Archive for July, 2010

THE GRAINS COOKBOOK BY BERT GREENE

This was a food theme group similar to a previous group on food we had several years ago. however this time we took only one book as the guide for our cookery.
The Grains Cookbook by Bert Greene

the idea was that we each pick a recipe from the book, or some other grain based recipe, and bring along that dish (and a matching wine). we had riceballs, corn soup, quinoa salad and armenian chicken with bulghur

why grain you might say – well if you read jared diamond or other ecological and/or economic historians, the history of grains is the history of humanity, the course of civilisations, the basis of capitalism and the fate of the planet.

how so – well they make surplus production possible, this means people become sedentary, cities develop, division of labor occurs, followed by the beginning of trade, then fully blown markets, and ultimately environmental destruction, globalisation and the whole kit and kabooble. once we started eating grain – about 10,000 years ago in a few different places on earth, our feet were set on the path to where we are now – or so the story goes.

but not bert greene’s story. he does give details about each grain, where it comes from, and how to use it etc, but his story is personal. it talks about how he met each grain, how he cooked for his dad as a kid, what he remembered of each grain when he first encountered it as a kid or later.

this aspect of the book prompted conversation within the group about the role of food in our lives as we grew up. it had an impact on me because i had never thought of the role of food in my childhood. rather i had thought i’d come from an un-foodie family but his stories made me realise we did do a lot of food preparation – making butter, killing chooks, stewing fruit, making chutney etc – including in relation to grain, eating fresh corn on the cob straight off the plant when it was green.

so that was interesting to be prompted to re-imagine our respective family food histories, also the food was lovely, and the company was great. i think the grain thing made it a fairly low key, comforting kind of occasion. for example we were all worried our food would be a bit stodgy and untasty, but it was all great.

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July 10, 2010 at 7:15 am Leave a comment


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