Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes

Chronicle. Oct. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9781797207131. $35. COOKING
Berens has received James Beard award nominations for both her work as a chef at Michigan restaurant Granor Farm and for her 2019 cookbook Ruffage. Her latest employs a similar format and ethos to explore 29 grains, seeds, and legumes from around the world (among them, amaranth, fonio, quinoa, and cowpeas). Recipes are organized into three categories (grains, seeds, legumes), then by preparation method (boiling, pan-frying, milling, sprouting), and Berens shares dozens of tips for choosing, storing, and cooking these staples. Her more than 140 savory and sweet recipes elevate shelf-stable ingredients by adding fresh flavors, in dishes like accara (West African black-eyed pea fritters), corn porridge with mushroom cream, horchata, and barley doughnuts with marigold syrup, plus salads, soups, risottos, vegetable medleys, and breads. Each recipe features several variations, often driven by seasonal ingredients; there are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, and where meat is featured in a recipe it can easily be omitted.
VERDICT Berens demystifies grains, seeds, and legumes with her suggestions. An essential guide for home chefs looking to cook more than white rice and canned beans.
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