Little House polenta porridge

When I promised this week would be free of pink food and party cakes, I didn’t quite anticipate spending the weekend eating very little. I’ll draw a veil over the nasty details, but suffice to say two-thirds of our household spent part of the the weekend in the clutches of (or recovering from) an unpleasant stomach ailment. If this was a different sort of blog I’d be posting selfies of my resulting washboard-ish stomach – but instead, here’s a recipe for a soothing sort of warming winter breakfast.

Polenta porridge
Do you remember the Laura Ingalls Wilder books? I can’t wait for the Small Girl to be old enough to read them. Perhaps then she’ll be keen on having this modern version of Ma’s cornmeal mush for breakfast. This can be dressed up any way you like – the photo below shows it with vanilla paste and a dollop of crème fraiche – but it’s also good with stewed fruit, grated apple, slices of frozen banana (hot/cold, hard/soft) or in true Little House style, butter and proper maple syrup. If you’re in peak health, a splash of cream goes down well too…

For one person:
1/2 cup fine cornmeal/polenta
1 cup water
Flavourings – 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract, 2 tsp butter, a spoonful of honey or the additions mentioned above

Put the polenta in a small saucepan and add the water slowly, stirring all the time. Put it over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until it thickens and begins to simmer like lava. Turn the heat down and continue to cook for five to 10 minutes, adding a little bit more water if it seems very thick. When it’s done, stir through the vanilla, butter and honey, if using, and pour into a waiting bowl. Eat while hot.



  1. June 4, 2013 / 5:22 am

    Oooh sounds nasty. Food poisoning maybe or simply a stomach bug? Either way you know I sympathise! Interesting porridge combo. Never been a huge fan but I'm sure I could be tempted with this…

  2. June 4, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    We live in North Carolina at the moment and here they serve a similar breakfast dish called 'grits'. You can eat it sweet, like you did, or savory with salt, butter, cheese, bacon, whatever takes your fancy. a popular lunch/dinner dish is 'shrimp and grits', which is pretty darn tasty!
    Hope you all (y'all) are feeling better…

  3. June 4, 2013 / 1:57 pm

    I had only rice porridge before..this is a nice change. Love how creamy and delicious it looks.

  4. June 6, 2013 / 3:47 pm

    How funny, I was asking CT yesterday if he had read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books – which he had of course, so we spent a jolly few minutes reminiscing about Little House in the Big Woods and tapping all that lovely maple syrup. I don't recall the cornmeal porridge – I probably assumed it was the same as our oat porridge at the time. Hope you are all properly better now.

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