In the past, whenever I served cracked wheat cereal, I was greeted with scowls and complaints. My family would barely tolerate whole wheat bread, and they’d cheer loudly when I made white bread. I had some success in hiding cracked wheat or wheat germ in meat loaves, casseroles, and desserts, but trying to sell my family on wheat alone seemed useless.
Then one night in sacrament meeting a member of our Relief Society presidency and her husband spoke about utilizing home storage items. They mentioned a recipe they had discovered while experimenting with wheat and lentils. They called it “Wheat Treats.”
Shortly thereafter this sister prepared refreshments for a social, and along with a chili dish and beverage, she served Wheat Treats. I loved them! I took a sample home to my husband, and he also raved about them. The next morning, before breakfast, he moved several boxes in the storeroom and got out a can of wheat. I put some on to boil immediately.
Our youngest daughter, who had also tasted a few of the Wheat Treats I had brought home, saw me preparing them that morning and announced to her older brother and sister, “Hey, Mom’s making some of those great wheat things!” “What wheat things?” they cried as they ran into the kitchen and stood by to taste the first results.
Well, the children loved Wheat Treats. They ate so much the first day that I found myself wondering if “too much wheat was for man.” The following morning I decided to try a second batch and do some experimenting on my own. While the pan of wheat was boiling, our seven-year-old son came into the kitchen and asked, “What smells so good, Mom?”
I replied that I was boiling whole wheat to make more Wheat Treats.
“Can’t I have some just like that?” he asked. I could hardly hide my excitement as I dished up a bowl of whole wheat cereal for a child who was actually asking for it.
“Can I have some milk and brown sugar on it?”
I nodded and continued preparing breakfast for the rest of the family. In a few minutes he was asking for more!
I have always believed that wheat was for man. Now I believe that man can be for wheat. Even whole wheat bread has taken on a new dimension since it is made from “pre-wheat treats.”
Today, when I overheard a neighbor boy ask our four-year-old daughter if he could have some of “that wheat” again, I decided it was time to share with others the recipe that has given me new enthusiasm for food storage. Thanks to a talented Relief Society homemaking counselor, my family has discovered that “wheat can be a treat.”
1. Soak wheat in cold water 24 to 48 hours, changing the water once or twice during this period; or boil wheat for 30 minutes (it will triple in volume).
2. Drain wheat and rinse. Remove excess water by rolling wheat on a cloth or paper towel.
3. In a heavy kettle, heat vegetable oil to 350–400° F. Put small amounts of wheat (about 1/2 cup) in a wire basket or strainer and deep fry in hot oil for about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper. (An electric fry pan may also be used: carefully drop the wheat kernels directly into the pan of hot oil, and pour the oil through a wire strainer to remove the kernels after cooking.)
4. Season wheat with salt or other seasonings as desired: garlic salt, celery salt, onion salt, seasoned salt, etc.
Sister Pace is a homemaker and the mother of four children. She and her family recently moved to Yakima, Washington, where her husband is an LDS institute of religion director.