New things, places and people, the thrill of the unknown – he revelled in it all. Come what may of the day ahead, he would leave it all to fate and chance. All except one thing: breakfast. A humble, reliable bowl of porridge in the morning was the only constant in a life otherwise geared eagerly towards turbulence. For this alone, he was methodical in approach.
First, Irish jumbo oats are toasted in a dry pan until just a shade more golden and smelling just shy of burnt. Next to the hob is an old enamel cast iron pot, used daily for decades, with precisely 200ml water and 100ml oat milk waiting inside. The toasted oats sizzle as they land inside with a splash. Onto a medium heat, in with a pinch of salt and then he stirs and stirs, gently, steadily, paying close attention until it looks and feels just right. This spartan meal, unadorned, grounded him most every morning of the year.
Only on very special occasions – Christmas, his birthday, the anniversary of something known only to him – would he allow a deviation from this one sacred ritual. Today is one of those days. He sprinkles soft brown sugar onto the bowl of hot porridge, then places a plate on top to cover. A few patient moments later, the trapped heat has caramelised the sugar into glossy bronze pools, quickly joined by a tablespoon of cold double cream, rolling around the edges of the bowl. Lastly, in a less exacting measure, comes a touch of Irish whiskey. This time it’s The Liberator - Small Batch Double Port Finish.
It’s a rare indulgence to start the day, but the flavours are an undeniable match. A measure to sip alongside doesn’t go amiss. With a nod to the land’s great barley and oats, working in blissful harmony, he toasts – to his own private celebration and to whatever at all the day may yet bring.