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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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porridge has two meanings. One is a general descriptive term for any cooked mush of cereal, pulses, or vegetables. Many of these have their own specific names, such as frumenty, made from wheat; tsampa, made from barley; polenta, made from maize; congee, from rice. These examples fit the term porridge quite naturally, but when it comes to a vegetable ‘porridge’ (or anything with meat in it, like haleem) many people would hesitate to use the term. Nevertheless, there is a clear relationship with such items as dal, Indian spiced pulse dishes; Ugandan matoke, based on plantains; and poi, made from taro. If the word is used in this way, the main ingredient is usually cited.