears. I don’t think bears actually eat porridge, and I don’t think I’ve eaten porridge either. Grits, check. Oatmeal, yep. I’ve even had quinoa, though I can’t pronounce it. In Iceland, porridge is popular these days because “it’s cheap and it stands with you through the day.”

It’s also been reported that candy sales are up, particularly for nostalgic candies like Necco Wafers and Mallo Cups. Candy is a cheap way for people to feel better about the crap economy. Even if you don’t have a paycheck, you can get a Payday.

The word “economy” feels vague and formless. I can’t seen an economy, I can’t feel it, and I definitely can’t eat it. Yet, when the economy shifts, it affects everything, down to what we have for breakfast. I’m lucky for now that I don’t have to live much differently than I did before the economy crashed. I’ve always been thrifty and I’m fortunate to still have a consistent paycheck. I’m still eating oatmeal for breakfast every morning, but it’s because I like to and not just because it’s cheap.

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22 Comments

Kyle • April 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

I need some candy. All my blogs have been affected. And my hubby’s job too. Rough.

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crazylady • April 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm

Aren’t oatmeal and porridge the same thing !? They are here anyway (here being Ireland).

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maxie • April 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Yeah, I thought any mushy cooked cereal was porridge.

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PastaQueen • April 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

@crazylady – I wasn’t really sure. They looked different in the Wikipedia picture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porridge Porridge seemed to be a broader category of breakfast cereals, including oatmeal but not exclusively oatmeal.

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JEM • April 10, 2009 at 12:52 pm

I find myself planning a lot of my meals with beans and rice as the side, since it is so cheap. No porridge for me yet though. :-) We are still doing eggs in the morning.

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crazylady • April 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm

@PastaQueen – hmmmmm interesting. I guess it depends on where you’re from then. Here what we call porridge is definitely made from oats but there are different varieties all right (this is one of the main brands over here – http://www.flahavans.com/product/porridgeoats/index.htm).

I guess all that matters is that it’s yummy in my tummy :)

Especially with some mixed frozen berries thrown in and a spoon of milled flaxseed!

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Shauna Weiss • April 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm

You mentioned Payday bars!! Mmmmm those are my favorite! I stock up any time I go to the States because we don’t get them in Canada, at least not in BC. Now I have a serious craving! :)

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Sassy Molassy • April 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm

I’m eating coffee flavored candy as I read this. goooo recession. No really, I’m serious. Go NOW! We’re done with you, Recession.

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Edie • April 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm

I got to your blog via Roni’s. I can’t stand oatmeal or mushy cereals of any kind but I’m a huge fan of Mallo Cups. They are my all time favorite candy but they’ve very hard to come by in the part of VA I live in.

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Amy • April 10, 2009 at 9:19 pm

@PastaQueen – Porridge & oatmeal are the same in Australia as far as I know. I’ve only ever made porridge with oats -never knew it could be anything else!

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Deb • April 10, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Nice writing moment: You don’t need a paycheck to have a Payday, or however you put it. I was impressed.

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Syslak • April 11, 2009 at 4:11 am

Porridge is gross :-) My mum made it every morning in the winter and I couldn’t stand it. She was convinced I needed a warm breakfast, so we tried cream of wheat, Sunny Boy, and whatever other warm cereal there is out there. Maybe I would have liked them if Mum had let me put sugar on them… Sorry for rambling, but you brought up a lot of repressed memories about the grossness of porridge.

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gfe--gluten free easily • April 11, 2009 at 10:03 am

I think of The Three Bears, too, when I hear the term porridge. I think that those of us who like simple, basic meals fare better in difficult times. I used to eat oatmeal every day until I found out I needed to eat gluten free and the oatmeal you can buy in most stores still contains gluten from cross contamination in fields and processing. Now I buy the expensive certified gluten-free oats (dedicated fields and processing), but I don’t eat it that often. Eggs and leftovers are my favorite breakfast food now.

Shirley

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Sarah • April 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

@Edie – Do you have a Cracker Barrel? They sell them!

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Sarah • April 11, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Hey PQ, I was looking for a book at the library and thought this might interest you.

“Tell me what to eat if I have headaches and migraines : nutrition you can live with”

By Magee, Elaine.

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kristisummer • April 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm

interesting candy sales are up b/c consumption is up because of the poor economy. what next? lol have a great holiday.

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cybill • April 12, 2009 at 4:02 am

I want to love porridge, I want to eat porridge because I know its ‘good for me’ but try as I might I cannot stand porridge. Now hard candy, I could give that a go…

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Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach • April 12, 2009 at 5:53 am

Necco wafers! They still exist? Wow!

I remember a candy from the 1970s called ‘Flip’em’s – they were similar to Nerds and came in all sorts of yummy flavors. Ah, memories….

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Maura Alia Badji • April 12, 2009 at 9:47 am

I hate being part of a socio-cultural-economicl trend! I’m unique, dammit! This week I tried (and loved) Cranberry Oatmeal and found my old Buffalo-childhood treat, Mallo Cups ((4 for a dollar) @ The Dollar Tree.

Cheap comfort.

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mrs darling • April 13, 2009 at 10:34 am

I think here in America porridge is defined as any cooked cereal.

Hey Jeanette, update us on your weight and where you are at with that. Id love to know how you are keeping it off and how much thought you actually have to put into your meal planning now that its been so long.

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Anna • April 13, 2009 at 9:31 pm

For those who can’t stand porridge try adding different toppings until you find the right one for you.

I tried a whole host of things that people recommend and love; golden syrup, sugar, jam, banana, pear, berries, nuts etc and hated them all. For me it was chopped apple – I love it! The crunchy fresh texture mixed in with the porridge is lovely. Don’t give up on porridge – you’ll find your own way of eating it and it is such a brilliant breakfast food.

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Narya • April 15, 2009 at 9:52 am

It’s pronounced “KEEN-wah.”

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Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog JenFul.

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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