I knew there was something missing from Wonder Bread. Always have. I grew up on whole wheat, black bread, pumpernickel. When I was young we drank beer like Schlitz and Coors, but always respected zesty beer with body, like Molson Ale. Then when the microbrew revolution hit, we knew for sure beer had kind of lost its life-force through being brewed in the same old usual way w/ boring and lackluster varieties of hops and grains, as the microbreweries zipped up the taste and body of beer with fancy old fashioned hops and grains and yeast.
This story in the San Francisco Chronicle details grain as it used to be vs. grain as it is now. It reminds me of the beer Anchor Steam used to brew, based on a recipe found on Sumerian tablets from thousands of years ago.
A story of wild wheat seeds that began 10,000 years ago with Neolithic hunter-gatherers who harvested them on the shores of the Mediterranean sea is continuing today in California, a tale that underscores the new era of modern genomics.For more information about gardening as it used to be, see the Native Seeds Search website. Native Seed Search has, among all kinds of other cool stuff, a seedbank where you can buy actual, not cloned, ancient varieties of chilis, beans, peas, melons, gourds, corn, even tobacco.
The Stone Age people used wild wheat seed to bake their bread long, long ago, and now the seeds from current generations of wild wheat growing in Israel have yielded the gene that scientists at UC Davis are crossbreeding into modern wheat plants to increase their nutrients for an undernourished world.
Through many centuries of domestication by farmers and plant breeders, the wheat found in today's breads lost some of the vital protein and minerals, such as iron and zinc, that the genes in the ancient wild seeds carried. After cloning the major gene for those nutrients from current wild wheat, the UC Davis scientists have bred them back into new wheat strains without the need for more controversial genetic engineering.
Skeptical? Try what is known as an heirloom tomato. Compare it to a regular tomato you buy at Safeway or Alberston's.
The same thing keeps happening again and again. "Am I losing my taste or does this bacon have no flavor?" my 80-something mom said when we were cooking Thanksgiving dinner. "The bacon has no flavor Mom," I said, crunching into a strip of the tasteless pseudo-meat. Try the organic stuff, i.e. bacon from farm where they don't dose their animals on poison, let them have some sun and fresh air. Similarly, in the book Fast Food Nation, you see the story of how McDonalds and the like have to douse their food w/ chemical flavor agents, so that their product smells and tastes like food rather than the lifeless industrial end-product filler that it is.