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  1. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #1

    Porridge vs. Gruel

    Porridge vs. Gruel

    I know all about the suffering orphans in Dickens subsisting on gruel. It has a bad rap.
    Gruel, as I understand it, is more watery with thinner consistency. But, do people still call it gruel or do they gentrify it to porridge?

    If I said "I had gruel for breakfast this morning", would people think I had something incredibly unappetizing?

    I would also appreciate BrE vs. AmE perspectives.

    Thank you for your replies.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    Porridge vs. Gruel

    I know all about the suffering orphans in Dickens subsisting on gruel. It has a bad rap.
    Gruel, as I understand it, is more watery with thinner consistency. But, do people still call it gruel or do they gentrify it to porridge?

    If I said "I had gruel for breakfast this morning", would people think I had something incredibly unappetizing?

    I would also appreciate BrE vs. AmE perspectives.

    Thank you for your replies.
    It's always 'porridge' in AusE.

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    #3

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    Porridge vs. Gruel

    I know all about the suffering orphans in Dickens subsisting on gruel. It has a bad rap.
    Gruel, as I understand it, is more watery with thinner consistency. But, do people still call it gruel or do they gentrify it to porridge?

    If I said "I had gruel for breakfast this morning", would people think I had something incredibly unappetizing?

    I would also appreciate BrE vs. AmE perspectives.

    Thank you for your replies.
    If you said you had gruel for breakfast, then I would think you had either had a very watery porridge or, like you said, had something unappetizing (which gruel is thought of being - I have yet to hear gruel used in a positive way!).

    As a Brit, I would also add gruel also has a connotation of being mistreated. Something that is fed to people as it costs very little (like in Oliver Twist).

    Gruel is still used, but only very rarely, people wouldn't gentrfy it to porridge. This is because when people want to say gruel they use it in a negative sense, in my opinion anyway.

  3. Mr_Ben's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    As far as I know, people regularly and happily eat porridge while gruel would be found in a prison or similar institution. Nobody makes gruel for themselves to eat.

  4. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Ben View Post
    Nobody makes gruel for themselves to eat.
    Sure they do. There are many ways to make gruel out of different kinds of flour with different kinds of milk.

    My question was about the connotation of the word. Whether people who make gruel call it porridge because of negative connotations of the word gruel.

  5. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    Quote Originally Posted by shroob View Post
    Gruel is still used, but only very rarely, people wouldn't gentrfy it to porridge. This is because when people want to say gruel they use it in a negative sense, in my opinion anyway.
    Thank you for your reply.

    My question was whether they call what is essentially gruel porridge thus gentrifying "it".

  6. probus's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    I've never in my life heard the word gruel used. I don't think calling something porridge is a matter of gentrification. It's just that the word gruel has fallen out of use with most people.

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    #8

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    If you said that you had gruel I would feel sorry for you. I haven't heard porridge gruel, but that would still sound bad. Gruel is associated with desperate poverty and inhuman prisons; I can't see any way of gentrifying it, and as Mr_Ben says, it's not something you make at home. Porridge has positive, healthy associations to me, as long as it's not made with salt. (BrE speaker)

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    #9

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    There are many ways to make gruel out of different kinds of flour with different kinds of milk.
    I have never met anyone who has ever made any sort of gruel. I associate it only with times past and/or people living in povery.

  8. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Porridge vs. Gruel

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I have never met anyone who has ever made any sort of gruel. I associate it only with times past and/or people living in povery.
    OK, fair enough.

    I make porridge out of flakes like oat flakes or barley flakes. I cook it until it's mushy, then I add milk so its consistency is more like a soup (very liquid-y). What would you call that?

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