We are, happily, in the midst of a whole grain renaissance.
But we also know that people who are still awakening to whole grains
need great recipes, derived from tradition yet re-imagined for the
contemporary palate. Thanks to Maria Speck we now have such a book.
— Peter Reinhart, author of Whole Grain Breads and Artisan Breads Everyday
Many of us are most familiar with grains such as barley, corn, oats, rice and wheat, yet there is a stunning variety of other grains that are very much worth exploring. High in fiber and rich in mineral content, tasty whole grains are a wonderful addition to almost any meal.
Interested in learning new ways to include Old World staples such as farro, amaranth, polenta, kamut, and wheat berries into my family’s diet, I bought a copy of Maria Speck’s fabulous cookbook, Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. I was first introduced to the book while listening to a public radio program about healthful eating in which Ms. Speck was a guest. In a very personal and approachable way, she spoke of her love of whole grains and how she eats them not simply for their health benefits, but also because of their luxurious qualities: lively textures, vivid colors and rich flavors. Her passion for ancient grains was palpable and immediately I knew I wanted a copy of her book.
In this beautiful cookbook, Ms. Speck combines her mother’s Mediterranean cuisine with northern European traditions for preparing whole grain foods and reveals how versatile, delicious and elegant whole grains can be. As soon as I opened it, I wanted to cook. I have enjoyed so many things—lovely photography; adaptable and flavorful recipes; wonderful stories about her Greek and German family; tools, equipment and suggestions for cooking and baking with whole grains; and more. It has been a valuable resource in my kitchen so I’m delighted that Ms. Speck has been kind enough to offer one free copy to a Petit World Citizen reader. If you would like to win a copy of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, please leave a comment with your name below. As per the author’s request, only residents of the U.S. and Canada are eligible to win. The giveaway will close on Sunday, April 27th at 10pm EST. The winner will be randomly chosen next week.
Below are a few dishes I made that are from and/or inspired by the book, with links to the recipes.
Maria Speck grew up in Greece and Germany before moving to the U.S. as a young adult. She is a writer and journalist and holds popular cooking classes in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information about Ms. Speck, visit her blog and website, mariaspeck.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @MariaSpeck. On Facebook, visit and Like her Ancient Grains page.