In a letter to her half-brother Charles Sneyd Edgeworth, she wrote: "There was no story in it, except that Miss Emma found that the man whom she designed for Harriet's lover was an admirer of her own & he was affronted at being refused by Emma & Harriet wore the willow and "smooth, thin, water-gruel" is according to Emma's father's opinion a very good thing & it is very difficult to make a cook understand what you mean by "smooth thin water gruel
"!!" The story of the spoiled young woman who fancies herself as a matchmaker has been adapted for film and television several times with actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale in the title role.
On the basis of Pereira's figures, using a recipe for water gruel
taken from a 17th-century English cook book, the authors calculate Oliver would have had around three pints (1.76 litres) of gruel per day, comprising 3.75 ounces (106 grammes) of top-quality oatmeal from Berwick, Scotland.