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Gruel

A cross between a drink and an oatmeal porridge, that formed part of the staple diet in the British Isles during the Middle Ages. Thirteen ounces of oatmeal and a quart of water, boiled together with salt, was said to be "sufficient for a meal for two labourers.

It was eaten with a little milk or beer poured upon it, or with a little cold butter put into the middle, or with a little treacle"; by the mid-eighteenth century dishes like this had become invalid food. But sweet wine possets (a refined development), enriched with cream and spices, were still elegant enough to be served at formal suppers. See 'Posset'; 'Pottage'

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