When I made barley for the first time I couldn’t stop eating it. I kept going back to the big pot and ate it all day long. About 4 p.m. I began to feel sick and disoriented. My mouth tasted like lead but I continued eating the barley. Something in my mouth, my saliva, my salivary glands, my right brain or my left brain steered me to the pot, put a spoon in my hand and put more barley in my mouth. I was like the Manchurian Candidate but with barley.
As I do with most grains, I had bypassed the recipe on the package and substituted lemon juice for some of the water and added salt and butter so it was like the best thing I had tasted in a long time. Not that it mattered. I was cramming the barley into my mouth so fast and chewing it so carelessly that it could have been flavored with roadside oil slick. I wasn’t really tasting it.
I never made barley again. When I passed the barley in the store I shivered and soon after I was gratified to learn that barley was full of the devil gluten anyway so there was no need to long for it.
Last week I received A five pound bag of quinoa. What the heck was I going to do with five pounds of a grain that was already annoyingly overpronounced (like Alex Trebek upchucking his tonsils to say Nicaragua) so that you had to Crazy Glue your hands to your pants to keep from slapping someone. One day I had nothing to eat in the house (it happens) and I made some of the quinoa. In my usual maverick style, I made it with lemon juice and water plus butter and red pepper flakes. Do I need to tell you what happened? Do you know that song Sugartime by Johnny Cash? Quinoa in the morning, quinoa in the evening, quinoa at suppertime. Be my little quinoa fix and I’ll love you all the time.