Oat cuisine for breakfast
First Minister Alex Salmond didn't have to guess who'd been eating all his porridge in Bute House this morning.
Five primary school pupils from Dalmally Primary School in Argyll and two from St Mary's Primary School in Edinburgh, who are both supporting Mary's Meals, joined him at the table to mark World Porridge Day and they declared their breakfasts in best Goldilocks fashion as: "Not too hot, not too cold but just right!"
The First Minister and the children were enjoying their breakfast together to mark World Porridge Day which is taking place on Sunday and is expected to raise thousands of pounds for the Mary's Meals charity to feed children around the world. The charity has teamed up with the Highland village of Carrbridge - home to the World Porridge Making Championship which also takes place on Sunday.
The First Minister said:
"There's no better way to start a busy day than with a bowl of porridge; which makes this breakfast today with these healthy youngsters all the more poignant.
"Around the world, millions of children go to bed hungry and wake up hungry. This Sunday, Scots should get out their porridge pots and spurtles and cook up imaginative ways to raise money to help mark World Porridge Day and support Mary's Meals to help feed needy children in some of the world's poorest countries."
Abeer McIntyre, lead fundraiser of Mary's Meals, said:
"To many of us porridge is a 'comfort' food - something that warms us up on a wet, wintry day. To the children who receive Mary's Meals in Malawi it is a comfort too, but in an entirely different way. For them, and their parents and community, it is the comfort of knowing that there will be a next meal and they no longer have to scavenge or work for it."
Scott Bruce, Chairman of Carrbridge and Vicinity Community Council, said:
"Mary's Meals does tremendous work and we hope everyone will follow the First Minister's lead and join in the spirit of the World Porridge Day fund raising efforts to support this worthwhile cause."
Mary's Meals works in 15 of the poorest countries in the world, providing daily school meals for 400,000 of the neediest children.
The first International Porridge Day took place in October 2009 at the suggestion of the organisers of the World Porridge Making Championships, an international competition in Carrbridge, Scotland. They wanted to support Mary's Meals because of the role that a maize-based porridge (called likuni phala) plays in Malawi, where children receive a nutritious mug every day at Mary's Meals school projects.
In August, during the visit by Cabinet to Dornoch, the First Minister was presented with a specially commissioned porridge spurtle by the organisers of the World Porridge Making Championship to mark the launch of invitations to competitors in this weekend's competition.
The Scottish Government is investing £500,000 in delivering events as part of the Year of Food and Drink which is showcasing the best of Scottish cuisine and encourage more use of local, fresh and seasonal produce across the tourism industry. The year-long focus will build on the success of Homecoming 2009 in rallying Scotland around a common theme.