Pottage, a medieval Soylent


So before Soylent, when I was in graduate school (I was a medievalist) I tended towards many nights eating pottage. This is a dish, even now that I am married, that we eat regular. It is cheap (I can get down to 1.30$ a meal when I order barley bulk, and that is for deluxe pottage), filling, and freezable.

My usual pottage recipe has:


1-2 cups Barley (unhulled) or Oats Groats
2-4 cups water or stock (stock is preferred, if water is used add salt) A 2 cup liquid to one cup grain ratio should be preserved.

Usual additions:

1 can Ro-Tel Chilli and Tomatoes, diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can chopped spinach OR one package 16 oz frozen spinach

Payday Pottage (when we are living like Rockafellas and have money to spend)

add 1 pound ground meat, sauteed with onions and butter before adding.

Spice to taste, and spicing it is important.

You can add quite a bit to this, generally the rule for pottage is a stock and barley base, that comes to something like a rissoto and put in anything one has.

I don’t vouch for nutritional completeness on this recipe. But it keeps you alive, freezes well.

Have been kind of thinking, in my food planning, of Soylent as a high tech pottage.

Interested to hear your thoughts.



I would actually like to see this put into a DIY soylent recipe. Considering this is kind of a “throw everything edible in a pot” type food you could probably come up with a pottage recipe that does cover most if not all your nutritional requirements. very cool.


Ha, that’s awesome! :slight_smile: I bet I would like it, actually. It’s very cool to imagine the entire population of Great Britain living on this kind of stuff every day.

Interestingly, there are even closer Soylent analogs in other cultures, especially Misugaru, a traditional Korean powdered drink:

I found out about it when I gave my grandma some Schmoylent to try, and she told me it tasted just like a sweeter version of misugaru. Apparently it is almost exactly the same in terms of ingredients and function as a typical DIY soylent, except that it predates the invention of isolated vitamin and mineral supplements. :stuck_out_tongue:


Just don’t sell your birthright for a mess of it. You could end up in a book.


oh axcho, you must be kidding me, it even has the barley in there! That is totally korean pottage. I adore kimchee for hiking food as it is really nutritious and, well, is alredy fermented and can put up with temerature changes. You have any other Korean food that is good for hiking, please let me know. I’m working several recipies of sourdough from my hiking tradition, mountain men west travel.


@toddbstevens, Haha, the cool thing about misugaru is that it’s powdered like Soylent - it’s basically powdered pottage! :slight_smile:

I haven’t tried hiking with any Korean food, but I imagine misugaru would be a great addition, as well as that dried squid stuff that people seem to like so much (squid jerky!). :stuck_out_tongue:


@axcho I really need to get me some misugaru. Do you think a Korean grocer in Allentown would have some? Heck I’ll email my college friend in Seoul if I have to! Sounds like something to try.

Try out my pottage recipe, the trick is to get good whole barley, not hulled or pearl. I get my grains from http://www.breadbeckers.com/.

Due to an amusing mixup on order quantity I actually have about 10 pounds of barley sitting about, send me a PM I’ll mail you some.



I haven’t been able to find any the last time I found myself in a Korean grocery store, but if you ask, they might be able to help you out. I’m sure your college friend would be able to find some, at least. :stuck_out_tongue:

I definitely want to try your pottage recipe sometime! :slight_smile: If it’s not too expensive to mail, sure I’d be happy to try some barley… I’ll send you a PM.


The word porridge comes from the word pottage, but porridge now refers to any kind of grain or bean cooked down until it’s just a thick, um, porridge.


Try a home brewing store. Their barley will likely be malted, but you can buy small amounts and try it out…


As @thorium said home-brew stores are an easy source of barley. Ask for “two-row”. They will have a number of other barleys with different amounts of roasting which should give your pottage different flavor and color.


Well I hate to sound like I’m promoting them but bread beckers has always been really good to me.


You can also get a bunch of grains like quinoa there. I do have to emphasize I am not working for them at all. They took over my old granary, and they seem to be the place to go if you want barley in job lots.

Unhulled Barley can become many things, food, flour, beer (delicious and good trading stock), in an emergency. I have a lot of barley laid up.


I’m going to go home and try mixing some hamburger into my soylent, brb.


horsfield, I actually tried to put this into a DIY soylent. They really only have listings for hulled barley, pearl barley etc… which loses much of the nutrition. I wish I could.


Your not limited to whats already in the data base there is always manual entry of the nutritional info.


I see Misugaru already for the second time!

My Korean client told me on Reddit about that. Now it’s easier to explain my seeds for clients :slight_smile:


I actually don’t have good nutritional info on unhulled barley, it is something to research.

I’d kind of like to put pottage into the database as a food idea. I think it would be quite complete, I mean a million medieval peasants lived off it, right? My recipe comes from an early 14th century cookbook, but it is referred to as something anyone that eats would have already known how to make. And yes porridge is derived from pottage.

I’ll get some numbers on barley and put it in the database.

Spaceman and axcho, still interested in this Misugaru thing. If I go down to the local asian grocery, which is Korean owned, and ask for this, are they going to look at me strangely? I mean this is a thing right? As far as portable food you ask an American what he thinks of pemmican and you will get a nil response.



That all depends on how good your pronounciation is :smile:


OK friends, I took a stab at putting pottage into the DIY database as suggested. I must say, that database entry is more prone to pills and powders than whole foods, but I made a stab at it. I will refine a bit as my understanding of the entering requirements and the nutrition evolves.

Take a look, let me know what you think. I am still working on my recipe for pemmican. That has always been something I prepare by eye, so I’m having to do a walk through of my cooking to actually figure out what my recipe is.

TBS (a.k.a. erehwesle)


Oh yes, links