As a global food item, bread has earned a place on everyone’s dining tables. Nearly every country has a version of bread that highlights its culture, resources, and preferences. Several recipes made their way across the globe, allowing different communities to enjoy a particular country’s flavor preferences through bread.
Throughout the years, people also discovered new ingredients to make bread with. Aside from the usual flour, milk, and eggs, people began adding essential flavors or using corn, yeast, and grains in baking.
Filipinos have their pick from several bread varieties in the country. Pandesal, monay, and ensaymada are some options that take the cake, with some of them resulting from foreign influence. Yet there’s more to bread than just being food.
Here are some fun facts about bread:
One civilization used bread as currency
During ancient times, Egyptians had another use for bread and valued it significantly. Unlike modern times, early civilizations used bread as currency. In a society that didn’t use coins or paper currency, food rations became a form of payment for household staff.
Historical records show that Egyptian soldiers stationed at Nubian forts held inscribed, loaf-shaped wooden tokens that specified the bread rations they would receive within 10 days.
Ancient Egyptians often consumed bread with beer, making it their staple diet. Although an uncommon pairing, it’s relevant to note that earlier versions of the beverage are less alcoholic, thus enhancing the bread’s flavors.
They also used moldy bread as medicine
Modern medicinal professionals and private individuals might raise their eyebrows in skepticism with this trivia, but the ancient Egyptians utilized moldy bread for medicine, specifically for infected burn wounds.
Even though the early civilization wasn’t aware of microorganisms, they may have possibly implemented the antibiotic properties of mold millennia before Alexander Flemming, the founder of penicillin, did.
It symbolizes peace
People across the globe have heard the phrase “breaking the bread” at least once in their lives. While some may view it as the mere act of sharing food with others, it symbolizes peace for many cultures.
Since bread is a global food item that’s a staple in nearly every cuisine, the act of “breaking bread” inspires a sense of community because it serves as a common ground among members of varying societies.
Archeologists found the oldest bread in Jordan
Last 2018, experts discovered charred remains of a flatbread baked about 14,500 years ago in northeastern Jordan. It reinforces the idea that early humans learned how to bake bread years before they developed agriculture.
The flatbread consisted of wild cereals and ground tubers from an aquatic papyrus relative to the flour. It was found at an archeological site in the Black Desert that occupied the Natufians, an early group of people who embraced a permanent lifestyle instead of a nomadic one.
Bread is more than just a vital food item in every cuisine. Throughout the years, it underwent various roles, like currency and medicine, but experts repeatedly prove that bread is a relevant factor in keeping the world fed.