Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ancestor Wheat

On April 2nd and 3rd, I brought my portable brick oven to Bet Ha'am in South Portland, Maine. I was there to bake matzah.  Passover starts on April 11th.
The story of the matzah baking will be posted next week as Passover begins.
The event was a collaboration between synagogue members eager to bring an historical but very real experience of Exodus era matzah (the unleavened bread baked by Jews as they left Egypt).

Elisheva Rugosa, a wheat scholar and seed saving advocate, brought both her considerable knowledge of wheat history AND sheaves of wheat. The varieties ranged from the most ancient known (Einkorn) to our modern spring and winter wheats. The history is fascinating.
But regardless of ones fascination with history, the grain that has dominated civilization from its earliest cultivation is beautiful in form. The early varieties grew to 5 feet tall and so as I looked at the actual seed heads, I was transported in time.

Imagine someone in the distant future trying to describe the wild places in North America after they had been transformed into homogeneous lots. Then imagine that the same person opened a window and you found yourself looking at the actual landscape. The grain of our ancestors was both their landscape and their life. I now have seeds of those ancient wheat to plant this fall.

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