A friend of mine once came home from a year spent in Edinburgh bearing a gift of a curiously carved wooden stick. “It’s a porridge-stirrer!” she declared, and while it went into the jar next to the stove with the other kitchen appliances, it was taken out far more often for Harry Potter-related living room shenanigans than it was for the stirring of porridge.
Turns out that I shouldn’t have looked that gift wand stirrer in the mouth. Each year in Inverness, Scotland, an amazing event occurs: The Golden Spurtle™ World Porridge Making Championship, exactly what it sounds like, yet approximately nineteen thousand times more awesome. Miss Scotland has shown up!
A spurtle, of course … well, I’ll let them tell it:
Some say porridge should only be stirred in a clock wise direction using the right hand so you don’t evoke the ‘Devil’. The stirring is done with a straight wooden spoon /stick without a moulded or flat end and known is Scotland as a ‘Spurtle’ or ‘Theevil’. Porridge should always be spoken of as ‘they’ and old custom states that it should be eaten standing up. A bone spoon should always be used for eating porridge.
The Porridge and Oatmeal Thesaurus alone is enough to make a visit to the site worth it — at the very least it’ll ramp up your Scrabble prowess. (I’ll buy a cookie for the first person to provide proof of using FOORACH — buttermilk, whipped cream or whey with oatmeal stirred in — for a bingo.)
But most important, of course, is the competition, which is open to all willing to pay the £10 entry fee. Of course, there are rules and regulations — oat flakes are verboten, there’s a minimum of 1 pint that must be cooked, and competitors are required to bring their own spurtles. I’ve got mine already.
[Photo: 2008 Golden Spurtle Winner Ian Bishop & Miss Scotland; photo by Aileen Cairney]