two-day event, 'Grains are Not Created Equal,' will shed the spotlight on
little-known grains in hopes of creating a farming, baking and eating
Host Slow Food Pittsburgh will roll out the welcome mat on Sunday
and Monday to agronomist Elizabeth Dyck and baker Stefan Senders, both from New
York, where Ms. Dyck grows and researches alternative grains for Organic
Growers’ Research and Information-Sharing Network (ogrin.org), an organization
she founded, and Mr. Senders bakes with the grains at his Wide Awake Bakery (wideawakebakery.com).
Mr. Senders will hold a baking demo from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at
Laughlin Music Center, Chatham University, Shadyside.
It will be followed by the blind-grain tastings, where Ms. Dyck
will serve steamed grains in tiny numbered cups, asking guests to rate and
describe the flavors of each. Grains will include heritage red and white wheat,
buckwheat, rye, barley, spelt, einkorn and emmer.
There also will be a potluck buffet where local bakers and
restaurants will bring grain-based foods and drinks for participants to try.
Businesses include Legume, Ace Hotel, E2, Root 174, Chatham University’s Eden
Hall campus, Mediterra Bakery, Five Points Artisan Bakery, Driftwood Oven, Wigle
Whiskey, Hop Farm and more.
Slow Food Pittsburgh co-founder Virginia Phillips said grain
tastings have become popular on the East Coast, but this event is a first for
Pittsburgh, allowing people to try grains they might not otherwise have been
'People who haven’t tasted local, heritage-type grains are in for
a surprise,' Ms. Phillips said, noting that heritage rye, which people might
expect to be pungent, actually has a sweet and delicate flavor when steamed like
rice, which is how the grains will be prepared for the tasting session.
Participants also will blind-taste two bread loaves and three crackers made with
The tasting session is a win-win: It allows locals to experience
rare grains, and it sends Ms. Dyck home with more data for her research. When
she runs grain tastings, she keeps records of how tasters respond to each type
of grain; their reactions and descriptions can then be used to market grains and
examine consumer preferences. Ms. Dyck hopes the tasting session will expand
Pittsburghers’ interest in cooking and baking with alternative grains, which
will in turn spur local producers to grow them.
On Monday, Mr. Senders will have an intensive baking class, which
is intended for professional and serious home cooks, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at
Wigle Whiskey Barrelhouse, North Side.
Mr. Senders will discuss issues of baking with local flours and
operating an artisan business, and participants will bake with him hands-on.
Lunch from the Thin Man Sandwich Shop will be provided.
activities are already full, but Slow Food Pittsburgh is maintaining a waiting
list. To be added, contact Ms. Phillips at Phillips.firstname.lastname@example.org. For
those who don’t get a spot, Ms. Phillips suggests a visit to Weatherbury Farm in
Avella, where Nigel Tudor grows and mills organic flours and has worked with Ms.
Dyck to develop plantings of rare and ancient grains. Weatherbury grains are
also available through Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance (pennscorner.com)."