Saturday, May 5, 2012

What In The World Is Couscous?

Yeah, anyway?

On occasion I visit my local health food store, Natural Food and Garden, to pick up a few things.  A very unique and interesting place to browse, it is advertised as Pennsylvania's Largest Small Natural Food Store.  Last time I was there, I saw some bags of couscous displayed.  Without even knowing what it is, I was seized by the thought that "if I buy that I will be healthy."

So I purchased a container of Bob's Red Mill Golden Couscous, and went on my way, feeling like a GREAT STRIDE TOWARDS HEALTH had taken place.

When I told my youngest daughter what I purchased (pronouncing it cuss cuss), she burst into maniacal laughter and insinuated that I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, because the correct pronunciation rhymes with goose goose.  Sometimes my offspring erroneously think they are smarter than me.

I did a bit of research and learned that the little couscous balls are just durum wheat.  (Whatever that is.)
On the package is the statement that it is "the darling grain of every Mediterranean chef in the country"...and is "everyone's favorite side dish."

Well those are some strong statements, because 
1.  How many Mediterranean chefs are there in this country really?  and
2.  If it's everyone's favorite side dish, then how come I don't even know what it is?

So, I made some the other night, along with some parmesan-crusted chicken strips in a tomato sauce, and a salad.  When I served dinner, reactions from the husband/lover/best friend and Caleb were varied:

1.  Long, silent stares at the couscous dish.  Then
2.  "What is it?"  (Couscous)
3.  "What do you do with it?"  (Eat it.)
4.  "How?"  (With your fork.)
5.  "No I mean where do you put it?"  (On your plate.)
6.  "Where?" (Just put it under the chicken and sauce and mix it all up.)
7.  More thoughtful silent stares.  Processing.  Then very quiet eating.  Very little conversation.
8.  "This is not a keeper."
9.  "Tastes like nothing."

Here it is.  "Everyone's favorite side dish."  NOPE

I started to silently console myself that at least the effort had made us more healthy, but after I looked again at the package and studied the nutritional label, I wasn't even sure myself.

Here are the main numbers:

Serving size:  1/3 cup dry
Calories per serving:  230
Total Fat:  0g  (OK at least that's good)
Saturated Fat:  0g
Sodium:  5mg
Total Carbohydrate:  48g
Dietary Fiber:  3g

You can draw your own conclusions.  If you want to try it yourself, here is a simple recipe I found.  I plan to give couscous another chance or two, but after a third strike it's out.


Boil 1 1/4 cups water or broth. Add 1 cup couscous and 2 T. butter.  Stir, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes then stir to fluff.  Let it cool.

Mix the following together with the cooled couscous:

1 diced cucumber
1/2 diced green bell pepper
3 T. chopped fresh basil
1/2 diced tomato
1/3 cup lemon juice or your favorite dressing

Chill then serve.  Serves 4 to 6.

Well, even just talking about couscous makes me feel SO HEALTHY!  I'll have more good stuff for you tomorrow.  Maybe I'll talk about Jamaica.  (I will at least be thinking about it!)  Only 6 "sleeps" till Jamaica.....


  1. I remember they served us that cusscuss crap at one of those fancy dinners at animal kingdom. And i starkly remember eric and i whispering that thank god we had another meal allowance for the day saved up that we would use for a burger back at the hotel restaraunt haha. Its like eating overcooked lizard ovaries, yuk...rachel

  2. Never Tasted it before but the Nutritional Information is not that enticing to run right out to get it. Think we'll just try smaller portions to accomplish a healthier lifestyle. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.