Going with the Grain

This is an 10 week seminar that begins on September 27th, 2017.

Moderator:                Katy Van Geel
Co-moderator:         Nina Scott
Day and Time:         Wednesday 10:00AM – Noon
Format:                       Workshop
Location:                   Members’ homes


Most American diets exclude whole grains like amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, kamut, millet, quinoa, spelt, and teff. Our focus is learning about, cooking, and tasting ancient grains (those that have remained largely unchanged over the last several hundred years).

Our goal will be to learn about grains most of us don’t cook with very often. We’ll talk about definitions of ancient grains, whole grains, grains that aren’t grains, but rather seeds or berries or even weeds. We will learn about the history of grains, their origins, their nutrition values, their stories. We’ll discuss the forms each grain takes, and how to cook them. We will meet every week at a different host’s home, where each host will cook a grain from scratch with just water and a little salt, and then get creative and also cook an appetizer, soup, entree, side dish, or dessert. If the grain is available in flour form, we’ll make a dish that includes that flour. We will visit Whole Foods and perhaps the River Valley Co-op to learn about their bulk food departments. In short, we plan to have a delicious time together!

Role of participants:
Workshop members will take turns hosting at their homes. A host will choose one ancient grain, tells us about its history, nutritional value, and how to cook it from scratch. We anticipate a host providing a sample of the cooked grain to workshop members, and then to prepare an entree, side dish, or dessert that has the grain as an ingredient. NB: Our workshop will consist of only 8 people. For the sake of the cohesiveness of the group, please don’t sign up for our workshop if you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to attend all 10 of our meetings.

There is a wealth of information about ancient grains in books, magazines, and online. Here are a few I have used: Everyday Whole Grains: 175 New Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice, by Ann Taylor Pittman.

Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, et al by Maria Speck. Whole Grains Council website: wholegrainscouncil.org

About the Moderator:
Katy van Geel recently co-moderated with Nina Scott a workshop entitled “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die.” Nina has also moderated two other food seminars and presented in a third. She has taught food-and-culture courses at Amherst College. Last but not least, she has written many culinary articles for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Maximum number of participants: 8

Emeritus/a accepted: no