Anyone who thinks the iPad is man’s greatest invention should think again. iPorridge, apparently, is out there in front as the greatest innovation of all time. Forget the telephone, radio or television, discard antibiotics and the internet. Life would not be worth living without the humble bowl of Quaker Oats. It is even known to the Greeks who call it Kwacker.
As reported here in The Telegraph, DNA boffin Alistair Moffat believes porridge was pivotal to the building of nations. He says that, before porridge, women were compelled to breast feed their children until the age of four or five years because fragile milk teeth could not cope with the meat and vegetation enjoyed by hunter gatherers. This, in turn, meant that hunter-gathers could not have as many children as they would like.
The greatest revolution of our history wasn’t the invention of the iPad, it wasn’t the invention of the steam engine, it wasn’t all the things you might lay your mind to. The great invention, the greatest revolution in our history was the invention of farming. Farming changed the world because of the invention of porridge. When farming was invented and cereals were grown, charred, ripened and mashed into a pulp – porridge – it could be spooned into the mouths of infants and was extremely nourishing. And it allowed women to stop breast feeding after one or two years and so the birth interval halved and the population rocketed.
I, of course, have long given up being breast fed. But I do combine the two greatest inventions into my morning ritual: I spoon porridge into my mouth while scanning the news on my iPad. I thnk I have reached the apogee of civilisation.