The value of different farinaceous foods is often much interfered with by defective cooking.

In the preparation of gruels and other farinaceous foods, prolonged boiling is required in order to burst the starch granules. The stomach can do very little with uncooked, starchy food. There are now many half-cooked cereal preparations in the market which do not require such prolonged cooking (see pp. 168, 183).

Oatmeal Cruel

1 tablespoonful fine oatmeal.

1/2 pint cold water.

Salt or sugar.

Put the oatmeal into a clean basin and pour the water over it. Cover the basin and let it stand for at least half an hour, stirring accasionally, then straining the liquid oft" into a small clean saucepan, pressing the oatmeal as dry as possible. Stir the strained liquid over the fire until boiling, and let it boil from fifteen to twenty minutes. The thickness of the gruel is very much a matter of taste; if too thick add more water, or if too thin use more oatmeal. Season with salt or sugar. The addition of a little cream is a great advantage, improving the taste and increasing the nutritive value.

Milk Gruel

1 tablespoonful fine oatmeal.

1/2 pint milk.

Salt or sugar.

Made in the same way as last recipe, except that milk is used instead of water.

Malted Gruel

This gruel may be made of any of the farinaceous substances - Quaker oats, Farina, arrowroot, barley, or lentil flour. Make in the same way as oatmeal gruel. When cold enough to swallow, add the malt infusion or an extract of malt; about I tablespoonful of the infusion or a teaspoonful of the extract is sufficient to digest a plateful of gruel. The action is very rapid, and in a few moments the gruel becomes thin From the transformation of the starch into maltose.

Barley-Meal Gruel

1 dessertspoonful barley-meal. 1/2 pint milk.

A small piece of butter. Sugar or salt.

Mix the milk very gradually with the meal, stirring until quite smooth. Take a small lined saucepan, and after rinsing with cold water, pour the barley and milk into it. Stir constantly over the fire until boiling, let it boil ten minutes, season, and serve very hot.

Port Wine Gruel

Make a gruel with oatmeal or barley-meal and water, then thin it down with a glass of port wine; heat thoroughly, but do not boil again.


Beat up an egg to a froth, add a glass of sherry and half a pint of hot gruel; flavour with lemon peel, nutmeg, and sugar.

Water Arrowroot Or Cornflour

1/2 ounce arrowroot or cornflour. 1/2 pint cold water.

I teaspoonful of sugar. Seasoning, either nutmeg, sherry, or brandy.

Put the arrowroot into a small basin, add to it a tablespoonful of cold water, break it with a wooden spoon until quite smooth. Then pour on the rest of the water, mix well, and pour into a small lined saucepan. Stir this over the fire until it boils and thickens, then let it boil for ten minutes to thoroughly cook the arrowroot. Sweeten to taste, and serve in a cup or small basin. A little nutmeg may be grated on the top, and wine or cream added if desired.

Milk Arrowroot Or Milk Cornflour

1/2 ounce arrowroot or cornflour.

1/2 pint milk.

1/2 teaspoonful of sugar.

Make as above, using milk instead of water.

Water Sago Or Tapioca

1/2 ounce sago or tapioca. 3/4 pint cold water.

Sugar, brandy, or fruit juice to taste.

Place the sago and water into an enamelled saucepan, and boil gently for an hour and a quarter, adding a little water to make up for evaporation. Skim when it comes to the boil, and stir frequently. Sweeten to taste; this may be flavoured with brandy or sherry, or may have added to it a puree of prunes with a glass of claret, or stewed apples with a few cloves.