Six years ago when my my wife first approached me with the idea that we should stop eating wheat I was incredulous. “But, society was built on grains!” was my response. I thought back to my history lessons of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations as a defense for eating wheat. If it weren’t for the domestication of ancient grains, I thought, we’d still be wandering as hunter gatherers. It’s true that the ancients’ cultivation of grains allowed for the amount of food necessary to support a large society. However, my interest in archaeology has revealed that the grain and dairy consumption of our ancestors is drastically different than modern eating habits.
While my wife has an interest in modern cooking, my hobby includes the study of Iron Age, Romano, and Saxon agriculture. My research focuses on ancient Britain (partly because the relevant literature is written in English), but parallels could be found in other ancient societies. My first couple posts on this subject will look at gluten and casein in ancient foods. If there is interest, I’ll expand to general info on ancient cooking, farming, etc.
Ancient Grains : Wheat
Spelt (Triticum spelta)
1. Abdel-Aal, Elsayed. Specialty Grains for Food and Feed Published by the American Association of Cereal Chemists. 2005.
2. Alcock, Joan P. Food in Roman Britain
3. Cool, H.E.M. Eating and Drinking in Roman Britain.
4. Hagen, Ann. Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink. Anglo Saxon Books, 2006.
5. Ness, Stan. “Types of Wheat: Nutritional Content & Health Benefits Comparison” on Einkorn.com. 2010.
6. Pizzuti, Daniella, et al. “Lack of intestinal mucosal toxicity of Triticum monococcum in celiac disease patients” in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology Volume 41, Issue 11 November 2006 , pages 1305 – 1311.