Have you ever wondered, “what the Dickens is gruel?”
Hey, me too! There was a day a long time ago when I would spend hours of my day lost in a good book. I haven’t been reading as much recently but I hope to get back into it soon. I really enjoy reading the classics, (#MajorAustenFan) and what’s a bigger classic than A Christmas Carol? I mean there are like fifty bazillion film adaptions of it.
I heard somewhere once that it’s the most adapted-into-film book ever written. I’m not sure how true that statement is but I’d put my money on it being pretty close to fact. I know I’ve seen a ton of different versions, Barbie’s even got a version. And yet somehow it never seems to get old, what’s up with that?
But back to when I used to be a reader, one of the things that I remember a lot for some odd reason, are the parts of A Christmas Carol where it talks about Scrooge and his nightly bowl of gruel. So what is gruel? If you imagine it to be a bland and sloppy bowl of hot, wet grains then you’re not far off. I was looking at some history articles about it and apparently it was a way the poor could make a small amount of grain go further to feed more people. Like in Oliver Twist, how that’s what they did for feeding orphans. It’s like porridge, but much thinner. The gruel kind of adds into Dicken’s character of Scrooge and how he was so stingy that he himself resorted to eating gruel to save money. No wonder he was so cranky.
When I was reading the story, I’m sure I knew that was the case about gruel, but I still liked to imagine that even mean old Scrooge was enjoying a warm bowl of yummy, sweet porridge like my mom used to make me. Whenever I heard the word porridge or gruel that’s where my mind went. She used to make the most delicious rice pudding with cream, cinnamon, and sugar. Oh my goodness, it was one of my favorites when I was little! So, even though this is far from what Scrooge would have allowed his miserly self, I figured you guys would thank me for not posting an authentic recipe for watered down, flavorless gruel. You’re welcome.
And while we’re on the subject, can I take just a second to say how confusing the whole “pudding” world is. I mean it’s a very loose term, don’t you think? The Brits seem to think it’s a cake while the Americans say it’s a creamy custard. I’m confused. A huge part of this confusion is that I have another recipe to share before Christmas for “pudding” but it’s nothing like this. Ha, living in Chile has made me look at culture differences in a whole new light. Sometimes you just have to laugh off the absurdities or you’ll lose your mind in frustration.
Anyway, this was the last recipe I decided on for my week of recipes inspired by Christmas movies. I had a few other movies that I really wanted to do but each of said ideas had problems like me not having enough time to finish it or not having the right ingredients. I guess all of those ideas will have to wait until next year but I’m pretty happy with my decision. This rice pudding is so good and yet it’s secretly really healthy. I made this version vegan so that means no dairy or eggs, and it’s naturally gluten-free. Added bonus, it’s refined sugar free, Yay!
I think need to snuggle by a warm fire and enjoy a warm bowl of this tonight while watching your favorite version of the Christmas Carol. It also makes a really good breakfast on a chilly morning!
I’m also thinking it would have been a whole lot easier for those three spirits to just switch out Scrooge’s gruel for some of this and he would have immediately turned his”Bah Humbug”s into”God bless us, every one!”s. Although, then there wouldn’t be a story to redo over and over.
Maple Almond Brown Rice Pudding (Vegan)
Oats are always a great way to start the day, but what about some warm and creamy rice? This rice pudding, inspired by Dicken's 'A Christmas Carol', is like the ultimate in cozy comfort foods.
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- almonds and raisins for serving optional
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and rinse brown rice in a strainer under cold water. Once boiling, stir in brown rice and salt. Turn heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 30 minutes, Add the almond milk, coconut milk, cinnamon, and ginger. Turn heat to medium and simmer, stirring often until mixture has thickened. Add honey and vanilla and serve warm topped with almonds and raisins (or whatever toppings you prefer).