I know. You know. We all know. Whole grains are good for you. They lower your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and could probably solve the economic crisis if given the chance. They're full of antioxidants, which combat free radicals that otherwise roam the corridors of our body, wreaking havoc. But whole grains are also dense and heavy. They're hard for our refined-grain-fed systems to digest. And what the hell are quinoa and faro anyway? What do I do with that canister of untouched barley sitting in my kitchen pantry? For those of us who thought that learning to prepare whole grains was an insurmountable lifestyle change, Robin Asbell has gifted us with a cookbook designed to lead us gently into the earthy world of millet, bulgur, and rice without sacrificing flavor and variety. In The New Whole Grains Cookbook (Chronicle Books), recipes cover breakfast, breads, sides, mains, and soups, and even venture into desserts where healthy eaters might find a rice or buckwheat pudding to sate their craving for sweets. Enlivened with surprisingly colorful photos, Asbell's book might make a convert of even the biggest refined-grain lover.
Sun., Dec. 7, 5 p.m., 2008