In the beginning…
Let’s start off with a confession. For the most part, whole wheat pasta in my house is verboten.
When the whole “eating tons of whole grain” movement suddenly got hugely popular, Mrs. WellDone was on the front lines, buying everything whole grain including more than a little whole grain spaghetti, linguine, rigantoni, spirals, and even whole grain lasagna noodles. (Not to mention bread, crackers, and other whole grain foods.)
Almost immediately the arguments began. Mrs. WellDone liked the taste. Me, I couldn’t stand the texture. The pasta was chewy (and not in a good al dente kind of way), but somehow it could get even mushier then white pasta. For months this continued on until one day, in a bought of frugality (I think), Mrs. WellDone bought some white pasta and cooked it.
God works in strange ways, but His hand was obviously at work that day as Mrs. WellDone became a convert (or unconvert?) back to the simple ways of glorious white, totally bad for you pasta.
The conference call…
Then one day it happened. I was invited to attend a conference call with Bob Greene, founder of the Best Life Diet, about whole wheat pasta. It was one of those yay-boo moments because on one hand, I have a huge amount of respect for Bob Greene. His book, The Best Life Diet, opened my eyes to why I had failed in so many of my previous diets because I was failing to get at the emotional roots of my eating.
On the other hand, we were going to talk about whole wheat pasta.
Still, I am food writer and when given the chance to learn more about a food product, I’m not going to turn it down.
What I learned…
The cool thing about the conference call was that we got to ask Mr. Greene questions and being not shy about why I don’t like whole wheat pasta, I asked him about the texture. Much to surprise, he started off his answer to my question with an admission: he and others have had problems with the texture (and flavor) of whole wheat pasta.
I wasn’t expecting that.
He then went on to say that one of the reasons that he decided to partner with Barilla was that their whole wheat pasta cooked up softer and with a better texture than other whole wheat pastas on the market. However, he recommended that everyone cook it until it was just al dente to get the best texture from it possible. (Apparently, he’s had mushy whole wheat pasta before, too…)
He also admitted (again to my surprise) that no matter how good Barilla whole wheat pasta is, it could never replace white pasta entirely. He did say, though, that Barilla gets pretty close and that it’s not something you have to force yourself to get used to very hard. Ultimately, though, he did argue that the switch was worth it since whole wheat pasta is far healthier in terms of vitamins and nutrients. Which is a good point, I guess.
So I can’t say I came away from the conference call having found religion on the whole wheat pasta issue. All I can say is that through his passion and my general desire to treat my body right, I am going to give whole wheat pasta another chance. Yes, it will be Barilla and yes, I will cook it al dente.
Who knows, Bob Greene is a pretty sharp guy. The pasta might turn out pretty good.
If you want to know more about Bob Green and the Best Life Diet, read about it on his website.
If you want to know more about Barilla, read about it here.