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Food

The Definitive Ranking Of Grains

If you don't agree, you can always rerank the list.

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15. (White) Rice

Rice is... just rice. Like, yeah, it's in every culture across the world. Yeah, it can be used in a million different ways. But that's what makes it so ~plain~ and banal. It's everywhere and therefore underwhelming. SORRY, RICE. YOU'RE EVERYWHERE.
Getty Images/iStockphoto Korakij Chaisirisopon

Rice is... just rice. Like, yeah, it's in every culture across the world. Yeah, it can be used in a million different ways. But that's what makes it so ~plain~ and banal. It's everywhere and therefore underwhelming. SORRY, RICE. YOU'RE EVERYWHERE.

14. Bulgur

Pro: It takes very little time to cook. Con(s): It is basically impossible to find a consensus on spelling ("bulgar?""bulghar???""BURGHUL?!?!?!?!"), it's chewy as heck, and it brings to mind bulges but then doesn't deliver any.
en.wikipedia.org

Pro: It takes very little time to cook. Con(s): It is basically impossible to find a consensus on spelling ("bulgar?""bulghar???""BURGHUL?!?!?!?!"), it's chewy as heck, and it brings to mind bulges but then doesn't deliver any.

13. Kamut

Kamut®, or Khorasan wheat, is a good alternative to rice or wheat berries, but it takes forever to cook. If you can remember to soak it overnight, it's great in pilafs and salads, but c'mon — who really plans ahead like that?
Getty Images/iStockphoto siwaporn999

Kamut®, or Khorasan wheat, is a good alternative to rice or wheat berries, but it takes forever to cook. If you can remember to soak it overnight, it's great in pilafs and salads, but c'mon — who really plans ahead like that?

12. Spelt

Blah, blah, ancient grain, blah. It has a nutty taste, and that's cool and all. But it's so closely related to wheat that sometimes it's like... why don't you just use wheat? It's used in some baking flours, which is a nutritional bonus, but it's an easily forgotten grain in the grand scheme of things.
Getty Images/iStockphoto 8vFanI

Blah, blah, ancient grain, blah. It has a nutty taste, and that's cool and all. But it's so closely related to wheat that sometimes it's like... why don't you just use wheat? It's used in some baking flours, which is a nutritional bonus, but it's an easily forgotten grain in the grand scheme of things.

11. Millet

Literal birdseed.
guineafowl.com

Literal birdseed.

10. Buckwheat

Pros: It's gluten-free and you use it to make soba noodles. Cons: It's super boring. Like who says, "You know what this dish needs? Buckwheat!" No one, that's who.
en.wikipedia.org

Pros: It's gluten-free and you use it to make soba noodles. Cons: It's super boring. Like who says, "You know what this dish needs? Buckwheat!" No one, that's who.

9. Corn

Corn is, y'know, corn — it's in literally every food that passes your lips, and while it may not be LIFE-CHANGINGLY EXCITING, it does have one major benefit: It can become popcorn.
Getty Images/iStockphoto K_attapon

Corn is, y'know, corn — it's in literally every food that passes your lips, and while it may not be LIFE-CHANGINGLY EXCITING, it does have one major benefit: It can become popcorn.

8. Amaranth

Sounds like the name of a pretty fairy, but it's actually a super useful grain for those pesky gluten-free diets. You can find it in a lot of cereals and such — you can pop it, like puffed rice! GET EXCITED, AMARANTH! YOU DO COOL STUFF!
blog.bobsredmill.com

Sounds like the name of a pretty fairy, but it's actually a super useful grain for those pesky gluten-free diets. You can find it in a lot of cereals and such — you can pop it, like puffed rice! GET EXCITED, AMARANTH! YOU DO COOL STUFF!

7. Barley

Barley is pretty boring, but hey — without it we wouldn't have beer or whiskey. So it can't be all that bad. Mad props to barley.
Getty Images/iStockphoto popovaphoto

Barley is pretty boring, but hey — without it we wouldn't have beer or whiskey. So it can't be all that bad. Mad props to barley.

6. Wheat Berries

Wheat berries are what I imagine a forest nymph would eat for sustenance along with the usual wild strawberries and flowers and stuff. They're nutty and make a very solid base for a salad, and there is something v v whimsical about their name.
thekitchn.com

Wheat berries are what I imagine a forest nymph would eat for sustenance along with the usual wild strawberries and flowers and stuff. They're nutty and make a very solid base for a salad, and there is something v v whimsical about their name.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa (YES WE KNOW IT'S A SEED) has a weird rap because of its hipster-emblem connotations (heyyyyyy kale), but it's a workhorse that gets the job done. And those lil curly things? Delightful!
Getty Images/iStockphoto Pichunter

Quinoa (YES WE KNOW IT'S A SEED) has a weird rap because of its hipster-emblem connotations (heyyyyyy kale), but it's a workhorse that gets the job done. And those lil curly things? Delightful!

4. Sorghum

Sorghum is kinda weird — it's small like Israeli couscous and it takes a long time to cook, but it tastes really good and keeps its texture, making it perfect for salads. Seriously, it's worth the hour it takes to cook it. Plus, you can pop it like popcorn, which is pretty neat.
Getty Images/iStockphoto siwaporn999

Sorghum is kinda weird — it's small like Israeli couscous and it takes a long time to cook, but it tastes really good and keeps its texture, making it perfect for salads. Seriously, it's worth the hour it takes to cook it. Plus, you can pop it like popcorn, which is pretty neat.

3. (Black) Rice

Just ignore the fact that you can't cook it in a "minute" like its more simple brethren. Black/wild rices are SO PRETTY LOOKING and SO MUCH MORE TASTY than normal rice. There's depth and flavor here. #blessed
Getty Images/iStockphoto Andrii Gorulko

Just ignore the fact that you can't cook it in a "minute" like its more simple brethren. Black/wild rices are SO PRETTY LOOKING and SO MUCH MORE TASTY than normal rice. There's depth and flavor here. #blessed

2. Farro

Farro is a God-Tier grain. It's firm and nutty (lol) and good in everything — salads, soups, risottos, whatever. You should put farro in ALL THE THINGS, basically. I'm not joking. Farro is the 40-year Tawny Port of grains.
Getty Images/iStockphoto dpellicola

Farro is a God-Tier grain. It's firm and nutty (lol) and good in everything — salads, soups, risottos, whatever. You should put farro in ALL THE THINGS, basically. I'm not joking. Farro is the 40-year Tawny Port of grains.

1. Oats

As Shakespeare famously wrote, "How do I love thee [oats]? Let me count the [oat-y] ways." Oats can become dessert, or a classic breakfast treat, or even SAVORY OATMEAL. These flaky lil guys are a goddamn delight and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.
Getty Images/iStockphoto etiennevoss

As Shakespeare famously wrote, "How do I love thee [oats]? Let me count the [oat-y] ways." Oats can become dessert, or a classic breakfast treat, or even SAVORY OATMEAL. These flaky lil guys are a goddamn delight and anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

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