It’s weekend. I’ve been doing laundry and reading Svetlana Alexviech’s Voices from Chernobyl, which is devastating in the most ordinary way, which is often the most devastating way of all. Oral histories with a perspective that is mostly grounded in domesticity. I wish everything I read had that inflection.
This week we are eating lots of buckwheat. I’ve been reading Magnus Nillsen’s Fäviken, which is interesting in a conceptual way and not really meant for home cooking, but his recipe for wholegrain porridge, called Johny’s porridge in the book, felt like the right thing for us to try. You mix steel cut oats with a variety of other whole grains (in our case, buckwheat kernels, kamut flakes, spelt flakes) with a bunch of seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame), soak them overnight and cook the next morning, like you would do with a normal pot of oats. We’re still deciding how we feel about it – in the words of my mother-in-law, having this much fiber first thing in the morning makes you feel very virtuous, but at the same time it feels as if you’re Nils Holgersson, and I’m not sure that’s an experience I want every day.
But maybe my larger issue is the buckwheat kernels. They’re just too overpowering. I told J I think I prefer buckwheat flour, and he said, you mean white people’s buckwheat? Touchè. (By the way, if you’re wondering why the above photograph is more a showcase for braised cherries than it is for the porridge, that’s because making porridge look appetising in a photograph is an impossible task I have given up on. If you don’t believe me, look at this lovely collection of porridge photos and try not to kill yourself.)
Back to buckwheat. These are buckwheat crêpes. You have to make the batter the night before, and then allow it to reach room temperature before you start baking, so with all that schlep I advise baking up a bunch and then freezing them. They defrost really quickly, and you can briefly pop them in a dry pan to heat them up again. My afternoons are infinitely better when I know I can take a 4pm break for coffee and a Nutella crêpe.
2 thoughts on “buckwheat, two ways”
I eat rolled oats for breakfast most mornings. A deliciously sticky bowl of warming starch, and looks absolutely disgusting. On a side note: what do you think of How To Boil An Egg? I keep picking it up in bookstores, not quite knowing what to make of it.
I just finished Voices from Chernobyl – what an amazing book. Definitely one of the best I’ve read in a while. Also, I was disappointed by Nilsson’s Scandinavian Cooking. It feels very basic (and 70s). Perhaps I’m too harsh, but the bad translation and sloppy editing didn’t help. Unrelated though, I just got my first quinces of the season and I can’t wait to use them. Stewed quince with buckwheat crepes maybe…