Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Buckwheat 2 Ways: Young Actor on 'The Little Rascals' and a Healthy Pancake Alternative; Reminiscing While Eating—Priceless!

The Human Buckwheat
Back in the late 1950s-60s, we used to watch a TV show called 'The Little Rascals'. The shows were derived from a much earlier series of film shorts by producer Hal Roach and were one of the first movies to portray black and white children as equals. When TV came of age, a new distributor named King World Entertainment, now CBS Television Distribution, took the films and repackaged them for television and the success of 'The Little Rascals' allowed King World to become one of the biggest television syndicators in the world. There were four African-American child actors who held main-character roles in the series: Ernie 'Sunshine Sammy' Morrison, Allen 'Farina' Hoskins, Matthew 'Stymie' Beard and Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas.

Of all the characters, 'Buckwheat' (Billie Thomas) was a particular favorite. While visiting friends in their country house this weekend in Lafayette, New York, we recounted some of the episodes and memorable lines from the shows (especially those said by Buckwheat) when our host and hostess presented us with a stack of fresh-cooked delicious buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. I wasn't sure if I'd ever had buckwheat pancakes before and after devouring more than I should have, wondered why!

Buckwheat on The Little Rascals
My wondering turned to the human 'Buckwheat', who he actually was and what had become of him. He was, after all, as delicious as the pancakes (see photo, left)! After the show ended, Thomas enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1954, and was decorated with a National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. He became a successful film lab technician with the Technicolor corporation. Thomas died of a heart attack in his Los Angeles apartment on October 10, 1980, coincidentally, 46 years to the day his mother brought him to audition at the Hal Roach Studios.

The Inanimate Buckwheat
I thought buckwheat was a grain, but it's actually the seed of a plant similar to rhubarb. But even though it doesn't get the grain moniker, it is used like one in cooking and has more protein than rice, wheat, millet, or corn beating them on almost every measure of healthfulness. Additionally, buckwheat ranks low on the glycemic scale. Its unique amino acid properties gives buckwheat the power to boost the protein value of beans and cereal grains eaten the same day. Because of this it is the unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date. Its proteins also allow buckwheat to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals helping to prevent diabetes and obesity.  Buckwheat's proteins also help in the reduction of hypertension.

Additional Buckwheat Superpowers
  • Compared with true grains, buckwheat is high in the minerals zinc, copper, and manganese. 
  • Buckwheat’s low fat properties are similar to the type that makes olive oil so heart-healthful. 
  • Fiber in true grains is largely insoluble, while a considerable portion of buckwheat fiber is the soluble type that makes oats so heart-healthful, helps digestion by reducing blood cholesterol levels and the risk of colon cancer. Buckwheat has a resistant starch, which enhances colon health, and helps to reduce blood sugar levels. 
  • Reduces high blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and discourages obesity. 
  • Contains flavonoids for heart and circulatory health and is prized as a “blood-building” food preventing recurrent bleeding caused by weakened blood vessels, as in hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
  • Buckwheat has the ability to reduce high blood pressure.Energizing and nutritious, buckwheat is available throughout the year and can be served as an alternative to rice, porridge or pancakes.
  • diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as buckwheat, and fruit offered significant protection against breast cancer for pre-menopausal women.
On the way home, after enjoying our buckwheat pancakes and the reminiscing they provoked, we stopped in 'The Catskill Mountain Country Store' in nearby Windham, New York (a small store and town recovering from the floods of Hurricane Irene) and purchased a bag of New Hope Buckwheat Pancake Mix. So easy, all you'll need to add is water! The website of the store follows and they would love to have your business via the Internet as they get their charming store back to its original state. They are also on Facebook. After reading all of the benefits of buckwheat, how could you resist?

No comments:

Post a Comment