Each week I get invited to do various food-related things in and around New York City. I’d love to go to all of them, but it’s just not possible. Recently Glenny Cameron, editorial assistant extraordinaire, went to a kamut event (yes, there is such a thing) and wrote the following dispatch. I love eating whole grains and inspiring others to, too. So I was happy to have her take on it as well as this breakfast cereal recipe. Dig in.

Recently, there has been an upsurge in chatter amongst foodies and non-foodies alike about ancient grains.  Ancient grains?  What makes them…old?

Basically, any “ancient grain” (the most common on supermarket shelves today are quinoa, amaranth, spelt, and kamut) is given that title because it has been around and unchanged for centuries.  Rice, corn, and some modern forms of wheat, on the other hand, have been specifically bred to accommodate contemporary palates.  These newer grains barely resemble their originals.  Check out The Los Angeles Times article on this subject for a more in-depth explanation.

There are claims that ancient grains are more healthful because of their high protein, fiber, and antioxidant contents.  Some celiacs, those with a gluten intolerance, find that eating these grains does not affect their allergy.  Sounds great, right?  So, when I was invited to an event featuring kamut, I was thrilled to learn more.

Fun facts:

-Kamut (pronounced kah-moot) is the brand, not the wheat, which is actually called khorasan.  Bob Quinn, who is the founder of Kamut International, wanted to assure the quality of the organic, heirloom grain, khorasan wheat, by branding it to let consumers know they were buying a GMO-free, unaltered product.

-There are many theories about the origin of khorasan wheat, but Quinn suggests that it was brought to Egypt by Greek and Roman armies.  In 1949, 36 kernels found their way to Montana. In 1977, Bob’s father, T. Mack Quinn, obtained half a pint.  All of the kamut in the country is now grown in Big Sandy, Montana.

-Kamut is a very versatile grain, which was proven to us invitees over the course of a food-filled evening.  From breakfast cereals, salads, and pastas to crackers, breads and cookies, we had our plates piled high with all things kamut.  And all things delicious!  Kamut has a lovely nutty taste and a dense, chewy texture.  Picture farro, but bigger.

-To find out more about kamut, and where to purchase various Kamut brand products, go to their website:

KAMUT Khorasan Wheat Berries

Here is one of the many recipes we were given in our over-stuffed goody bag.  I went home with my arms full and my appetite sated.  I am certainly a kamut convert, and I suggest you become one too.  Everyone needs more healthy grains in their lives, right?  Why not experiment and enjoy some ancient ones?

KAMUT Chai-Cinnamon Spiced Ancient Grain Cereal

1/2 cup Kamut khorasan wheat flakes

1/2 cup flaxseed

1/2 cup quinoa

1/2 cup steel cut oats

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

Note: start preparation the night prior to eating.  (It will make your morning routine so much easier!)

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Turn off heat.  Add all grains, ginger, pepper and salt.  Cover and let stand 2 hours or overnight.

In the morning, set pan over medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer until grains are tender, about 15 minutes (this will vary depending on soak time).

Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Divide cereal among 4 bowls and serve with warmed milk, chopped nuts, brown sugar, fresh or dried fruit – whatever you prefer!