I love cous-cous. I even bought a first edition of one of Paula Wolfert’s classic cookbooks because it has color photos of beautiful cous-cous. While making that beautiful cous-cous takes some time, the common variety here is instant and makes creating a quick meal very easy. Five minutes. Whole-grain. Top it with chickpeas and vegetables, cooked in olive oil and spices, and you have a great meal. Giving up [gluten-containing] cous-cous made me a little bit sad.

Imagine my delight when I saw that a supermarket by work carried Lundberg Brown Rice Cous-cous. [Insert secret supermarket happy dance.] Reading the back of the package discouraged me a little– a full 15 minutes of cooking time– but I carried on bravely. Turns out, it’s not cous-cous. The flavor is (surprise!) toasted brown rice and the texture is completely different. Basically, it’s not round. Couscous should be round. The first serving led to me declaring to the cat that I was never going to buy it again. She, fortunately, both ignored me and declined to hold me to my word.

The second time, I started to think of it as a form of rice. If you think of it as toasted rice grits, or some distant kin to bulgur, it’s quite delicious in its own right. I will be using it to make tabouli, and otherwise appreciately the fact that it is a quick-cooking whole grain that I can eat or toss into soups or stews to help thicken them up a bit at the end. Price? Eh… not a fantastic deal, but quite reasonable. I prefer the plain, as that gives you control over the amount of salt and flavors, but there are seasoned varieties as well.