I very much enjoyed the April challenge of fitting more whole grains into my diet. Turns out I’m a big fan (who knew?), and I have really enjoyed all the recipes I’ve tried with different grains. The subject of whole grains brought to mind a critique we sometimes get from readers. Every now and then, Cooking Light gets complaints from readers (or I get complaints from friends of mine) that we occasionally call for ingredients that are too exotic, or at least too difficult to find. Not everyone lives in a big or even medium-sized city, and not everyone has access to a health-foods store.

As someone who grew up and still has roots in rural Kentucky, I understand this. However, I would like to encourage you to keep your eyes open for shops beyond your conventional supermarkets, places that could turn out to be real hidden gems. As an example, I present the Kountry Kupboard, an unassuming little place right along U.S. Highway 127 in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. My parents and I checked it out a few years ago on a quest for Christmas ham, and I was completely blown away by the selection of unusual ingredients, particularly cheeses, spices, baking items, and whole grains. Oh my goodness, the whole grains. I saw pretty much everything I had ever heard of. On a trip just last week, I spotted bulgur, buckwheat groats, quinoa, spelt, millet, Kamut, and a variety of flours made from these grains. They also carried a few other health-food standbys such as wheat bran, wheat germ, and ground flaxseed. I picked up some steel-cut oats, bulgur, and pearl barley (technically not a whole grain, but still righteous), as well as some dried diced papaya and a big homemade oatmeal cream pie. (It’s all about balance, people.) And most of the prices were lower than anything I find at my usual supermarkets. I love this store and try to visit and stock up any time I’m in the area.

I can’t promise that you’ll be able to find spelt flour and organic Kamut in every community. I just want to encourage you to keep your eyes peeled and perhaps check out that small bulk-food store by the side of the road. You just might find a wealth of goodness.


 Do you have a hidden gem of a grocery store in your area that you’d like to share?