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History Cookbook: Gruel

This recipe is in category Victorians
About this recipe
Healthiness : (585 votes)
Preparation Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

This recipe is based on the ingredients used in an 18th century workhouse. Gruel was one of the main foods provided. At this workhouse (Sunday-Thursday) on three days of the week, male inmates were served a pint and a half of gruel, a pint and a half of broth, five ounces of cooked meat, twelve ounces of bread and eight ounces of potatoes. On the three alternate days, the men were fed twelve ounces of bread, a pint and a half of gruel, a pint and a half of soup, and two ounces of cheese. On Fridays, they were served twelve ounces of bread, a pint and a half of gruel, fourteen ounces of suet or rice pudding, and two ounces of cheese. The meagre menu was divided into three meals daily. Women and children were given slightly less.
  • 3 dessert spoonfuls of oatmeal
  • 1 pint of water
  • a little salt
  • Spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Pan
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Mix the oatmeal with a little cold water to make a paste
  2. Put the rest of the water in a pan
  3. Add the mixture and boil for 10 minutes
  4. Add the salt
Gruel - print view  Gruel - print view

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Name: Peter 28th March 2017
This is fabulous
Name: Jill5 Kemshed 18th February 2017
I have not yet tried this recipe yet.However, I remember Gruel from when my Grandma made it and I am talking about the early 1940 's as I am almost 79 years old. I can smell it even now, however, it just not smell or taste the same these days.I am thinking, are the Oats not the same these days?J.K.
Name: Lance 14th January 2017
I tried this recipe and it was delicious! Nothing like it. :)

I substituted the oatmeal for regular multi-purpose flour (With my Quakers Oats I wasn't able to make a paste) but it came out just fine. Might taste better with oats though
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