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Gruel, Porridge  RSS feed

 
James D Young
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Location: Brantford, ON Canada
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http://www.durgan.org/URL/?OTGDY 16 November 2014 Gruel
A four grain pot of gruel, porridge was made. This is about a ten day supply of breakfast cereal for one person. Ingredients are nixtamalized corn, whole wheat kernels, almonds, and sorghum. Each ingredient is blended into a slurry with water. All mixed together and cooked for about two hours in a double boiler. The double boiler inhibits burning by it not being necessary to stir very often when cooking. A bowl of the material is served for breakfast with some molasses for a bit of iron and sweetener, and skim milk. The gruel ingredients vary from batch to batch depending upon what is available in the bulk food store, plus what is supplied from my garden, corn.
 
Ken Peavey
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I was raised on a more simplified version of this sort of thing.
Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, and corn mush.

Corn Mush
1/2 cup of corn meal
1 cup water
Boil it
About as easy as it gets. Serve it hot with a splash of syrup or milk, it's corn mush. If you let this stuff cool off it becomes corn pudding. Slice the pudding, fry it in a skillet with some lard.
It aint great, but its about the cheapest purchased food item out there and offers a full belly. I think its a little bit cheaper than hard tack.
 
Ken Peavey
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I was a bit peckish so I threw a batch together.
I used 1/4 cup of meal to the cup of water and added a spoonful on honey on top.
 
Sheila Kingsley
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I like to cook up a big batch of cream of wheat and save the extra in a flat bottomed dish or saucepan. I leave it on the counter overnight. By morning it is well solidified and can be turned onto a hot oiled iron griddle. I fry it up until there's a light brown crust on both sides. We like it topped with butter and brown sugar, or strawberry jam, or real maple syrup. It makes a stick-to-your-ribs hot breakfast. Sometimes I add fruit, berries, or raisins and mix it in while the cereal is hot. After it is fried in the morning it's real tasty with a dusting of powdered sugar.
 
Ken Peavey
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My Great-Grandmother would make Cream of Wheat for us. It was a staple. There was no such thing as Captain Crunch or Tony the Tiger. This is breakfast according to someone born in 1896. Her method produced a consistency not unlike vulcanized rubber but we didn't have much back then for comparison. We didn't have maple syrup, or maple flavored syrup, or even honey. There was corn syrup (yuk and it was before GMOs), molasses (good on beans and in cookies, not so much for cream of wheat, come to think of it the beans and cookies weren't all that great either), table sugar (1 spoon, it's expensive!), or blueberry sauce.

The blueberry sauce was close to James Young's Blueberry Juice. Nannie had around a dozen acres of wild blueberries. We'd harvest half of the field this year, the other half next year. I'm drawing on memories from the 70s and 80s here, but I'd guess she harvested 10 tons of berries each year. A little more when the field behind the house was picked. We'd bring in a bucket of berries, already run through the winnower, and spend much of the evening picking out leaves, bugs, stems, and eating those specimens which were judged to be extremely large or especially promising. I had a blue tongue lasting the entire month of August each year through 1985 when I left for college. BLUE

A good sized pot, enameled steel with some chips goes up on the stove. She had a Home Clarion. The berries go in. Pour in just enough water to cover. Add a half a cup of sugar. Not too much, it's expensive. Not like the berries needed added sweetness anyway. Bring the pot to a boil for a minute, just enough to burst the berries so the juice comes out but not so long they turn into mush, then take it off the stove.

While the berries came to a boil she'd ready another pot and some canning jars, and caps, and rubber gaskets. With the berry pot in the sink she could dish up a ladle to fill the jar. Now, you had to work quickly when filling the jars because the berries would make the jar too hot to handle and you had to place the rubber ring and pull down the wire cage before you burned your fingers. When enough of them were filled she grabbed a towel and moved them the big pot on the stove to boil for a little while. They'd keep until the next harvest down in the sullah. We'd put up a hundred jars this way. She said we could have as much as we want so long as we didnt waste any...

 
Alder Burns
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Location: northern California
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This is basically what I make with leached acorn meal. Cooked up with a bit of ashes in the solar cooker or the embers of the woodstove. Makes a bland gruel, quite comparable to corn grits or polenta, and similarly used. I can eat it with sweet stuff, fruit, and milk, or with hot curry stuff as a substitute for rice. My wife mixes it into cookie dough and ground meat, useful since she is gluten-free.
 
James D Young
Posts: 64
Location: Brantford, ON Canada
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Alder Burns wrote:This is basically what I make with leached acorn meal. Cooked up with a bit of ashes in the solar cooker or the embers of the woodstove. Makes a bland gruel, quite comparable to corn grits or polenta, and similarly used. I can eat it with sweet stuff, fruit, and milk, or with hot curry stuff as a substitute for rice. My wife mixes it into cookie dough and ground meat, useful since she is gluten-free.


Am I to assume you are familiar with nixtamalization?
 
Alder Burns
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I am familiar with nixtamalization....as .a process developed for corn. I'm not sure that's what's going on with the acorns, but I know that several native groups in this region cooked their acorn with ash, and/or sometimes with clay as well. I would guess that both help neutralize any tannins or other antinutrients remaining in the acorn after the leaching process.
 
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