[Sca-cooks] teff, was "bojal" wheat

Ian Kusz sprucebranch at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 05:13:06 PST 2010

Speaking of historic grain/wheat, has anyone hear sampled teff-based
products? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teff

if so, where did you get it, and what did it taste like, when compared to
what we know?

On Sat, Jan 2, 2010 at 9:35 PM, Terry Decker <t.d.decker at att.net> wrote:

>   Given the location and the time frame, I might suggest durum, which is a
>>>> very hard wheat.
>>>> Bear
>>>>> Suey wrote:
>>>>>> According to the Wikipedia article "Historia de la gastronomia de
>>>>>> Espana," from the 7th C BC Carthaginians cultivated common wheat,
>>>>>> barley,
>>>>>> germinated spelt and "bojal" wheat. "Boj" means boxwood in English but
>>>>>> this
>>>>>> word "bojal" does not seem to appear anywhere in google except in this
>>>>>> article. The word is not found in the Royal Academy of Spain's
>>>>>> dictionary.
>>>>>> Any ideas as to what the English equivalent could be? My hunch is that
>>>>>> it
>>>>>> could be red wheat but we have hard and soft, winter and spring???
>>>>>> Suey
>>> Durum wheat did not come to Spain until the Berber brought it but the
>>> 10th C
>>> AD. "Bojal" wheat is dated from the 7th C BC. and seems to have been
>>> brought
>>> by the Carthaginians.
>> Is it possible that this is just wrong? We're talking about a
>> Wikipedia article; what's their reference for this?
>> - Jaume
> It would be more correct to say the Wikipedia article is limited, in fact
> most general discussions of wheat have limitations.  For example, I would
> question the use of the term "common wheat."  Modernly, common wheat is
> Triticum aestivum, but in the 7th Century BCE, it would have been emmer,
> Triticum dicoccum.  I, too, would like to know the references.
> The Berbers did make extensive use of durum and it is fair to say that they
> brought the extensive cultivation of durum to some areas of Europe.  It is
> also possible (and probable) that durum was being grown is some places long
> before the Berbers arrived.  There is archeological evidence that durum was
> being grown in North Africa as early as the 1st Century BCE and was very
> likely around before that.  Whether or not we can credit the Carthaginians
> is open to question, but durum would definitely have been encountered by the
> Romans who controlled the North African granary after burying the
> Carthaginians in the Punic Wars, the Vandals, who siezed the North African
> granary and made Carthage their capitol, and the Byzantines, who put the
> Vandals out of business in the 5th Century and retained control of the North
> African grain trade until they were overrun by the Berbers in 697 CE.
> Initial cultivation of durum in Spain could have occurred centuries before
> the Berbers arrived.
> As a small aside, there are a number of sources which credit the Romans
> with introducing wheat into Britian.  However, the Greek explorer Pytheas,
> reported large quantities of wheat being grown in Britian around 330 BCE,
> almost three hundred years before Julius Caesar started the incorporation of
> Britian into the Roman Empire.  Even good sources can be wrong.
> My reasoning for suggesting Triticum turgidum durum as "bojal" wheat is
> that durum is believed to be of African origin, that it was grown in the
> region around Carthage, and that it is a very hard wheat, in fact the grains
> are physically harder than those most other varieties of wheat.  Antonia's
> casual linguistic research appears to support my opinion.  I don't know
> whether I am right or wrong in my opinion, but it is enough for me to
> question what is common knowledge of the foodstuffs of the Islamic
> expansion.
> The problem with red wheat is most of those strains are T. aestivum, which
> would not likely have been available to the Carthaginians.  Einkorn, emmer
> and spelt are the most common wheats of the period (~10,000 BCE - ~700 CE,
> if you agree with generally accepted sources).  Einkorn was largely
> displaced by emmer, which in turn was displaced by T. compactum and T
> aestivum, but that displacement is considerably later than 7th Century BCE.
> Two other possibilities come to mind, T. turgidum conicum and T. polonicum,
> but the limited information I have on those two species doesn't seem to
> match the limited specifics for "bojal" wheat.
> Bear
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Ian of Oertha

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