I’m one of those people who wants to like quinoa more than I do. I suspect a lot of it is that I haven’t prepared it in any special way or done anything fabulous with it — mixing it into oatmeal is about as glamorous as I’ve gotten. (It’s quite good in oatmeal, for the record.) In the meanwhile, I haven’t given up yet because it’s good for you and all that stuff. I collect quinoa recipes in the hope of finding one that will change my mind on the wonder-grain. (I know, it’s not a grain.)

In the meanwhile, I am working my way through the rest of the seed and grain family. Rice is rice and I am exceedingly fond of it, even if I cannot figure out how to make rice pudding properly. (I would like to figure that out so that I can figure out how to make my mom’s version, which I do not really remember but my father does.) I have experimented with wheat berries and barley both hulled and pearled, although there’s much more to work with for the latter. And now comes millet.

Millet-eaters are apparently considered a little hardcore; I was standing in the dried-stuff aisle at Fairway holding the above package and a woman started asking me about bulgur, presumably on the theory that if I ate one weird grain, I’d know about the others. Her questions were pretty basic, thankfully, as she seemed to be confusing bulgur and hominy.

Millet is, well, bird food. And people food, but not in these parts too much. Which is a shame, since it’s actually quite tasty. It’s like a nuttier, more interesting couscous. It reminded me a little of kasha, I think, although it’s been years since I last had kasha.

The basic preparation is easy, but a little time-intensive; it takes twice as long as rice and that’s the shortcutted version. You clean and rinse the millet, then toast it until it starts to smell nice, then simmer it in salty water for half an hour. And what you end up with is this:

Which might look like cookie dough because of my photography, but it’s really couscousy. It worked fabulously as a base for the lentils and veggies in the previous post, not to mention a couple of lunches. All from a cup of the dried millet.

I foresee working millet into the menu more often, although perhaps not on weeknights as often.


One thought on “birdseed

  1. I too, have experimented with quinoa, millet, and sundry other grains. They’re all over-rated. Some taste like soap, others like rancid olive oil. Quinoa has slightly more protein than wheat, but so what?Wheat has plenty of protein, moreover, we live in a culture that consumes far too much meat. Wheat, barley, oats, rice, and buckwheat (strictly speaking, not a grain), taste good, and are nutritionally sound. Millet has been known for millennia, there’s a reason it’s not popular.

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