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Slow Books Reading Guide: Grist by Abra Berens

For the 2022 Network-Wide Read-Along, the Slow Books team chose Grist: A Practical Guide to Cooking Grains, Beans, Seeds, and Legumes by Abra Berens. Here are some additional reading materials to enhance your enjoyment of this epic ode to some of our favorite foods.


Publisher’s Website

Author’s Website

Purchase the book from Bookshop!

Author Abra Berens and her colleague, Granor Farm Operations Manager Wesley Rieth, joined Slow Food USA’s Director of Programs Mara Welton for a Slow Food Live event on Nov. 10, 2022.


  • Did the cookbook change the way you think about any of these ingredients?
  • What non-cookbook aspects of the book did you enjoy most and why? (Glossary, Food Storage Tips, Farmer and Producer Interviews, etc.)
  • In what ways do you feel better equipped to source, store, cook and enjoy beans, grains, seeds and legumes after reading this book?
  • How does Abra’s book incorporate the Slow Food ideals of “good, clean and fair?”
  • Are you looking at any of these ingredients differently after reading “Grist?” Do you find “legumes” any less tricky to define? 😉 
  • What did you cook from the book? What did you love? What wasn’t your favorite? 
  • After reading/cooking your way through Grist will you be more/less likely to check out Abra’s first cookbook “Ruffage?” Any plans to visit Granor Farm (Three Oaks, MI)?
Read Alikes

Berens, Abra. “Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables.” San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2019. Print. (ISBN: 9781452169323)

Bitsoie, Freddie and Quentin Bacon, James O. Fraioli, and Gabriella Trujillo. “New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian.” New York, NY: Abrams Books, 2021. Print. (ISBN: 9781419753558)

Brockman, Terra. “The Seasons on Henry’s Farm: A Year of Food and Life on a Sustainable Farm.” Evanston, IL: Agate Publishing, 2010. Print. (ISBN: 9781572841154)

Gravel, Mark Andrew. “Kill the Recipe: A Cookbook and Visual Guidebook on the Basics of Radical Beanmaking and Plant-based Eating.” Foodsexart, Print. 2012. (ISBN: 978-0615599694)

Green City Market, editor. “The Green City Market Cookbook: Great Recipes from Chicago’s Award-Winning Farmers Market.” Evanston, IL: Agate Publishing, 2017. Print. (ISBN: 9781572842366)

Kimble, Megan. “Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food” – “Wheat” chapter.  New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2015. Print. (ISBN: 9780062382467)

King, Ellen and Amelia Levin, John Lee. “Heritage Baking: Recipes for Rustic Breads and Pastries Baked with Artisanal Flour from Hewn Bakery.” San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2018. Print. (ISBN: 9781452167879)

Pallant, Eric. “Sourdough Culture: A History of Bread Making from Ancient to Modern Bakers.” Evanston, IL: Agate Publishing, 2021. Print. (ISBN: 9781572843011)

Ray, Janisse. “The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food.” Hartford, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012. Print. (ISBN: 9781603583060)

Rothman, Julia and Rachel Wharton. “Food Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible World.”  North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2016. Print. (ISBN: 9781612123394)

Sherman, Sean and Beth Dooley. “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.” Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2017. Print. (ISBN: 9780816699797)

Thielen, Amy. “Give a Girl a Knife: A Memoir.” New York, NY: Clarkson Potter/Random House Books, 2017. Print. (ISBN: 9780307954909)

Turshen, Julia. “Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs.” San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2016. Print. (ISBN: 9781452143095)

Zimmerman, Emma. “The Miller’s Daughter: Unusual Flours & Heritage Grains: Stories and Recipes from Hayden Flour Mills.” Richmond VIC, Australia: Hardie Grant Publishing, 2022. Print. (ISBN: 9781743797105) 

Read Alikes for Youth

Aston, Dianna Hutts. Illustrated by Sylvia Long. “A Seed Is Sleepy.” San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2014. Print.
(ISBN: 9781452131474)

Binczewski, Bethany. Illustrated by Hayelin Choi. “Bread Lab!” San Francisco, CA: Readers to Eaters, 2022. Print. (ISBN: 9780998047706)

Ehlert, Lois. “Planting a Rainbow.” Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2003. Print. (ISBN: 9780152046330)

Greenlaw, Suzanne and Gabriel Frey. Illustrated by Nancy Baker. “The First Blade of Sweetgrass.” Thomaston, ME: Tilbury House Publishers, 2021. Print. (ISBN: 9780884487609)

John, Jory and illustrated by Pete Oswald. “The Cool Bean.” New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2019. Print. (ISBN: 9780062954527)

Kimmerer, Robin Will and Monique Gray Smith. Illustrated by Nicole Neidhardt. “Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.” Minneapolis, MN: Zest Books an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, 2022. Print. (ISBN: 9781728458991)

Knowles, Laura. Illustrated by Jennie Webber. “It Starts with a Seed.” London, UK: Words & Pictures, The Quarto Group, 2017. Print. (ISBN: 97819102777263)

Page, Robin. “Seeds Move!” New York, NY: Beach Lane Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2019. Print. (ISBN: 9781534409156)

Tucker, Zoë and illustrated by Julianna Swaney. “The Garden We Share.” New York, NY: NorthSouth Books, Inc., 2022. Print. (ISBN: 9780735844841)

A (Non-Exhaustive) List of Go-To Producers, Farmers + Purveyors of Grains, Beans, Seeds & Legumes

Anson Mills (Columbia, SC)

Ark of Taste

Artisan Grain Collaborative

Bluebird Grain Farms (Winthrop, WA)

Breslin Farms (Ottawa, IL)

Brian Severson Farms (Dwight, IL)

Camellia Beans (New Orleans, LA)

Hayden Flour Mills (Queen Creek,AZ)

Janine’s Mill (Ashkum ,IL)

Marsh Hen Mill (Edisto Island, SC)

Meadowlark Organics Farm + Mill (Ridgeway, WI)

Primary Beans (Seattle, WA)

Rancho Gordo (Napa County, CA)

Ramona Farms (Sacaton, AZ)

Sheridan Acres (Ubly, MI)

Small Town Specialties (Hamilton City, CA)

Sugar Creek Malt Co. (Lebanon, IN)

Sunrise Flour Mill (Branch, MN)

Additional Resources

Italic Type – please consider joining this alternative to Amazon owned GoodReads

Slow Food USA’s Bean Zine (see page 27 for a recipe from Abra!)

Unlearning the Ableism of Cookbooks and Kitchen Wisdom

Rio Grande Grain – “Connecting Heritage Grain Enthusiasts in Northern New Mexico”

Modern Farmer – “Changing Tastes Fuel a Buckwheat Revival”

The Atlantic – “The Food War” on the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine