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Grain of Salt (or Something)

I’ve been reading through a book I picked up at the Arizona Families for Home Education annual convention a few weeks ago—The Backyard Homestead, by Carleen Madigan (Storey Publishing)—and a passage I read this morning gave me some encouragement after my not-so-successful experiment on Monday with sprouted-spelt bread. Thought I’d share it here:

“Here’s a final suggestion on how to incorporate grains into the diets of people who still think oats grow in little Os and corn and wheat grow in squares inside red-checked boxes. Do it the same way you’d approach a big black bear—very carefully. Most of us hate to admit it, but we resist change. Probably this statement includes even you. A person accustomed to food that’s bland to the taste and effortless to chew is not going to gobble up his first slice of sprouted wheat bread shouting, ‘Goody, goody.’ More likely, he’s going to feed it to the dog and head for the neighbor’s in search of a Twinkie. And if, after reading this chapter, you get all hopped up, run out, and buy eight different grains and serve them all for supper tonight, your neighbor is probably going to get your whole family.”

“The way to do it is to create as little anxiety as possible. Nobody should feel that he or she must like anything. All the familiar old favorites shouldn’t be replaced suddenly with strange casseroles and dark breads. And no one, especially children, should fear that if they don’t like the wheat soup, they’ll get no supper at all. Instead, include a whole-grain dish along with the food you usually serve, with as little fanfare as possible. If somebody doesn’t like it, refrain from commenting. And never scream, “How come nobody in this house ever want to eat anything but hot dogs and vanilla ice cream?”

“Don’t get preachy about nutrition. But don’t give up, either. Continue to include whole grains in each meal, beginning with the more familiar ones like corn and rice. . . . Save the less familiar grains such as millet and whole cooked rye for later. When you come up with something you like especially well yourself or something that seems to appeal to others, make it again. The change won’t come quickly, but in time the people you cook for will come to enjoy and often prefer whole grains.”

Hmm. I don’t know Carleen Madigan, but I think she’s been secretly having dinner at my house. And, Carleen, if you’re reading this, thanks. I needed that.

Incidentally, this book is a lot of fun for folks like me who dream of turning their urban landscaping into a mini farm. Coverlines include:

“Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!”
“Eat from the garden year-round with fresh veggies and homemade preserves”
“Make omelets from eggs laid by your own chickens”
“Pick fruits and berries from your back door”
“Learn how to milk a goat, prune a fruit tree, dry herbs, make dandelion wine, bake whole-grain breade, tap a maple tree, make fresh mozzarella, brew beer, mill grains for flour, save seed for next season, and a whole lot more”

Sounds good to me!

Please note: It is my goal to provide a top-quality, content-driven, ad-free blog. That said, I do occasionally include affiliate links in some of my posts. For example, if you click on the book cover above, you will link to Amazon.com, where you will have an opportunity to purchase the book—and if you do buy it after clicking through from my site, I will receive a small commission to support my work here, as well as my own book-buying habit. :-) Seriously, though, I’d be just as happy if my recommendation inspired you to check out the title from your local library or borrow it from a friend.

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1 Tawnya Hood { 08.06.09 at 7:54 am }

Ditto that! If we were neighbors- we could have twice as much to eat :)!!

2 Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS { 08.07.09 at 3:49 pm }

I have this book – and I like it, too. I’m glad you’re finding it helpful and inspirational! So far, I’ve only referred to the goat milking/cheesemaking chapters. And I’ve read on the chickens, since that may be our next step.

3 Sonya Hemmings { 08.08.09 at 6:07 am }

Hi, Wardeh! We’d like to do chickens maybe next year, too. Love the plans in the book for the Poulet Chalet. 🙂 We’re definitely more urban than rural here, so we’ll have to make sure the neighbors are cool with us having a coop. Also, have to convince my kiddos not to make pets of the chickens, but to think of them as our breakfast suppliers and future dinners. 🙂

4 Carleen Madigan { 08.10.09 at 2:26 pm }

Hi, Sonya,
I AM reading this! : )
Thanks for the mention and glad you like the book.
Happy homesteading,

5 Sonya Hemmings { 08.11.09 at 3:54 am }

Hi, Carleen! Wow, thanks for the note! Did a sweet someone named Mary Velgos happen to point you my direction? 🙂 She and you both are welcome at my dinner table anytime you’re in Arizona. I just hope I happen to have something really healthy—and really tasty!—to serve. Thanks again for stopping by!

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