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

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

Abra Berens. Chronicle, $35 (464p) ISBN 978-1-797-20713-1

In this highly informative work, chef Berens (Ruffage) showcases the potential of cooking with grains and legumes. “The perception of whole grains seems to still be of leaden health food, endless cooking times, and cud-like chewing,” writes Berens. She debunks this misconception with more than 140 recipes that celebrate the “underappreciated staples... in their unprocessed (and often savory) state.” After guiding readers through “some things to know”—including how to mitigate “swings in gas”—she begins with a chapter of condiments, featuring vinaigrettes, pickles, and sauces such as lemon tahini or garam masala yogurt. In a hearty section on legumes, the bean family is outlined alongside helpful grids and flavor formulas that show cooks how to build versatile and vibrant dishes such as stewed Cannellini beans with saffron sofrito, or how to enjoy “a week’s worth of black beans without any boredom.” Grains get their due in a number of imaginative recipes, including gnocchi made from oats, barley doughnuts, and stewed frekkeh (a cracked wheat similar to bulgur). Woven throughout are essays and farmer interviews that present a strong case for increasing the role of grains and legumes in the global food system. The result is a definitive guide rich with flavor and inspiration. Agent: Kari Stuart, ICM Partners. (Oct.)