Cookbook Review: Good to the Grain

This is the first in a series of cookbook reviews that might help you find different ways to use up your CSA fruits and veggies.  Why cookbooks? After all, there are tons and tons of food blogs out there with thousands of fabulous recipes. However, as any good librarian will tell you, there are still some things you can’t find on the internet and there are some really cool cookbooks being published with recipes that are not on the web.

Another cool thing about cookbooks is that you can easily get them from the Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries. If you find something you want to take a look at, you can go online and have it sent to your local branch.  I quickly become bored with cookbooks and I don’t have a lot of space in my kitchen, so I pretty much have a constant rotation of them in my house and there’s always one on the hold shelf for me at my local branch. It’s one of the best things about living near an amazingly fabulous library system. And with that said, I’d love to share with you one of the best cookbooks I’ve checked out of the library in recent months:

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours

by Kimberly Boyce with Amy Scattergood

Photographs by Quentin Bacon

Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation Award for Baking and Dessert

Barley Crepes made with Broken Stove's Madison Street Ale, served with Apple Butter made last winter from CSA apples

To be fair, this might not be the best book for using up all your CSA fruits and veggies, but if nothing else you can at least end a veggie-filled meal with one of the gorgeous desserts featured in this book.  It does include a section on jams and compotes- perfect for those of you with orchard or berry shares. Even if you don’t have a fruit share, you should consider checking this book out for the photographs alone- it’s chock full of gorgeous images of different breads and desserts. Each chapter is organized by grain-type, which makes it fun to browse through and once you find one of the grains at a grocery store, you can try to work your way through an entire chapter. Yay!

Strawberry Barley Scones made with strawberries from Greig Farm

The trickiest thing about this book is trying to find some of the ingredients listed. I recommend Key Food which is where I found the biggest variety of whole grain flours, although I have yet to see teff flour at any grocery store in the city. I thought I would have more luck at some of the natural grocery stores in my neighborhood, but it actually took me about 6 trips to various health food stores before I happened to be in a Key Food and stumble upon their vast flour section. Both the Montague Street and 5th Avenue locations had a huge selection of whole grain flours.

Although I had to return this to the library, I’m already on the hold list to check it out again. Take a look some of these recipes featured in the book that might be fun for using up csa fruits and veggies in the future:

  • quinoa and beet pancakes
  • pear and buckwheat pancakes
  • carrot spelt muffins
  • blue cheese and onion scones
  • zucchini rye bread
Beet and Quinoa Pancakes- an unusual way to use up those beets!

Rachael Ricker is a school librarian and reviews young adult literature for School Library Journal.  She is a member of the “No Bok Choy!” share.  Follow her cookbook reviews and other reviews at:

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