Tuesday, September 27, 2011
DO YOU EAT BUCKWHEAT?
It's hard to imagine something from a delicate plant like this could cook up into something like this:
But it does. The top photo is a buckwheat plant and the next photo is a buckwheat pancake, which looks like a very dirty pancake. Very strange, I say, but as for the latter I also say "very delicious."
I've eaten buckwheat pancakes all my life. My mother and I were particularly fond of them. I always assumed buckwheat was some kind of grain but that isn't so, Google says. Buckwheat is a broad-leafed plant native to northern Asia. The flowers may be white but the seeds, about the size of a soybean and from which buckwheat flour is made, are brown. The hulls are removed and what is left, called a "groat," is ground into flour.
Because I read that Aunt Jemima had discontinued their buckwheat pancake mix I decided I'd better snoop around a little to find out how I could make such pancakes if I got an overwhelming yen for them. Aunt Jemima did say that I could mix some buckwheat flour with their regular pancake mix and get the same effect. So it was in the hunting for this that I discovered a lot I didn't know.
Besides learning about the plant, I also came across another product that I'd never noticed (or even seen) before. It's a breakfast cereal called "Cream of Buckwheat." Thinking maybe I could use that for pancakes, I bought a box.
In reading the instructions, I noticed several ways to prepare it -- and one way used the word "GRITS." Now that particular word to me is like hearing "Ambrosia." I happen to think grits are a gift of the gods, so I knew that if I couldn't use it for pancakes, at least I could use it in place of grits.
Oh, gosh, did this turn out good! Beats Cream of Wheat by a longshot! Unfortunately, my local market was closing out the Cream of Buckwheat, so what to do? Now I needed a source for both Buckwheat flour and for the breakfast cereal.
I had an idea. Last Saturday we went to the little town of Loma Linda near San Bernardino -- the healthiest town in the US, I think. Clark's Nutritional Center has a large store there, and it's not an overstatement to say that they have EVERYTHING! We walked in the door, sashayed over to the "cereal aisle" and there not only did we find the Pocono Cream of Grits but also a new (to me) buckwheat pancake mix, which is how I was able to make that delicious pancake featured above. My lucky day for sure.
It's really good eatin' when things all come together.