A Grueling Experience

12 Jan

If you follow our blog regularly you’ll know that we are widely revered for our recipes.

Okay, maybe not, but there was the one for Gulliver’s Oat Cakes and then Jeannette gave us a lovely “scohn” recipe.  Please check your pronunciation.

Today we bring you another installment of Classic Recipes.  Again, oats are our main ingredient.  Pretty much oats are the only indredient.

Well, okay, water and salt play a role, too.  But the salt is optional.

That’s right.  We’re making gruel.  It was the workhouse food of choice, and if it’s good enough for Oliver, than who are we to serve anything else to our children?  We do want them to grow up to be good little boys and girls, don’t we?  And unlike meat, gruel will keep them from rising up against us.

Here’s our character list:

I’m sure that the workhouse would have used store-brand oats.  No Quaker Oatmeal for Oliver and company.

Step 1:  Mix three dessert spoonfuls of oats with a little water to make a paste.

I had no dessert spoon, so I just used our normal eating spoons.  I wonder if the workhouse cooks got to use the matron’s silver spoon that Mr. Bumble so amorously fondled?

This paste part was trickier than I anticipated.  At first I added too much water, so I poured some off, but I’m not sure I diligently mushed it together long enough.

I don’t think any wallpaper could have been hung with this concoction.

Step 2:  Pour the paste into the pint of water.

Step 3:  Boil for 10 minutes.

Beware!  Gruel is prone to boil over.

Then just when you think you’ve got it under control it is prone to quit boiling all together.

Then just when you think you’ve added back enough heat you find yourself with a messy stovetop again.  Much like the state of poverty, gruel is a vicious circle.

For added authenticity it is helpful to have hungry babies pulling on your leg, crying, and reaching towards the stove.

They really set the mood.

Step 4:  Add the salt.  It’s optional, but I felt generous, so I put in a shake or two.

Yes, you’re right, I did forget to add it while still in the pot.  I bet you’re wondering how that lovely liquidish dish was filled.  Just like this:

Appetizing, eh?

I know you’re waiting for me to regale you with the horrors of the gooey slop.  But the truth is that I actually like oatmeal.  And salt.  And water, for that matter.  So, I had very high hopes for gruel.

I was wrong.

In conclusion, this is what I learned today:

Gruel is tricky.  Gruel is sticky.  And gruel is yicky.

Really, Ollie?  Are you sure you wanted more?

Up Next in the Classic Recipe Series:  Jane Eyre’s Burnt Porridge


Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Oliver Twist


Tags: , , ,

6 responses to “A Grueling Experience

  1. Jeannette

    January 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I love this post. Full of humor and yet useful information too. Now I know to leave gruel out of the breakfast rotation. I’ll just have to take my chances with my children rising up against me. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: