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Arts & Culture

The Secret To Prize-Winning Porridge Is In the Spurtle

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Goldilocks had no respect for trespass law and you know how this goes. One day, she wandered into an unlocked home.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Hello? I wonder who lives here.

BLOCK: A family of bears. They had put their breakfast on hold and had gone out on a walk. Goldilocks was hungry. And saw an opportunity to cop a little free grub, and committed property theft.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Oh, porridge. Oh, that's too hot. That's too cold. And that's just right.

SIEGEL: Now, we don't know what went into the bears' recipe but in the world of competitive porridge making, Dr. Izhar Khan has it just right too.

IZHAR KHAN: I was awarded the Golden Spurtle award for being the best porridge maker in the world.

SIEGEL: That's right. The prestigious Golden Spurtle award was handed out over the weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It was the 21st annual Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championships.

BLOCK: Well done, Dr. Khan.

SIEGEL: Now, this isn't the first time the kidney specialist from Aberdeen has stirred the competitive pot.

KHAN: Well, this is the second time. So I was very pleasantly surprised and I'm still quite overwhelmed by this accolade and recognition.

BLOCK: Dr. Khan attributes his success to the utensil he used to stir his winning porridge.

KHAN: One of the most important utensils - the utensil for making good porridge - is called a spurtle.

SIEGEL: The spurtle. The spurtle is a traditional Scottish kitchen tool. It is thought to be six centuries old. It's made out of wood and sort of looks like a thin, miniature baseball bat. I wonder if those bears used a spurtle.

BLOCK: I don't think we're ever going to know that, Robert. But we do know that Dr. Khan's spurtle was crafted by one of his patients. He uses it to mix together the oatmeal, water and salt that impressed the judges.

KHAN: And I regard this as my lucky spurtle.

SIEGEL: To achieve his triumph over lesser porridge makers, Dr. Khan had to defeat, among others, an owner of a porridge bar in Copenhagen, as well as Sweden's Nordic porridge making champion.

BLOCK: And Khan knows, like Goldilocks, that a good porridge is balanced between two extremes.

KHAN: It shouldn't be too soft and it shouldn't be too al dente. It should just be in the medium.

SIEGEL: In the medium, or just right. Dr. Izhar Khan, winner of this weekend's 21st Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship.

BLOCK: And he's already eyeing next year's title, saying he must absolutely defend it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.