By: Chrysa Smith


OK. It’s no secret that I like to eat out.

I’ll admit it. I’m a food snob. If I’m not going to someplace pretty nice, I’d opt to stay home and put on a pot of pasta or dig out some leftovers in the fridge. I only resort to fast food if I’m about to faint from hunger, which is—uh, never. So trust me when I tell you that as trendy as clothes are, so too is food. And if you don’t believe me, well, take it from me. I’ve seen my share of menus change with the times. And at any given time, all the nice restaurants will offer the same things, albeit prepared slightly differently, on their menu.

Let’s see. I’ve seen the Tilapia craze. That’s a funny one, since it’s such a cheap fish. I figure restaurant owners loved this one, since they could charge flounder prices for farm-raised white fish. It’s still in the grocery fish counters and I have to say that with a panko crust, browned up in some good oil, drizzled with a little lemon–it’s not half bad.

Then came the pomegranate phase. I can’t really speak much about that one, since I’m not a fan of the red fruit–pretty as it is. The seeds were spoken of like gold. And it was in everything from salads to seafood dishes. Luckily, that one seems to be calming down.

More recently, there’s been the beet craze. All colors, shapes and types, they’ve been put into salads, cooked and offered as side dishes. And I couldn’t quite do it. It’s from a history where my mother had served those awful canned, red beets when I was a kid. Ugh! And there was the pickled variety. I might be able to go for them, and I do appreciate a little culinary twist on an old staple. But even know, my taste buds don’t ever crave beets. Perhaps yours do.

And now, what I’ve noticed is that ‘farro’ seems to be the latest food du jour. I have yet to try it, but I have seen it making it’s way onto menus in the nicer places, and so, I looked it up. As I suspected, it is a grain. But there seems to be some disagreement about what type of grain. According to Wikipedia, the proven source of all (hee, hee), it suggests that three kinds of grain are called faro in Italy. Sounds like it might be derived from some sort of wheat product. But I clearly suspect it is a distant cousin coming off of the gluten-free frenzy. Sure, wheat is an evil of the glutenistas, but I have little problem with it. And according to experts, unless there is illness which causes gluten-intolerance, the entire movement is overblown (though some swear they have lost weight while eating gluten free). Barley and spelt seem to have similar qualities—a crunchiness to it, which might explain why it is served in salads and with some simpler entrees. But it looks like rice or even popcorn in the photo, don’t you agree?

So, if you see farro on the menu, don’t be surprised. Perhaps you can try it and we’ll both learn together why it might be the newest, latest thing since—-well, beets.