Clan MacFarlane Worldwide, Inc.

Helping To Connect You With Your Heritage


Diaspora - 17 February 2019

Oatmeal or Porridge


I can buy steel cut oats, instant oats, Quaker oats, Old Fashioned oats, Organic Oats, Oatmeal with extra protein, rolled oats, and I'm sure some I have not thought of.  Per Wikipedia, oats are from "Groats," which are hulled oat grains (not to be confused with one of my favorite new movie characters, "Grute").   The description continues:  the oats can be milled, steel-cut or rolled.  Ground oats are considered "white oats."  Steel-cut oats are considered "coarse oatmeal" or "Irish oatmeal" or "pinhead oats."  Rolled oats are thin or thick and considered either "old fashioned" or "quick" or "instant."  Whew!  Thanks Wikipedia!


If you are in Scotland, the oats are ground into a powder, and may be called various names too.  "It may be ground fine, medium, or coarse, or rolled, or the groats may be chopped in two or three pieces to make what is described as pinhead oatmeal.[13] Ground oatmeal, rolled oats, and pinhead oatmeal, are all used (throughout Britain); one Scots manufacturer describes varieties as "Scottish Porridge Oats" (rolled), "Scottish Oatmeal" (medium ground), and "Pinhead Oatmeal".

And... how are the oats used?

In Scotland:

  • Traditional porridge

  • Brose: a thick mixture made with uncooked oatmeal (or medium oatmeal that has been dry toasted by stirring it around in a dry pot over heat until it turns a slightly darker shade and emits a sweet, nutty fragrance) and then adding butter or cream. Brose is eaten like porridge but is much more filling.

  • Quick-cooking rolled oats (distinct from "instant" variations) are often used for this purpose nowadays, because they are quicker to prepare.

  • Gruel, made by mixing oatmeal with cold water that is strained and heated for the benefit of infants and people recovering from illness.

  • as an ingredient in baking

  • in the manufacture of bannocks or oatcakes

  • as a stuffing for poultry

  • as a coating for Caboc cheese

  • as the main ingredient of the Scottish dish skirlie, or its chip-shop counterpart, the deep-fried thickly-battered mealy pudding

  • mixed with sheep's blood, salt, and pepper to make Highland black pudding (marag dubh).

  • mixed with fat, water, onions and seasoning, and boiled in a sheep's intestine to make marag geal, Outer Hebridean white pudding, served sliced with fried eggs at breakfast. A sweeter version with dried fruit is also known.

  • as a major component of haggis.

  • in sowans, not strictly made from the meal but as a porridge-like dish made from the fermented inner husks of oat

Again... thank you Wikipedia!


And in Staffordshire. there are Staffordshire Oatcakes.  These look like blintzes to me.  Very thin and cooked on a griddle and then filled with the usual breakfast fare of eggs, sausage, mushrooms.  


Now, I know that we eat oatmeal because it is hearty and healthy and a good source of fiber.  But I suddenly had a flashback conversation with my Dad.  He mentioned using oatmeal in the radiator of his car for a quick fix for a leak.  So my question is this:  if oatmeal can be used to patch a hole in a radiator, why is oatmeal considered great fiber for our system, and why doesn't it get stuck?  

Why, indeed.



Diaspora - 16 February 2019

What's for Breakfast?

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Steve normally makes our daily breakfast.  He's a farm kid and grew up with the big breakfast with eggs and bacon and toast and juice and coffee.  I'm the suburban girl who would have anything my mother found convenient to feed us in the morning.  Sometimes that was a piece of cake or pie (after all, what's the difference between those choices and coffee cake or a donut) or eggs and toast, or toast with peanut butter spread upon it.  To be honest, I prefer Steve's version.  He's a great cook, and my blood sugar is better because of his cooking.

On our first visit to Scotland, I told Steve I thought the cooks were trying to "honor" us with American food.  We gazed upon scrambeled eggs, cooked tomatos, baked beans and more.  But with the passing of each day of our trip, it beame apparant to our ignorant selves that this was a routine breakfast in Scotland, at least at restaurants.  That does beg the question:  what is a typical Scottish breakfast?

Fodor's the travel group has a nice blog that has identified a list of foods that you will typically find for breakfast.  One guest listed the following:  "Almost always eggs x 2, bacon rashers x 2, sausages x 2, cold and/or hot cereal, grilled mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, fresh or canned fruit, toast, tea, coffee, juice -- 

and sometimes kippers, blood pudding, and yogurt."  

Is there some place in Scotland with MacFarlane history where you can eat a breakfast?  Yes!  The Slanj at Loch Lomond, is a full-service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a brunch.  You can read more on their facebook page.  Clan MacFarlane Worldwide has had the pleasure of holding the Annual Members' Meeting at the Slanj.  The Slanj website offers more information and great photos.  And, the Slanj is the old Ballyhennan Church so if you venture there, be sure to step around to the back to see the 12th century cemetery with MacFarlane headstones. The Slanj is located on MacFarlane lands, so well worth the trip!

slanj bar restaurant










(photo from )


But what about Scottish oatmeal or porridge?  Let's talk about that tomorrow...

Diaspora - 15 February 2019

How's the Weather?


I sit here on our farm in Kansas, with the wind blowing - again, and the snow falling - again, and wonder what the weather is like in Scotland?  After all, we hear it isn't so pleasant.  But after a very long winter in Kansas, I wonder if it is any better in Scotland?  (My friend Barb Duff thinks I am a wuss... she and her husband, John, live in Ontario, Canada where the winters are unspeakable.)

So here's a photo from the news today in Kansas:

WIBW Weather


And what of the weather in Scotland?  Well, if traveling, you might check out this great page that will give you all the information you need to know about the weather: 


But know that the page starts off with the following information:  "We've all heard plenty of jokes about the Scottish weather - but most of them aren't true! Scotland's climate is actually quite moderate and very changeable, although on occasion we get really hot or really cold weather. As the old Scottish saying goes, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes!'


The website even has a great section of Did you Know!


  • In Scotland, we have an old proverb that goes, 'today's rain is tomorrow's whisky.'
  • * Strong winds driving in from the Atlantic and North Sea make the Outer Hebrides and Sutherland a paradise for windsurfers. 
  • * The eastern part of the country, from Inverness across to Aberdeenshire and down to Angus, Fife and the Lothians, enjoys an annual rainfall that is actually similar to (or less than) New York, Barcelona, Rome or even Rabat in Morocco. 
  • * The long daylight hours means that you could play a round of golf in the middle of the night on Orkney and Shetland. 
  • * Long dark winter nights are the best time to see amazing constellations of stars at Scotland's designated Dark Sky areas. 
  • * The Gulf Stream brings warm winds to Scotland's west coast. You can find palm trees in the Highland coastal town of Plockton. 
  • * Dundee is Scotland's sunniest city, with an average of 1,523 hours of sunshine per year.

Thank you to the website for their information!