I was asked to cater a dinner for a family on Kauai once, and they requested that I cook my then-famous "millet burgers." The family I was cooking for enjoyed a macrobiotic diet, and I was catering for them and some guests visiting from the Midwest. One of the guests came into the kitchen as I was preparing to cook my millet, and when he saw me cooking what he referred to as "bird food" he laughed. "I'm a meat eater," he told me. "There's no way you'll get me eating burgers made from birdseed!" I assured him I wasn't going to force-feed him and had a backup plan so he didn't go hungry. By the end of that meal, my carnivorous friend had assured me that if we went into business together I would be able to retire a multimillionaire in a year. If I could get him eating "birdseed" and coming back for seconds, I had made my fortune. He talked about opening a chain of restaurants across the United States serving up "birdseed" and other such delicacies in the most innovative ways.

Millet is a grain I was first introduced to as an alternative to a childhood staple—mashed potatoes. Cooked together with parsnip or cauliflower and mashed, the consistency resembles potatoes and makes a delicious topping for Shepherd's Pie. Although grains in general tend to be more acidic, millet, quinoa and buckwheat are relatively more alkaline and therefore soothing to the system. Millet is one of the least allergenic and easily digested grains. It is also gluten-free and can be ground into a flour to use in baking.

Millet is high in magnesium, potassium, iron for building blood and phosphorus to promote healthy bones and teeth. It is nearly 15 percent protein and is high in fiber, B complex vitamins and some vitamin E. Because of its mild, sweet flavor, it is said to be nourishing to the spleen and stomach.

The benefits of barley and "milk" made with whole grains


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