For the longest time, I have openly avoided whole wheat: bread, pasta, pizza, muffins, you name it. Aki would use whole wheat flour and I would refuse to eat things on principle because they were too healthy. The words "you ruined it!" may have been uttered a few times before a single bite passed my lips.To me adding whole wheat flour meant making things heavy and healthy and I just wasn't into it. That is until recently when we found some coarse ground whole wheat at a local market. The packaging was simple, a ziploc bag, and it allowed me to see the texture of the grain beneath. This was not whole wheat trying to be white flour. It was an unaplogetic expression of an ingredient and its character drew me in.
I picked up the bag and could feel the granules of texture in the flour. It was as if I was holding cornmeal in my hand. So me being me, I bought several bags, despite the fact that all things whole wheat were forbidden by my own rules. When I showed Aki my purchase she was pleased and pissed at the same time. She liked the fact that I had purchased whole wheat flour, but knew full well there is a difference between buying and eating. She assumed the flour would slowly turn rancid on our shelves and, if left to me, this would have happened. Thankfully, Aki is also pragmatic.
The following morning Amaya was calling for pancakes and Aki "slipped" some of the whole wheat into the batter much to my annoyance. The first bite I had of the pancakes was infuriating. These were not the light and fluffy syrup carriers I had come to demand on a regular basis. There was texture involved and I was not going to... and then I realized that I did like them. The pancake had a nutty flavor from the grains toasting on the griddle. The wheat granules had absorbed moisture from the batter and were tender with a slightly coarse texture showcasing a distinct ingredient and one which made my pancakes more enjoyable. The next time she made plain pancakes and my first response was "You left out the wheat flour!"
Now I, actually we, are looking into utilizing this coarse and flavorful wheat in other preparations. Not for health benefits because that would mean I would have to avoid it. We are looking at the whole wheat as a delicious ingredient with which we may cook better and enhance the flavor and full experience of our preparations.