Tommorrow is the last day of Christmas around here, the final feast, the last hurrah of the holidays for another year. In my family, Ukrainian Christmas eve is celebrated with a vegitarian feast of traditional Ukrainian food. Somewhat traditional. I am going to discribe for you a dish that I make in a whole new way from the way my ancestors made it. Kutia, wheat, the staff of life, according to tradition. The process for making it in my childhood included pounding it for hours with a baseball bat in a pillowcase, boiling for hours in pot on the stove and finally mixing chopped fruit, poppyseeds, nuts and honey in it for a whole grain pudding dish which was eaten first on Christmas Eve.
I do something a little differently. I sprout the wheat first. Symbolicly, wheat represents the staff of life. However, wheat sprouts tend to occupy this place in my menatily. Organic wheat sprouts. It cuts about 6 hours off of the preperation time, adds vast amounts of nutrition, and changes a source of starchand carbohydrates to a source of vitamins. The staff of life indeed.
To honour the symbolism of the dish, one needs to make sure that the wheat being used is not geneticly modified, or sprayed with Roundup just before harvest, as a lot of conventional wheat has been known to have happen. This is actually being studied as the possible reason why so many people have developed allergies and sensitivites to the golden staff of life, so to speak. So honour our ancestor’s symbolism by using organic wheat. Anything else can hardly be considered the staff of life. Besides, it probably won’t sprout.
I get the wheat from a health food store that is sold there to be used for people growing wheatgrass sprouts at home for juicing and a superfood packed with enzymes and vitamins.
2 days previous, you fill a quart mason jar 1/3 full of organic wheat kernels and fill the rest up with water
drain the water in 24 hours, and rinse the wheat.
Rinse it twice a day for the next 2 days. There should be some splitting and tiny little wheat srouts poking out from the seeds.
The maximum nutrition from this dish would be if you were able to eat it raw, but the grains may still be too tough. Simmer gently in a pot with water or apple juice until soft. Usually less than 1 hour.
add chopped almonds or walnuts, poppyseeds, dried cherries and honey. Blend in a food processor.
This is Kutia, a dish traditionally eaten first on Ukrainian Christmas eve representing the staff of life, which is an ironic food that a great many people have become allergic to in recent years. There are conflicting veiwpoints in society at the moment as to whether grains and wheat in particular is good for you. From wheat sprouts to white flour, from wheatgrass juice to the Atkins diet which reccomends eleminating it totally from our consumption. From being blamed for the obesity epidemic to being honoured on Christmas Eve, this is wheat, and its value, or its harm, is all in how it is prepared, and how it is grown.