Minoo had selected a theme of grains to introduce to the community kitchens. She brought a variety of grains to the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen to share with us.
We learned that we can incorporate various grains in our diet beside the staple rice or oats that we are familiar with. We can add grains into our soup, stew or salad.
Here is an article which Minoo shared with us:
Grains are the mainstay of human sustenance. About half the world’s arable land is devoted to the cultivation of grains in some form or other, and 80% of the calories that human consume come from grains. Civilization as we know came into being as we transformed from wandering hunter-gatherers into farmers with secure and stable communities nourished by the fruits of our labours.
Grains are amazing plants, developed from weed like plants, grasses actually, that were able to spring up from any odd patch of ground on which a seed happens to fall. Among their many characteristics that make them so valuable is spacing, they take up little room, sending up stems topped by crowded spikes of nutrition packed seed kernels. They mature in just a few months and all of the seeds ripen simultaneously. They are easily prepared for cooking, even with primitive tools. Best of all, grains are often dry enough when fully ripe or after a brief parching in the sun to be stored without going moldy, so a good harvest ensures a year long supply of food.
There are many types of grains that lend themselves to culinary purposes. Wheat, barley, rye, triticale, oats, corn and rice are the most common but there are many others. Ancient grains like kamut, spelt and faro are becoming more popular. Millet is another grain that though it is most often associated with bird seed here in North America is gaining acceptance. It is used throughout Africa and Northern Asia because it is drought tolerant and will grow in almost any soil conditions. There are also many pseudocereals crops we treat like grains but are actually not grains at all. Quinoa is one of the most popular pf these. An ancient seed crop from South America that was highly valued by the Inca and was almost lost to us when the Spanish tried to ban its use in the Inca’s religious ceremonies. Amaranth is another of these seed crops as re teff from Africa and buckwheat, most common in Eastern Europe.
A few Quinoa recipes that had been featured in the community kitchen are:
|Quinoa and Black Bean Salad||Quinoa Stuffed Peppers|
|Wilted Spinach Salad with Quinoa, Grapes and Tomatoes||Quinoa Salad with Mango and Black Beans|
Grains are packed with nutrition in their whole or natural form after the inedible hull is removed. They are high in protein, most average about 10 – 12% content but lack one essential amino acid. This can be remedied by eating grains with legumes like peas, beans and lentils which have the amino acid missing in grain but lack one that grains have. Many cultures have mainstay dishes that combine the two staples such as red beans and rice. The pseudocereals on the other hand, like quinoa and amaranth, have nutritionally complete proteins and at much higher levels than true grains, approximately 15 – 18%
Here are a couple blog posts which involved a combination of grains and legumes to make a complete protein meal featured in the community kitchen: