A Mindful Bowl of Buckwheat Groats

photo-25For breakfast, I usually have an egg, kraut, and a cup of fruit on top of arugula liberally doused with olive oil and dusted with pecan pieces.  Preparing breakfast means dashing to the garden for cilantro for the eggs, basil or marjoram for the salad, and whatever berries the birds haven’t eaten

Every now and then, I’ll prepare a bowl of raw buckwheat groats–maybe because I need something quick or different–mostly because I’m in the mood for something mindful.

It begins the night before.  Before bedtime, I’ll pour a cup of hulled buckwheat groats into a 32 oz jar of water.  Whenever I pass through the kitchen, I’ll shake the jar, upend it, watch the water and groats swirl.  The groats expand overnight, and the water turns a milky mauve color.  Buckwheat comes from the rhubarb family, gluten free for those who watch that sort of thing.

In the morning, I dump the water and groats through a strainer, and rinse the buckwheat several times, my hand feathering through the running water and groats as if it’s coarse sand beneath a churning wave.

I spoon the drained groats into the Magic Bullet and add enough Pacific Hazelnut milk to cover the buckwheat and a tablespoon of lemon infused local olive oil.  My porridge is also dairy free, for those who watch that too.

I add a spoonful of honey, making it not entirely vegan.  I buy honey at the Farmer’s Market, where the keepers will describe at length where the hives are kept and how the bees are treated.  Cactus honey is my favorite but rarely available.  Buckwheat or avocado honey are fair substitutes.

Lately I’ve dropped in a few basil leaves.  I like the subtle green taste it brings.

cardamomI then add a small teaspoon of cardamom.  It’s my favorite spice.  I’ve seen the Cardamom mountains in Cambodia but never found cardamom during visits there.  Pepper, yes, but no cardamom.  The mountains were the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge and still have working ruby and sapphire mines, 15th-17th century burial jars and log caskets on rock ledges, the Indochinese tiger, the Malayan Sun Bear, Banteng cattle, and Asian elephants.  The cardamom in my spice cabinet comes from Guatemala, and I use a teeny wooden spoon (shown here) carved in the Arts & Craft style to measure it.

I pulse the mixture 24 times, but not in an obsessive compulsive way.  After experimenting with a dozen bowls of raw buckwheat groats, I’ve found 24 pulses produces the optimally smooth texture of porridge I prefer.

It flows into the bowl.  I add whatever seasonal fruit I have on hand (peaches, berries, figs, mango, jackfruit, bananas, apricots, fuyu persimmons, dried cherries, cranberries, raisins), raw nuts (walnuts, pecans, cashews, pistachios, almonds), and seeds (pine nuts, sesame, pepitas, chia). I use a large wooden spoon to delicately fold the fruit, nuts, and seeds into the porridge.  The spoon handle is charred at the end where I left it too close to a burner, but I’ll never discard it because I like the way it feels in my hand.

I eat the porridge slowly, the tastes complex and cool, every spoonful variable.  It’s not uncommon for me to eat meals before the television but never with a bowl of raw buckwheat groats.  Instead I stare out the window, watching the hummingbirds among the morning glories, thinking about the day that sprawls before me.

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About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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6 Responses to A Mindful Bowl of Buckwheat Groats

  1. Hey Michelle, this sounds interesting. We’ve been eating Buckwheat pancakes and I like the different lightness and texture that buckwheat has. This sounds interesting, may have to try it 🙂

  2. mlknowlden says:

    Hi Christine: It’s not an everyday breakfast for me. It’s very HEALTHY and you will really need the raw nuts and seeds for energy. Still it makes me feel good that I’m doing something good for my body and for the planet. I like buckwheat pancakes too. So great to hear from you. Thank you for the comment!

  3. Rebecca Lang says:

    Preparing the groats has an almost ritualistic feel, as you contemplate where ingredients come from. Is that what makes it mindful?

  4. mlknowlden says:

    Thanks, Rebecca, for the question! It’s probably a new concept for many. I heard Jane Goodall speak about mindful eating about six years ago at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Her book (Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating) came out at that time, and made me more conscious of choosing food that honored my body and the planet. I don’t always choose wisely, but preparing this porridge takes me out of the ritual of eating food off the shelf because it’s quick and into something more deliberate and meditative and with gratitude to God and farmers. That probably doesn’t describe it as Jane would, but that’s my definition!

  5. dayya says:

    Loved this–the way you prepare it and the meditative sensibility it has. d:)

  6. Pingback: Touring Five Breakfasts | Michelle Knowlden writes…

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