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.
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.
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.
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.
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)