Just the other day, my husband and I were checking out our groceries at our favorite store. Among the items was our favorite bread: “Ancient
Grain W/Cranberries Bread.” The clerk at the register feels the same way we do about this item. ” That’s a most delicious bread,” she said.
It’s funny, isn’t it, that it oftentimes takes the interest of others to perk our own. We’ve been eating this bread for over a year now, but it wasn’t until our cashier’s remark that I began to wonder just how ancient some of the grains were in this bread ? Could it be just an interesting selling ploy? As I began putting groceries away, I set aside the “Ancient Grain Cranberry Bread” for further scrutiny.
A listing of the ingredients is typed on a label on the back of the loaf and included a number of grains unfamiliar to me. I did recognize sorghum, a grain I always thought was fed to cows. Today, though, it is actually America’s leading cereal grain. I’ll get to our favorite cereal, later in this writing.
Some of the listed grains or seeds that were new to me were whole quinoa, whole teff and whole amaranth. Obviously, I had some researching to do and found that, yes, these were ancient grains. Grains such as quinoa, amaranth, spelt and kamut are called “ancient” because they’ve been around, unchanged for millennia. But what about corn, rice and modern varieties of wheat, surely they’ve been around for a long time? The difference is that these have been bred selectively over thousands of years to look and taste much different from their distant ancestors. As an example, modern corn bears little resemblance to wild corn from long ago. As a matter of fact, it is this cross breeding that has left many people allergic to today’s grains. It should be noted here that even the ancient grains may not be safe for patients of celiac disease or wheat allergy.
In Ethiopia, teff is usually ground into flour and fermented to make the spongy sourdough bread know as “injera” The bread is used as an edible serving plate on which food is piled high in the center of the dinner table. Does it qualify as an ancient grain? No question. It originated in Ethiopia 4000-1000 B.C.
Our talk on ancient grains would not be complete without including the popular “Ezekiel 4:9 bread. “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” Do as you just read, and you would be doing just as the Bible prophet, Ezekiel, was told to do. It’s easy to understand why the second part of the recipe is ignored. Even Ezekiel protested on how the bread was to be baked. You may have forgotten these instructions as given to Ezekiel by God in the Old Testament. Look up Ezekiel 4:12 and then verse 15. Let me know what you find out. Just to digress a bit, In Leviticus 2:13 God’s instructions were not to leave salt out of grain offerings. Was God disregarding high blood pressure? As always, God is not to be questioned. By the way, have you noticed that the latest in blood pressure reports is your intake of salt has no effect on your blood pressure?
Our favorite cereal is Alpen, all natural muesli with no added sugar. Besides whole rolled oats, whole wheat and barley I see no ancient grains listed. Nevertheless, It’s good. I wonder if it’s a favorite of our favorite store’s cashier?
That’s it for this week’s Shirl andYou. I’m hoping you will complete my story as told in the book of Ezekiel and I’d love to hear your opinions on ancient grains. Also, what’s your favorite bread and cereal?