Cover of the cookbook Mother Grains, leaning on red vase with dried flowers

Whole Grain Sampling Day, coming up on March 31, is a celebration of the small — but by no means insignificant — decision to eat more whole grains. Whether it’s trying that grain you’ve always been curious about, cooking up some brown rice instead of couscous or adding a bit of whole grain flour into a weekend baking project, we at the Oldways Whole Grain Council believe that every little bit counts! It is why we created the Whole Grain Stamp — to support this incremental growth towards making more of your grains, whole grains. So, whether you’re eating whole grains morning, noon and night, or just starting to substitute whole grains where you can, there is always a place for you at the whole grain table.

Hand pinching whole grain sorghum flour over wood surface with dried flours in the background

Roxana Jullapat — baker and co-owner of Friends & Family bakery in Los Angeles and author of the new whole grain cookbook Mother Grains – Recipes for the Grain Revolution — speaks our language.  Jullapat not only clears a space for you at the whole grain table, she makes it irresistible not to take a seat.

Mother Grains is full of exciting flavor pairings like brown butter and barley, blueberries and blue cornmeal, and buckwheat and tangelo. Of course, there are complex recipes in this book, serving as tantalizing goals for any level of home baker — like Everything Rye Bagels, or Halvah Croissants – but for those more unfamiliar with using whole grains in the kitchen, a quick flip through Mother Grains dispels any hesitation to start. Familiar recipes like blueberry muffins and peanut butter cookies abound, with equally familiar and simple ingredients —elevated with the flavor of whole grains. Sweet sorghum flour sings next to nutty peanut butter, improving on the classic peanut butter cookie, and the malty notes of barley flour adds a wonderful depth to pumpkin bread. Refined flour is still found in some recipes, but is present only as scaffolding to ensure a recipe behaves in a way we are familiar with, helping to ease our introduction to baking with whole grains. In Jullapat’s world, refined flour only has a rotating role in the supporting cast, helping to create a stage for the dynamic flavors of different whole grains to truly sing.

Mother Grains is a beautiful ode to not only to the amazing flavors baking with whole grains can yield, but to the growing local grain economies that are increasing access to whole grains and whole grain flours. Roxana’s own whole grain journey was sparked by and spurred forward by such a community of millers, farmers, and curious consumers. In an exhibit of the extreme thoughtfulness shown throughout the book, Mother Grains focuses on eight grains, chosen specifically with this spirit of access and local diversity and sustainability in mind. Jullapat’s ‘Mother Grains’ are barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, rice, rye, sorghum and wheat. All grown domestically in the US and widely available, American growers excel at growing these grains, and demand for them can help diversify our local food landscapes. Each grain is given a chapter, and each chapter begins with a brief look into the cultural significance and history of that grain. Taking the time to introduce each grain centers the home cook in appreciation of the grain itself before it is even used in the recipes to follow.

one Blueberry muffin cut in half, with the rest of the batch in the background

Mother Grains shows us that using whole grains in your kitchen isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s about remembering what an amazing invention the wheel was in the first place. Using whole grain, complete with all three of its original components, reminds us of the flavor, texture, and nutrition we miss out on when grains and flours are no longer the sum of their parts. Whole grains can add flavor, diversity and sustainability – to our baked goods and our local communities. So whether it’s on March 31, or any other day of the year, remember that there is always space for you at the whole grain table!

Celebrating Whole Grain Sampling Day on March 31? Remember to use the hashtag #SampleWholeGrains so we can celebrate with you! Let us know how you are celebrating below. For us, we’ll be in the kitchen, continuing to work our way through Mother Grains! (Abby)

Roxana Jullapat can be found @roxanajullapat. Mother Grains will be available on April 20.



diana thompson
love me some whole grain oats and the rest of the family
I've spent the last few years on a food journey, learning about whole foods, healthier options. Sadly, I grew up in a home where almost no healthy options were ever available, to this day, my mother has no idea what most of these products are, on my journey it has literally been a whole new set of ideas and products. As a kid who grew up on Campbell's soup, Chef Boy-ar-dee and Fruit Loops and cooked meals were strictly meat & potatoes, southern deep fried and laden with fat, salt, sugar, it has been eye opening to say the least to find out all these things that people eat right here in America. I wish that our government would make nutrition and health a priority for Americans and more importantly, students so children would learn before they're grown up with health issues.

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