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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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sowans the Scottish name for a type of gruel made from sids, the inner husks of the oat grain. These are mixed with lukewarm water and left in a warm place until slightly fermented and sour, a process which takes, on average, a week. Then the liquid is strained, the sids being squeezed by hand to extract all the goodness before they are discarded. The liquid is allowed to stand for two days, at the end of which all solids it contains have sunk to the bottom. This sediment is the sowans. When required, the liquid is poured off. The sowans are prepared by heating them with salt and fresh water, and cooking gently for ten minutes until thick and creamy. They are served like porridge, sometimes accompanied by butter. Sowans were also thinned and used as a drink, sometimes laced with whisky.