We take wheat for granted because it’s so readily available in so many forms here in England. Bread, pasta, cereals and so many more.
When I was about eight years old, I went to India for the first time with my father. It was a shock to see that so many of the basics I took for granted were not readily available. We had to go and fetch water for washing from the pump in the backyard. The water was then boiled for washing with and the rest set aside for cooking and drinking later in the day. There was no fridge in our family home so we had to walk to the market every day to get fresh vegetables and fruit for meals. There were no dustbins – food waste went out into the street for the cows.
The most intriguing ritual of all though was my grandmother grinding wheat grain to make flour. She sat cross legged behind two huge round, flattened discs made of stone. They were connected in the middle by a rod. The top disc had a small hole into which she poured the grain and a handle sticking upwards like a ‘gear stick’. She rotated the top disc over the bottom disc using the ‘gear stick’ and the grains were crushed in between. A soft white and brown speckled powder came out of the sides. Flour. So simple.
I think that was the first time I appreciated food. Appreciated the work that goes into making food.
My mother keeps EVERYTHING. Tiny little balls of leftover chappatti dough. A few spoons of oil in a bowl if she’s dropped too much into a pan. A cupful of uneaten rice. It drives me mad when she comes over to our house and there are these little bowls of ingredients cluttering up my sleek cooker! But then I reflect back to the picture of my grandmother labouring over that flour grinder and get an all important reality check.
Anyway..here are some simple recipes using wheat. Don’t forget to use every little bit of dough!
Recipes with wheat