Wheat has been cultivated as a crop for thousands of years, sustaining many cultures through time. It has often been referred to as the “mother of all grains” for its importance, and even today is used in a wide range of products that supports the economies of countries around the world.
Fact or Fiction?
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FICTION! Quinoa, not wheat, is native to the Andes Mountains and has been eaten continuously by the people of the region for 5,000 years. It was a staple crop for the Inca civilization that had enormous, even sacred, importance. They called it “chesiya mama,” which means “mother of all grains” in the Inca language Quechua. Perhaps the Latin American geographer Alexander von Humboldt said it best when he claimed that quinoa was to the Inca and other ancient Andean societies what “wine was to the Greeks, wheat to the Romans, cotton to the Arabs.”1 Click here to find out more about quinoa, and try this ancient food for yourself with a recipe for no-bake cookies.
1Keoke, E., & Porterfield, K. (2002). Encyclopedia of American Indian contributions to the world: 15,000 years of inventions and innovations. New York, NY: Facts on File.