The peace is made at the table …

“The peace is made at the table – the cultural heritage of the Mediterranean Diet
for dialogue among the peoples of the Mare Nostrum “

Speech by Giorgio Bergamini on Bread Bible at the event promoted by the Centre Meseuro and the Association Pugliaeuropa. Bari – Fiera del Levante – Saturday, September 18, 2010 12 am – Elm Room pad. 10 (for courtesy authorization of the author)

Initially the theme of this meeting was intended as an opportunity to talk about peace, at least around the common heritage of the two cuisines, the Israeli and Palestinian, on the sidelines of the resumption of peace talks between representatives of the two peoples, taking into account of their historical and fundamental contribution to the formation of the Mediterranean Diet.
Various difficulties, including the coincidence with Yom Kippur Jewish, have brought the event to focus on the cultural significance of the Mediterranean diet, in the final to promote to UNESCO as intangible heritage of humanity.
Given the lack of skills and contributions of the Jewish component, I was asked to talk about this ancient Bread area of the Middle East, remaining bread today the main element and symbol of the Mediterranean Diet.
In the absence of experts on the current two delis, I tried to reconstruct some examples of how the Breads were in Israel in antiquity, especially before the second century AD, when there existed a single identity, Jewish, which also fell the first Christians and their gastronomy.
It is only subsequently that the revealed religions become two and later three with Islam, with the consolidation of different identities, different cultures and cuisines, but starting from a common origin, that has not stopped bloody conflict for millennia , which we all hope to finally ascribed to the past.
Although many books available on the bread, I have not found descriptions of this particular period, so, to remain in the theme, I limited the search to the texts of the Old Testament, New Testament Apocrypha and a Gospel.
There is little information emerged on particular types of breads, including, among other things, some do not fall into any of the traditions of current populations of the Mediterranean, while all still appeared very significant in terms of nutritional validity, in reference healthy principles, which are the basis of a correct definition of the Mediterranean Diet.
This does not mean that the Bible quotes there are not a lot of bread and I refer to this excellent work done in the fine book by Predrag Matvejevic just released “Our bread”, published by Garzanti, which confirms the lack of news, in the ancient scriptures, how they actually made the bread of which we speak.
A first interesting exception to this dearth of information is found in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 4.9: “Meanwhile, You Take some wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelled and put them in the same container and instead get some bread.” The recipe makes reference to the diet of the Jews at the time of the siege of Jerusalem, by Nebuchadnezzar, in BC 588-7. It ‘s a detailed list of components, very interesting for their nutritional completeness, vital in a siege, when it ended early in the meat, fruits, vegetables and even firewood, how they did, however, we do not find in Ezekiel but we must go on an Apocryphal Gospel, the “Essene Gospel of Peace“.
It ‘s a document that is reportedly though it was not certain the date, nor the authenticity, the papyri found near the site of Quomran, near the Dead Sea.
Here indeed in 70 A.D. a monastic community of Essenes were exterminated by the Romans, after saving in caves of the mountains surrounding the scrolls of their library, which have been found after 1947 and are still being studied. The document speaks of germinating seeds before making bread, to cook then, after rising, or sun, in the form of thin sheets, or in the sand, the sun always, in the shape of loaves, cooked for hours at high temperatures. It to be noted that in the seeds, budding, there is a transformation of starch into sugars elementary, which are easy to digest also cooked at low temperature, while we do not digest the starches, except with a high temperature firing. The low temperature cooking, however, allows you to save the valuable vitamins of the shoots, while legumes provide important protein, meat substitute. The confirmation that the practice of germinating seeds was well known at the time of Ezekiel comes from recent reports, the source is Roman archaeologist, Carmen Russo, namesake of the actress, who told me about discoveries in ancient tombs, both in Egypt, from colleagues, in Mesopotamia, the funerary equipment of persons of high rank, where the breads contain whole grains, which, in my opinion, could only be sprouted, while archaeologists have suggested ancient ritual reasons. Breads were obviously special, considered as a valuable nutritional completeness, in view of the long journey in the afterlife, as well as being obviously reserved for the rich, as in other tombs of the less rich, whole grain breads did not show.

Turning to the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew: 13.3, which refers to yeast, we find another interesting news. The text reads: “He told them another parable:” The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast that a woman took and kneaded with three measures of flour until everything was fermented. It ‘s amazing that it speaks with sourdough leavening acid and not unleavened bread or yeast, already used by the Sumerians, as they have mentioned the same proportions between yeast and flour in use, until not long ago, even in Puglia by our skilled bakers. This procedure, which describes the normal course, seems to indicate that only after the diaspora, the unleavened bread becomes a more important element of Jewish identity, as we said Predrag Matvejevic, to be adopted, bill white, also from Catholicism to ‘Eucharist.
About White Bread, the degree of refining of flour to bake bread has always been a hallmark of social class, a theme that Camporesi explores in his essay “The Earth and the Moon“, published by Garzanti. White bread and then for the rich and the high clergy, was considered perhaps the most pure, and brown bread for the people, which was attributed physiology and needs are different from those of the rich. It ‘s a concept which is also found in the publication “The Bread” edited with an introduction by INSOR Corrado Barberis, where at pg. 172 we read that in the Florence of the eighteenth century, the people has got the Pan Bruno, said ordinary, while the rich were reserved for the Pan Ducale, of fine flour and circular in shape, quite different from the Pan Bruno, which was square, formed by longer strands side by side and had to be placed well apart from the Pan Ducale, almost as though he feared contamination.  To come closer to us, traditionally in Sicily and Puglia families, except for the nobles, ate dark bread and prepared the white Bread just for the sick: see Verga’s Malavoglia where he talks about someone who was so bad, it was almost dying, to be reduced to “White Bread“. After World War II, however, after 1945, it gradually changes throughout Italy for all the white bread and yeast, while the integral becomes an unpleasant memory of the war, but when the bread was done, as I was told by an expert with the same recipes, developed by Canon Bolognese signs at the turn of 1600, to feed the poor during periodic famines (Camporesi always in “The Earth and the Moon“).
To remember what we talk, I report the beginning of one of these recipes: “The fine sawdust of young trees, as pears, apples, and peel Ceriegi them in the oven and pulverized. Verbs of this powder so much grace, so much so of coarse grass and prepared with a de caldaro sfarinate turnips, well passed by a sieve, with fennel and before fermentation, comprises a kind of bread, which, being well cooked, feeds the poor“. During the second world war many of us have eaten this bread and I can ensure that it was not fat … but not hurt, perhaps because the yeast with sourdough made less toxic than could be, if it was done with brewer’s yeast.
In fact, unfortunately, today we know that the yeast is bad, especially for leavened bread, because it fatigues the kidneys and does not neutralize the dangerous phytic acid, as reported by N. Valerio in “The Natural Power“, Oscar Mondadori, 1992 pg. 720, and in addition the bread made with yeast does not last, the day after is no longer good, hardens, and then rot in a few days here in Italy because they throw huge quantities, while the wheat bread is thrown ever .
Yet in the Rome described by Petronius, in Trimalchio’s dinner, we read in Satyrcon: “First we were served a pig crowned with a sausage with a side of black pudding, cooked to perfection and rigalie chard and authentic wheat bread, which I prefer to the white one, because it is more nutritious and do not cry when I go to the bathroom ” it was the panis cibarius, for the people and thus also called plebeius. It’s interesting notation authentic, that seems to allude to that awful grain bread that often are today, packed with a false flour, obtained by mixing refined flour with bran, the germ and private leavened with yeast, then, with the result not a healthy, noticeable even from a bad taste. In fact it is still difficult to find a good wheat bread, because it should be done only with grains coming from biological cultures, as well as being leavened with sourdough, while practically all the grains on the market are treated to prevent mold and pests, treatments that are eliminated along with the bran in the mill. Today in Italy at the level of popular culture, partly because of the “inauthentic”, mentioned above, we are far from perceiving the nutritional value of wheat bread, also considering the difficulty, compared to white bread, to find a well-made. This is the case today more and more in the North of Europe, as well as in ancient Rome … The unleavened bread mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew is very likely, if it was a woman of the people, it was full, like that, 15th years ago, tried and seen to produce, in Egypt, in a oven in the center of Aswan. In other Middle Eastern countries (Armenia, Syria, Jordan, Israel and Turkey) Bread, after World War II, gradually became all white, because of aid and American cultural influence, but we have evidence that this was not in the past, as tells us the Afanet Palestinian friend Mohammad, who remembers the Bread dark of his childhood.
And from him we also have samples of the recipes of appetizers in the kitchen Palestinian competently made today by the Palestinian Iad Masarwa good student. It was a Red Lentil Soup, the Falafel Chickpea and Tajna, all specialties in line with the Mediterranean diet, which also found by other names even in the Jewish cuisine. Going back to Matthew, there is another news from Predrag Matvejevic who reports in reference to a more correct translation from Aramaic to the type of bread, which was nourished in the desert, St. John the Baptist, it would not be mixed with the addition of “locusts”, but rather, more correctly, with the “bean”, with a nutritional value that are very interesting, in addition to the pleasantness of taste, even if the locusts would not be so bad, from the standpoint of protein. It adds a news story recently on the indirect nature of the grains used in antiquity.I was told of an ancient text which speaks of a handful of soldiers on horseback, in trouble with the enemy, on into a cornfield and disappeared from view: grains were obviously taller than 2 meters, the height who had the wonderful Saragolla, cultivated in southern Italy until 1945, when it soon fell into disuse, replaced by Manitoba, because of low yields, even though he had up to 18% gluten, also contained selenium, and was used to give strength to the flour. It was an excellent example of the grain called the Eastern, also used in ancient Egypt and the Romans, and still today in small areas of the Middle East, but now we import it from Canada, with a price, even Kamut, which is the same thing of Saragolla, as recently noted by Dr. Angela R. Pietrogiovanni of the Institute of Plant Genetics CNR Bari, to whom I brought samples, which have grown and selected, from seed very mixed with other species, supply Bioland. Let’s see what it means Breads mentioned in relation to the Mediterranean Diet. In this connection it is necessary to premise that the researcher Ancel Keys, who invented the K ration, which, after World War II, finds in Crete and in the Cilento the least of all deaths from cardiovascular disease, compared to Northern Europe and the United States, and defines as a sample diet of these sites, then even very close to that of other regions of Southern Italy, in contrast to the diets of the North, rich in meat, animal gasification, cheese and low in carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables. It was proposed as ideal for the U.S. population, already plagued by obesity and diseases arising from this. Incidentally, it is interesting to know that having seen, in the course of his research, a village inside the Cilento characterized by a high number of centenarians, at retirement retreats to this place, where they live happily up to 100 years (2005). Later, in 1992, it was defined as the Mediterranean Diet should be noted however that in areas virtuous, by Keys and then visit had convinced him to put bread and pasta at the base of the ideal diet, had not yet occurred converting from flour wholemeal flour to superraffinate that come with U.S. aid. In the U.S., in fact, the food culture was based on meat and low in carbohydrates, so the difference of superaffinazione the ground, who arrived there at 45%, was actually the main product, intended for animal feed, while the flour was almost a by-product, overproduction, so that you could give away.
The major problem that concerns us today is that the recommendations of Keys for various reasons have not solved the problems related to power then the American people that after 20 years, had obesity rates higher than the initial ones, because even of misunderstanding and abuse of the use of refined carbohydrates, mistakenly considered consistent with the Mediterranean diet, as it was originally defined. Was another doctor, the president of the school of medicine of Nutrition at Harvard University, Walter Willet, nominated by the U.S. administration to study the problem, by providing adequate resources for research multi-disciplinar, and provide recommendations more effective than those of Keys. Willet, concluded that those responsible are not the fat of fattening, demonized by Keys, for which our body feels satiety, but the refined carbohydrates and sugars, that are more addictive, often in the form of a impulsive and compulsive hunger false invincible, just like heroin, aggravated by a rapid uptake mechanism, since our body is genetically prepared to make a proper use, with the sense of satiety and a slow absorption: an evolution, he says, that could happen in the future only hundreds of generations. In his research, he extended the state of health also deduced from the examination of human skeletons since the Paleolithic, he argues that they were much better than what was their coarse grinding of cereals, with minimal “glycemic index”, we would say today.
He extrapolates the need for a return to the unrefined grains as the dawn of humanity, were not available when the current milling machines, getting to hope for the preference of preparations involving the use of whole grains and puts the base of the food pyramid wholemeal bread and pasta, made from coarsely ground flour, and bread and white pasta, sugar sweetened drinks and puts them, open up the sky, on top of its food pyramid, essentially discouraging their use.
Cites, however, as essential to the success of diet, physical activity also. After explaining scientific errors and harmfulness of diets such as “Low Carb”, or the protein Atkins diet, but recommends a diet where as many as 55% of caloric needs is provided by good carbs, that is not refined, 30% of calories, not just words, in the form of olive oil (a good sign for our olives, still damaged by the erroneous advice, not only of the Keys, but also some contemporary pundits, to limit the intake of oil, and because fat is not true), as well as oils of other seeds (obtained but only with mechanical exhaust cold) and only 15% of proteins, which are preferably vegetable, that is, derived from legumes. Of course these concepts are opposed by multinational corporations in America, using mainly the dependence on sugar and refined carbohydrates as the main marketing strategy, and by farmers, the backbone of the meat diet, so you get even a boycott of the spread of the recommendations of Willett with actions Legal.
In practice, the U.S. administration to end public recommendations that will substantially reduce the board to make the motion, blurring the inconvenient precepts of Willett. The main tool to implement these crimes is the Data Quality Act (DQA), created to “ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of information“, which in practice is using industry groups to slow or stop the attempts to enact new laws, attacking the credibility of scientific reports, as we know it also happened in the operations of discrediting the National Assessment on climate change, which led America to not join the Kyoto Protocol, as well to reject the recommendations that came from searches of Willett. Even in Italy widespread phenomena of conflicts of interest have, in fact, not accessible this information with the absurdity of the publication by the largest Italian producer of pasta, a guide to healthy food, also appeared on the Republic, where it says that the bread and pasta are good, are the basis of the Mediterranean diet, without pointing out that “doing good” should never be full, and it is serious that there have been reactions disagreement with these recommendations. The interests at stake and a misguided defense of Italian gastronomic heritage led to the paradox that a text by W. Willett, “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy” a guide to healthy eating of the prestigious “Harvard Medical School”, spread tens of millions of copies, particularly in North European, where he helped to radically change previous eating habits, not Italy has found a publisher who will publish the translation, considering it something of a traitor. Coming then to speak of Puglia, in the past we are right in an ideal application of the precepts of Willet, since the soup of wheat ground perfectly interpret the recommendation to return to the foods of the Paleolithic, and is then known as the flesh you hardly ever saw here on the boards, very well replaced by delicious preparations of vegetables, so many vegetables, the only fat was olive oil, while the work in the fields, manual labor and to walk completed the picture the perfect diet. Today is clearly a need to restudy and correct our rich culinary heritage to renew their exemplary in terms of healthy diet, due to a more correct interpretation of the Mediterranean diet, as today in Puglia, unfortunately, we find the paradox of 50% more obese, compared to the national average and up to 100% more for children, as he told us, even recently, Councillor Stefàno, thus aligning the disaster in the U.S. starting Mediterranean diet, improperly applied by the U.S. population. If successful this difficult task, would realize also a demonstration of “can”, as it could, in contrast with the difficulties of Willet in his homeland, where his recommendations were opposed and are criticized as theoretical and inapplicable. It would also help Obama, who is trying to correct the current poor eating habits and also energy of his countrymen. About energy habits, we can add to the end that in Puglia, before the Second World War, the houses were not heated and the high metabolic rate, which characterized the majority of the population, thanks to the true Mediterranean diet, being allowed to consider as temperatures , at home, of 14-16 ° C. It happens then that, with the transition to refined carbohydrates, sugar orgy, reduced physical activity and weight control in bankruptcy with the reduction in calories, basal metabolic rate decreases and the population becomes increasingly sensitive to cold, as well as fat, for which the temperature of well-being becomes increasingly high, approaching that very little sustainable of Americans, with their 25-28 C. How remedy to this situation, drastically reducing energy consumption for heating of buildings? The cure is still the same and consists of strict application of the proper Mediterranean diet, so that would allow us not only to live longer in good health, but
also save more than two thirds of the costs of winter heating. This assumption, although largely unknown, we tried to apply it in our house, where, with a proper diet and a little motion, we actually managed to reduce, without suffering, our winter temperature being around 15 °C, paying only the price of a friend, that our host, after a short time showed the urgent need to return to home, because he had the sensation of dying of cold. In conclusion, returning to the old Breads, is now evident how interesting, with regard to the requirements of Willett and its true interpretation of the Mediterranean diet, first of all, Ezekiel bread, with whole grains and sprouted grains vegetables, along with the bread of the Essenes, even with whole grains and sprouted, as well as other breads integrals refer to Matthew, all prepared with seeds archaic characterized by excellent gluten, that is highly beneficial protein, the complete opposite of the current trend of “no gluten”, originated from disease due to gluten grains hybridized after the war with γ-rays, to reduce the height and increase the yield.
Indeed, the many forms of allergies, which begin to be identified as a result of mutations obtained with γ-rays, not only of the stems, as believed, but also, inadvertently seed, we should mention here professors Giannattasio and Benedettelli, only to change the program, so this issue is discussed again another time, except try to avoid, if possible, to eat carbohydrates hybridized in this way, which unfortunately are many, almost all production Italian, are not known and are in no way recognizable.
Complaining about the lack of a law that imposes an indication, as the dreaded GM, of which there is also a scientific case studies, from authoritative national sources, proven harm or harmlessness, but only the national prohibitions arising from principles precaution. Two weights and two measures in favor of short γ-ray hybrid, whose harmfulness seems now much more certain, waiting for this news Giannattasio and Benedettelli. Sampling: to give substance to the descriptions of ancient loaves of Israel, we asked to Beppe Concordia, baker curious and attentive, the owner of the Adriatic Bakery, to play in his oven, respecting as much as possible the composition and the type of leavening, except the use of the Sun, not feasible, given the location and the season in order to allow us to taste samples of these archaeologies living. All grains were used by ancient cultures, biological, stone mills, such as Spelt, the Saragolla, the Risciola, Barley, spelled and Senator Cappelli, Bioland supply of Gravina, with which he has prepared: the Bread of Ezekiel, Essene Bread, the Bread leavened whole, referring to the quotation from the Gospel of Matthew, not only, but also to Panem Cibarius of the Romans, the bread of St. John the Baptist with the pods and even the Bread of Petra, flavored with pepper pink and attributed to a tradition Nabataean. Incidentally all the grains used are from Apulian producers, thus fulfilling the precept of the short chain, essential to avoid the processing of grains that come from far, not only but also to make sure that there are those hybrid, now widespread in Italian crops , which have been obtained by modifying the genome after the war, as already mentioned, bombarding blindly with γ-rays, to increase the yield precisely from seeds such as those cited above, all characterized by source low yields, due to the length the stems.