Introduction: Gruel (Toasted Flour Water)
It was the end of the first week on my friend Alondra's farm in Chile, and we- she and my dad and I- had been working hard. It was a hot day, so we were all glad for the break when Alondra's mom brought out a tray: three cups, and a pitcher full of some cloudy liquid with some ice cubes floating in it. My father and I looked at it, unrecognizing, but Alondra smiled. "Agua con harina tostada!" Water with toasted flour.
As we sipped from our cups at the slightly sweet liquid, Alondra explained that it was a common country drink. "My grandparents," she told us, "would have a thicker version of this for breakfast."
I liked it, a sort of simple horchata. And I decided to try reinventing it, and the breakfast version, too. So I got out a pot, poured in some flour, and stirred over heat until the flour got a little clumpy and smelled cooked. Then I poured in some water and added honey, stirring until it was a nice paste.
It's pretty good as a breakfast. Kind of like Malt-O-Meal or similar cereal-based products. I prefer it over oatmeal. And you can flavor it any way you want- flour is already dry, but when you toast it, you dehydrate it further. It can suck up a surprising amount of liquid, and is really good with hot water, honey or agave nectar, and a bit of milk. It would definitely suck up any other flavor you poured on as well.
So there's your insanely cheap, surprisingly delicious breakfast (or, with a much higher water to flour ratio, drink).
Flour. Stirred on stovetop (constantly or it will burn!). And then added to liquid. As simple as it gets.
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