Tag Archives: Bon Appetit Wednesday

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Einkorn Banana Bread and the Tale of a 5,300 Year Old Mummy

For those of you who haven’t heard of einkorn wheat, you’re at least 9,500 years behind the curve. Einkorn is the world’s oldest cereal and “nature’s original wheat.”1  

The Fertile Crescent in the Middle East is aptly known as the Cradle of Civilization, an area recognized for such innovations as glass manufacturing, writing and the wheel. It’s also where agriculture first began, and the first written recording in 7,500 BCE of einkorn being planted as a domesticated crop.

Einkorn flourished as a staple crop for centuries. It was hardy and could grow in poor soil, similar to other ancient grains such as smelt and emmer.  Research shows that einkorn cultivation spread across the Middle East, Europe and into Russia. In fact, agriculture where grain production was central was one of the propelling forces that caused cities to form and great civilizations to grow as people became less nomadic. Over time einkorn evolved into a popular and versatile food that knew no social class. Even the pharaohs ate einkorn. However, during the Bronze Age einkorn production declined in favor of grains that were more prolific and easier to harvest.  But a surprising twentieth century discovery revived interest in the wheat and put the grain at the center of a 5,300 year old cold case (to employ modern crime nomenclature and, as you will see, a shameless pun).

Naturalistic reconstruction of Ötzi – South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology

In September 1991 two German tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, discovered a mummified body protruding from a melting glacier as they were hiking in the Italian Alps. Found in the Otzal Alps and dubbed Otzi the Iceman, he became the “best preserved prehistoric man discovered with his own equipment and clothing.”2. The find was remarkable for a number of reasons. He was determined to be Europe’s oldest mummy dating back to 3,300 BCE. He was in his everyday clothing carrying hunting and other tools, as opposed to being buried in a tomb with ceremonial dress and accompanying funereal objects as is so often the case with human remains. He sported visible tattoos on his body. He represents a moment in time of an ordinary life lived five millennia ago. Moreover, he is the “oldest intact human ever found. With the exception of missing toenails, all but one fingernail and an outer layer of skin, the Iceman is otherwise perfectly reserved.”3

Otzi had more secrets to give up. Scientists were able to determine his last meal. It was a serving of meat, an herb…and yes, bread made from finely ground einkorn.4

As to what caused Otzal’s death, it appears he was shot in the left shoulder with an arrow according to Swiss scientists who conducted multi-slice CT scans of the body. An artery must have been damaged and he bled to death, his body frozen until discovered centuries later. Definitely a cold case, with no culprit to be found.

It is interesting to note how in death Otzi has achieved his own kind of immortality. Otzi fever descended across the world in 1991 as word spread of this remarkable find.

After Otzi was discovered the world became caught up in Iceman mania. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine and other major publications. T-shirts and jewelry were sold with his sunken eyes beaming out. Pop songs were written about him. A German astrologer announced she was writing a book about her seánces with the Iceman. Other women clamored to be the first to be impregnated with sperm from Ötzi’s testicles. Mitochondrial DNA was extracted from Otzi’s bones. A company called Oxford Ancestors, for a fee, will compare your DNA with Otzi’s to see if you are related.5

Apparently, Otzi has that special something that neither time nor temperature can tamp down.

But let’s return to our discussion of einkorn. It also has a lineage that is remarkable. Due to the fact that einkorn wheat fell into disuse for centuries, the wheat itself has not been altered from its original state of 12,000 years ago. No hybrid, mutated or contaminated versions exist. Just einkorn as nature’s oldest and purest wheat. Today it claims credit for being a superfood. And there’s another bonus. Because it hasn’t been genetically altered, and due to its gluten structure that lacks certain high molecular weight glutenins that are present in other types of wheat, it is considered by some as the “good gluten.”6

So enjoy the taste of an ancient grain in the recipe that follows. As with all our Bon Appetit recipes, there is history in every bite.

1http://www.ancientgrains.com/einkorn-history-and-origin/

2 http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat56/sub362/item1496.html

3Ibid

4 https://www.einkorn.com/otzi-the-icemans-last-meal-included-einkorn-wheat-bread/

5 http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat56/sub362/item1496.html

6 https://jovialfoods.com/einkorn/a-good-gluten/

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

https://www.einkorn.com/einkorn-history/

RELATED

https://antiquitynow.org/2015/08/12/bon-appetit-wednesday-enjoy-another-ancient-grain-with-einkorn-flour-pancakes/

https://antiquitynow.org/2015/03/11/bon-appetit-wednesday-ezekiel-bread/

 

Einkorn Flour Banana Bread

Recipe courtesy of Greg Fleischaker, Greg Fly

Cook Time 2 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose Einkorn
  • 1 cup whole wheat sprouted Einkorn
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and move shelf to lower middle portion of the oven.
  2. Warm the butter, almost melted, and cream with the sugar in a stand mixer while measuring out the remaining ingredients.
  3. Add the peeled ripe bananas, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the Einkorn wheat flour, baking soda and salt and mix thoroughly, batter should be thick but quite pourable.
  5. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  6. Place the pan into the oven and bake for about 50-60 minutes until well. browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Um Ali

om_aliWe love Egyptian recipes! There are so many delicious ancient Egyptian foods, ingredients and dishes to explore and today we’re bringing you one more. Um Ali, also called Om Ali, is a sweet and creamy bread pudding dessert that has become a traditional modern Egyptian dessert. It brings so much joy to the palate, but it has a surprisingly dark history. It was actually created in the 13th century to celebrate the murder of Shajar al-Durr, a sultana. Click here to read the entire sordid affair.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be celebrating something so dark and dismal in order to enjoy this traditional sweet. It can be served cold or warm depending on the season and it’s made with ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen right now. For a fancier and more complex version, visit click here. Enjoy some Um Ali this holiday season!

p.s. Click here for a list of our other Egyptian recipe posts.

Um Ali

Ingredients

  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar, divided
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Place the pastry sheets in the baking dish and place the dish in the oven. Watch it closely. When the top layer turns crunchy and golden, remove it from the oven. Continue until all the sheets are cooked.
  3. Preheat the oven’s broiler.
  4. In a bowl, combine walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, raisins, coconut and 1/4 cup sugar. Break cooked pastry into pieces and stir into nut mixture. Spread mixture evenly in 9×13-inch dish.
  5. Bring milk and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour over nut mixture.
  6. Beat the heavy cream with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread evenly over nut mixture in dish.
  7. Place dessert under oven broiler until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Beer Lover’s Day

beersIt’s National Beer Lover’s Day! Did you know we’ve been enjoying this beverage since ancient times? The ancient Egyptians enjoyed a good beer, the ancient Sumerians knew how to chill out with a cold one, even the Chinese enjoyed a version of this libation. So, on this most festive of days, we’re bringing you a story about a 5,000 year old Chinese beer as well as some of our best beer-related blog posts and recipes. Cheers!

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Ancient Hurricane Party

tropical storm trackIt may seem crazy to most people, but when true Floridians see a tropical storm or hurricane coming, they break out the chips and dip and throw a Hurricane Party! Of course, you don’t have to live in Florida to throw a good old fashioned Hurricane Party and we’re going to help you put an ancient spin on it. First, read our post about ancient storms and then check out the Recipes With a Past below to create your first Hurricane Party With a Past!

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Brazilian Vatapá

Vatapá

Vatapá

The Olympics is in full swing and in the midst of cheering on your favorite athletes and countries, you’re probably also learning a bit about Brazilian culture. Did you know this isn’t Brazil’s first time hosting a major international sporting event? Just two years ago, Brazil was the stage for the biggest futbol/soccer competition, the World Cup. In honor of that event, we brought you a traditional Brazilian dish to celebrate the culture while you’re celebrating the sport. Check out the post below to learn about the dish and the history of Brazil.

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Celebrate the World Cup With Tasty Vatapá

Or skip straight to the recipe and start cooking! Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Hot Dog Month

Hot_dog_with_mustardIt’s National Hot Dog Month and we can’t wait to celebrate! Hot dogs seem like such a modern invention, but of course, AntiquityNOW is here to bring you the history. And while we’re at it, we’re going to educate you on the sport that elevates the hot dog to a whole new level: the eating contest.

We don’t want to leave you with a whole new appreciation for the hot dog and no new way to enjoy it, so you’ll find a fabulous hot dog recipe at the end of the post.

Check out Bon Appetit Wednesday! A Roman Pig, Hot Dogs, Eating Contests and Four Patriots: Happy July 4th and start celebrating!

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Irish Butter

buttered toastWhat would you do if you were just going about your business, doing your job and suddenly you discovered a piece of history? Recently, a man in Ireland was faced with that very situation. As he was cutting turf from a bog, to be burned for warmth, he happened upon a 22-pound chunk of bog butter that is estimated to be over 2,000 years old! Of course, if he had read our blog post about ancient butter, he would have known that finding ancient “bog butter” really isn’t that unusual. This 22-pounder joins other finds, including 3,000-year-old and even 5,000-year-old samples.[1] Click here to read the entire article. Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! A Healthy and Ancient Ramadan

Ramadan mealRamadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a month of prayer and fasting, began last week and ends on July 5th. If you are observing Ramadan, you know that planning the Iftar and Suhur meals is key. While Ramadan has ancient roots, today many households are mixing their modern habits into the month. Health is a top priority for many families. Perhaps this year you’re trying to be a bit healthier in your observance and plan meals that are delicious and nutritious. It is important for these meals to provide all of the nutrition you need for the long days of fasting. For a list of healthy ideas, check out Nestle Family’s Healthy Ramadan Recipes.

And for a history of Ramadan as well as some ancient ingredients and recipes, look no further than our AntiquityNOW Ramadan posts below. Don’t miss the bonus post about the ways in which professional athletes observe Ramadan.

 

Bon Appetit Wednesday! Strange Recipes With a Past

Fish and vegetables hanging up in a cupboard, still-life. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. From a villa at Tor Marancia, near the Catacombs of Domitilla.

Fish and vegetables hanging up in a cupboard, still-life. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. From a villa at Tor Marancia, near the Catacombs of Domitilla.

Humans are culinary explorers, gastronomical adventurers, seekers of the perfect palate-pleasing feast. However, throughout our long and storied history, we have occasionally strayed down paths that some may say we never should have reconnoitered. A recent Mental Floss article delves into our more interesting foodie moments, some of which will not necessarily make you want to run straight to the kitchen. But before you check out the less-than-appetizing side of our dietary past, try a few of AntiquityNOWs wackier Recipes With a Past listed below. They are sure to please your sense of taste AND your thirst for adventure! Continue reading

Bon Appetit Wednesday! National Salad Month

salad-164685_640It’s National Salad Month! Time to break out those salad spinners, dicers, choppers, mincers and shredders and fix up a delicious ancient salad. With all of the focus on health and nutrition these days, you might assume that salads are a fairly modern creation, but you would be so wrong. Those wild and crazy ancient Romans were noshing on this chilled dish long ago. And so many of today’s delicious and nutritious salads are built on ancient ingredients. So, check out our compilation of ancient salads below, beginning with the granddaddy of them all, Columella, created in the first century CE!