Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taste of childhood

So, growing up, our mom tricked us into thinking certain foods were treats that do not really qualify as such to most of the world. I remember thinking that a dish of home-grown alfalfa sprouts with some tomato juice poured on top was the bees knees. Hold on to your hats if we had some ranch dressing in the house - woah! That was amazing on sprouts! A bowl of frozen blueberries with a little sugar and cream (skimmed off the top of the gallon of milk that came straight from the farm) poured on top could be mashed up with a spoon to resemble ice cream(ish). And a personal favorite of mine was a glass of V-8 juice with a spoonful of brewer's yeast stirred in. What is brewer's yeast, anyway, Mom? I just know it came from the co-op store and was supposed to be good for you. I have no idea.
Anyway, I decided to make another childhood favorite for dinner tonight - buckwheat groats. It's a rather unfortunate name. I'm sort of thinking of re-branding them as just "cooked buckwheat." The "groats" moniker isn't doing them any favors in the PR department in my house.

I just love groats - excuse me, cooked buckwheat. They are a great comfort food, in my book, and they're good for you as they are a whole grain, and they are so good with butter and salt. However, my dear husband is heavily (heavily!) opposed to this seemingly innocuous little grain, mostly because of their smell when they are cooking. I love the smell - I think it's a wonderful, nutty aroma, but Curtis feels strongly that it is more akin to wet dog. So, it's a bit of a difference of opinion.

The kids were sort of divided on the issue. Dexter had two bowls (well...maybe one - a lot ended up on the floor) and Betty had a LOT. Kathryn and Viv ate most of what was in their bowls with only a minimal amount of threatening from me. At one point, I explained to Kathryn that they were "super good for you" to which she replied that she was "super not a fan of groats."

She also made a big show of calling them groats in a way that it was clear she was communicating "gross" instead of "groats" without actually switching the words. Grrrr.

So, blah. Maybe I'll just cook groats when no one else is around. Or maybe I'll have to figure out how my mom tricked us into liking weird healthy foods and give it another shot with my family.

If anyone cares, here's how we cook buckwheat (groats).

1 cup toasted buckwheat (available at health food stores)
1 egg
2 cups water
Mix the egg into the buckwheat in a bowl. In a pot or saucepan, heat a little oil (1 or 2 teaspoons?) on medium-high heat. Dump the buckwheat-egg mixture into the pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. The idea is to get the egg cooked and have all the individual grains separated and sort of dry, like this.

Add 2 cups water, reduce heat to low and simmer with a tight-fitting lid, like rice, for about 20 minutes or so, until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, add butter and salt, and send your husband out of the house if he can't stand the smell. Mmmmmm....


Libby said...

You've nailed it, Abbey! Groats are fabulous, and perhaps we could make it a "litmus test" for inclusion into the inner Casas Circle :-) And, you know, I didn't even think of what I made for you kids as "health food". It was just good food that was cheap and easy and you all loved it (well, maybe some did not--I just can't remember now if somebody did or didn't like groats, sprouts, etc.). And brewer's yeast is full of B vitamins; that's why I would put it in the V-8 juice. It gave me energy when I was exhausted, which was much of the time "back in the day".

Gwennie said...

I LOVE GROATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe its a male inlaw thing because Matt is not a fan of the groat either :( But his KIDS are...haaaaaa. I had not thought about sprouts and tomatoe juice or brewers yeast in forever...thnks for the trip down memory lane..I think the key to getting the kids to like groats is start them early..before they are infulenced by the males in thier lives :)